Terps' Durkin sees both sides of satellite camp debate

DJ Durkin was Michigan's defensive coordinator last summer when Wolverines coach Jim Harbaugh took the program on a swing through the fertile recruiting grounds of the South and West on a satellite camp tour.

Harbaugh was able to put the Michigan program in front of recruits who might not have been able to take a visit to Ann Arbor, Mich., and he and his staff also had the opportunity to find prospects who might have flown under the radar.


It also put Michigan in the crosshairs of the Southeastern Conference and the Atlantic Coast Conference, which don't allow its programs to run satellite camps. It didn't help that Harbaugh was encroaching on those conferences' recruiting grounds.

Last week, the NCAA's Division I Council voted to ban satellite camps immediately, which puts all of the nation's programs on the same playing field.

When Durkin was asked about the ruling after Maryland's practice on Tuesday morning, he came down in the middle of the road.

"It was one of those things you could see they were probably going to rule that way," Durkin said. "I think the satellite camps were a good thing. It was beneficial. You got to see a lot of guys. You get to take your camps somewhere else and put the expense on the school. I also understand the standpoint of the NCAA. It becomes more things they've got to regulate and everything else, so you could see these things going both ways. I think it was beneficial where I was at when we did it. We'd have been a part of it here if they still let it, but I understand why they're not."

Durkin's participation in Michigan's camp tour last summer eventually left a mark on Maryland. Michigan offered a scholarship to early enrollee cornerback Antwaine Richardson after the staff saw him at a camp in Florida. He committed to the Wolverines last summer before decommitting in January and winding up with the Terps.

Without the satellite camps, Durkin probably never finds Richardson, and Richardson never commits to Maryland.

But occurrences like that will no longer happen.

The full ruling from the Division I Council reads: "The Council approved a proposal applicable to the Football Bowl Subdivision that would require those schools to conduct camps and clinics at their school's facilities or at facilities regularly used for practice or competition. Additionally, FBS coaches and noncoaching staff members with responsibilities specific to football may be employed only at their school's camps or clinics. This rule change is effective immediately."

In the past, coaches from mid-major conferences participated in camps at bigger schools, which allowed them to connect with players and find prospects who could become contributors in the Mid-America Conference or Conference USA. Under the new rule, that isn't allowed anymore.

Last summer, Harbaugh invited then-Ball State coach Pete Lembo to speak at a Michigan camp. Durkin and Lembo connected, and when Durkin became Maryland's coach, he hired Lembo away from Ball State to become assistant head coach, special teams coordinator and tight ends coach. Without satellite camps, Durkin probably isn't able to make the connection that allowed him to get another experienced voice on his coaching staff.

Durkin complimented Harbaugh taking Michigan to Bradenton, Fla., for spring break practice last month. Satellite camps just won't be a part of that effort.



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