CHAMPAIGN - Last month, Illinois booked the dates and venues of four satellite camps. Then on April 8, the NCAA banned coaches from hosting those off-campus camps.
But on Thursday, Illinois worked to resuscitate those off-campus camps after the NCAA board of directors overturned its prohibition on satellite camps.
Illinois will host satellite camps during the month of June in Chicago, St. Louis, Dallas and Tampa, sources close to the program told IlliniInquirer.com.
Previous Illini coach Tim Beckman also held satellite camps in the Chicagoland and St. Louis metro areas. Smith also plans to prioritize Texas and Florida. He's a native of Big Sandy, Texas, and owns a home in Tampa, Fla., where he spent five years as an assistant and two years as a head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Though the Illini staff is on the road recruiting, Smith is not due to NCAA rules that prohibit the head coach from recruiting off campus during the spring evaluation period, which started on April 15 and ends on May 31. The satellite camps allow Smith and his staff to get off campus, sell their program and evaluate more prospects.
In early April, the NCAA Rules committee voted to place a ban on coaches traveling to off campus camps. The move was heavily criticized by recruits and certain college coaches.
The NCAA Board of directors has voted to allow college football coaches to attend satellite camps in the spring and summer of 2016 while the rule is being looked at.
Scout's National Director of Recruiting Brandon Huffman agreed with today's ruling.
“It’s a wise move by the NCAA," he said. "You can say it’s a good decision, but essentially, it’s just correcting a bad decision that was made early on, one that was short-sighted.
“Several recruits I’ve talked to, both in the 2017 and 2018 classes, plus players that signed in February, were relieved to see the ban lifted. This had really thrown a wrench into the plans of the recruits who had hoped to use the satellite camps to maximize their exposure with limited resources. Now, they still have the chance to perform in front of coaches. This really helps those that don’t have unlimited resources to travel plus those prospects who live in hard-to-find places, giving them a chance to workout in one central location for a particular staff or a number of staffs, depending on the venue. But it’s a win and the student-athlete benefits greatly, which is what should have been the focus from the get-go."