Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez calls them a shuttle service for recruits. And this CBSsports.com story on college football summer camps examines whether there is a recruiting loophole with programs paying high school coaches — who might bring their top players with them — to work those camps on college campuses.
Virtually all major programs host a summer camp, and historically those are a nice way for a program’s assistant coaches to earn a little extra money while also instructing and scouting area talent. But some coaches, as the story notes, see the summer camps turning into a “new arms race among high-resource schools.”
There are no NCAA limits on what a football program can pay an on-field guest coach at a summer camp. (Per NCAA rules, basketball coaches aren’t allowed to work a camp if they have a connection to a prospect.)
“Essentially what (schools) are doing is paying to bring prospects to their camps,” Rodriguez told CBSsports.com.
Washington, under then-coach Steve Sarkisian, paid a total of $32,588.60 to its 29-person coaching staff for its Rising Stars camp in 2013, an average of $1,123.74 per coach, according to the report.
Florida State paid 141 camp coaches nearly $71,000; Ohio State paid 147 coaches more than $50,000 combined; Oregon paid $3,000 for 20 coaches, an average of $150 per coach.
The NCAA enforcement staff is aware of potential issues.
“There will be times where it makes you raise your eyebrows, the traveling of long distances,” NCAA managing director of enforcement Mark Hicks told CBSsports.com. “Are we concerned? Absolutely. Does it mean every time a high school coach works a football camp that something must be wrong? No.”
According to the report, some Pac-12 coaches “privately bemoaned Washington’s aggressive approach to summer recruiting in 2013, but a Washington spokesman said the school is unaware of any formal Pac-12 complaints filed to the school.”
One of UW’s guest coaches last year was “Ground Zero” 7-on-7 coach Armond Hawkins of California. One of his players was receiver Erik Brown, a four-star recruit who also attend the UW camp and made a verbal commitment to the Huskies about a week later. Brown eventually signed with Cal.
Admission fees for UW’s summer camps this year range from $30 for the Rising Stars event for high school players to $500 for a team passing camp.
At USC, camp fees range from $50 to $375, according to coachsarkcamp.com.