DESTIN, Fla. (AP) — Alabama coach Nick Saban said Tuesday he wasn't going to talk about satellite camps — and then he ranted about them.
And he clearly got Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh's attention.
"I don't know how much it benefits anybody because all the people that say this is creating opportunities for kids, this is all about recruiting," Saban said at the Southeastern Conference's annual meeting. "That's what it's about. ... What's amazing to me is somebody didn't stand up and say here's going to be the unintended consequences of what you all are doing."
Saban's words didn't take long to reach Ann Arbor.
Harbaugh responded on Twitter, saying, "'Amazing' to me — Alabama broke NCAA rules & now their HC is lecturing us on the possibility of rules being broken at camps. Truly 'amazing.'"
The SEC was at the forefront of wanting satellite camps banned. Harbaugh has been front and center on using the camps to boost recruiting outside Michigan, even hosting a high-profile one in Florida earlier this year.
The Division I Council approved a proposal last month requiring Football Bowl Subdivision schools "to conduct camps and clinics at their school's facilities or at facilities regularly used for practice or competition." The measure, which was endorsed by the SEC, also said "FBS coaches and non-coaching staff members with responsibilities specific to football may be employed only at their school's camps or clinics."
But the NCAA Division I Board of Directors rescinded that ban in early May. With the ban lifted, SEC coaches reluctantly started taking part in satellite camps.
"Now we do have prospects in those camps and we do see how they do, but that's not what the camp is for," Saban said. "Not from our standpoint. So why would we be promoting somebody else's camp anywhere? Because it's the same thing I said before: This is the only sport where the high school still mattered. What they did at the high school mattered. All you're doing is allowing all these other people that we spend all of our time at the NCAA saying, 'You can't recruit through a third party.' You can't be involved with third-party people and that's exactly what you're doing, creating all these third parties that are going to get involved with the prospects and all that.
"And who gets exposed on that? I go to a camp and I'm talking to some guy I don't know from Adam's house cat and he's representing some kid because he put the camp on, and then I'm in trouble for talking to this guy? And who even knows if the guy paid to go to the camp. Is the NCAA going to do that? I mean, we do that at our camp. We have people responsible. They're called compliance folks. What kind of compliance people do we have at these camps?"
Saban also said the camps are "bad for college football."
The Crimson Tide coach added "there needs to be somebody that looks out for what's best for the game, not what's best for the Big Ten or what's best for the SEC or what's best for Jim Harbaugh, but what's best for the game of college football — the integrity of the game, the coaches, the players and the people that play it. That's bigger than all of this."
Saban said each of the Power Five conferences continue to campaign for what they want, often creating the kind of chaos that surrounded satellite camps earlier this year.
Saban said someone should be overseeing all of it. Asked who he would want in the role, Saban didn't have anyone specific in mind.
"I don't have a candidate. I'm not in politics," he said. "I'm just telling you what I think, what needs to be done."
AP college football website: www.collegefootball.ap.org