Well, here we are!
Satellite Camp Day in New Jersey. Harbaugh vs. uhhh, everyone.
Today, at Paramus Catholic High School, Jim Harbaugh hosts the Next Level Camp while Chris Ash is running the Rutgers Football Tri-State Showcase at FDU-Florham Park.
There is no question that Ash's camp is a direct shot over the bow (yeah, bad aim) at Harbaugh and Michigan. Harbaugh at last count had 39 satellite camps on his docket covering 22 states, a U.S. territory, and a foreign nation. Really.
Does it work? Is it worth it? For Harbaugh, the answer is yes. And for him, according to CBSSports.com's Jon Solomon, it is just Harbaugh fighting for what he believes in and what he wants. "It's really discouraging," he quotes Harbaugh, "but I think there's a real prejudice against football in this country -- at the pro level, the college level, the high school level, the Pee Wee level....Am I fighting back? Yeah, personally and collectively, because football is one of the greatest games ever invented."
Continues Solomon on the coach: "This is Harbaugh in a nutshell: It's us against them, even if some of them are other football coaches. It bothers him to keep learning different rules each day about the camps. Harbaugh says one or two NCAA officials and a Michigan compliance officer attend every camp."
Well, the battle is on.
The Schiano Rule
When Greg Schiano was hired at Rutgers, the football program was dying. He needed to change the paradigm (I love saying that). Schiano took his Rutgers staff to south Florida, where he had worked for Miami, as a way to revive a failing program in the early 2000s. If he wasn't the first, Schiano was among the leaders in creating satellite camps, and more than a few articles cite his camps in Florida as among the vanguard. At one point, the NCAA had banned coaches from hosting camps more than 50 miles from campus - the Schiano Rule? - but that went by the boards and enter Jim Harbaugh, frequent flyer.
Coming full circle
And that brings us to tonight's showdown. And the return of Greg Schiano to New Jersey at...ta da...a satellite camp hosted by his former employer.
From likely being the creator/innovator of the concept, Schiano will now be on the staff presenting to these high school athletes and coaches.
Among innumerable storylines today, Schiano's return is one that Rutgers fans may feel more viscerally than others. As Ryan Dunleavy wrote:
The return of Greg Schiano.
For some, seeing Schiano in Ohio State gear - on a field in New Jersey shared by other coaches wearing the block ‘R' that he popularized, no less - is going to feel extraterrestrial.
Imagine what will it feel like for Schiano, who spent 11 seasons micromanaging Rutgers only to see the program take a step backwards under his former assistant Kyle Flood.
With the exception of games against the Giants and Jets at MetLife Stadium during his two-year stint as coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Schiano hasn't made many public appearances in his home state since he abruptly left Rutgers in January 2012.
It took two years after his firing by the Bucs for Schiano to get back into coaching ... and only then because Ash left for Rutgers and created a vacancy as Ohio State defensive coordinator.
The last time that Schiano recruited New Jersey some of these campers were in elementary school - part of the first generation that grew up knowing Rutgers football as a bowl contender.
How well Schiano recruits New Jersey through his longstanding connections with high school coaches is worth watching. A couple steals from Rutgers' grasp could be the end of the niceties.
That's some interesting stuff to chew on. And that's just for Greg. We have even more to mull and gnaw on.
Of course, not everyone finds these camps attractive, or even seemly. And Paramus Catholic got its share of heat for both hosting (providing the site for) the camp as well as having Jim Harbaugh be the speaker at its graduation, a situation its president viewed no differently than hosting a college fair. Really, he said that.
So, just for good measure, here's someone else's thoughts:
Jerry Goebel · Port Murray, New Jersey As a PC alumni (1971) it would be nice to see as much emphasis on academics at Paramus Catholic as is being shown to athletics. It would be nice to see The Record devote time and space to that aspect of PC...a quality education!
On the Banks has been issued press credentials for the Rutgers event and we'll be on site to report just what goes on there. And we'll say hi to Greg for you.
And in case you were wondering (we know you weren't)....
Did you know that Maryland was a major player at a satellite camp in New Jersey yesterday?
Yeah, I didn't either. Talk about flying under the radar.
But before you think D.J. Durkin invaded Mercer County, this was a Harbaugh camp, too. Funny, I didn't think they could have their photos taken with "prospects".