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Ducks favor controversial satellite camps

EUGENE — Unofficially, it’s the Jim Harbaugh rule.

The NCAA decided last Friday to put an end to football satellite camps. The Division I Council ruled that FBS programs must conduct all clinics at school facilities or facilities regularly used for practice or competition.

Oregon coach Mark Helfrich said his program “was on the other side of that vote,” even though the Pac-12 voted against satellite camps.

“It’s just a different situation, obviously. We’re in a place where we’d like to be able to go out and visit guys or have an opportunity for us to pay for it,” Helfrich said after Monday’s practice. “We’ll play by the rules as they come. But that was surprising that we came off (practice) on Friday, to have it happen that quickly.”

Alabama’s Nick Saban was one of the SEC coaches who spoke out against satellite camps after Harbaugh and Michigan received a lot of national attention when the Wolverines conducted a week of spring practice in Florida this year.

Harbaugh said in a story published Tuesday by Sports Illustrated, "the incompetence of the NCAA has reared its ugly head yet again." 

The envelope-pushing coach, whose sweeping tour of the South last year created a stir, already had stops lined up in Florida and Alabama this year.

Harbaugh said, "this is going to affect thousands and thousands of people," and added, "I suggest we drop the term 'student-athlete' for consistency."

The Division I Council also deregulated electronic communication with student-athletes in several sports, including football, which means coaches will be allowed to send unlimited text messages to recruits and contact them via social media.

“I just feel bad. For us, that’ll be easier. For the coaches and staffs, I think it makes it that much easier,” Helfrich said. “If I’m Johnny Bluechip, I’m not liking that very much. I’m getting a new phone. All those guys will have the automated machine texting Johnny Bluechip a thousand times a day, literally. ...

“Say you’re Royce Freeman coming out of high school and getting inundated with 100-and-however-many staffs — the head coach, the recruiting coordinator, the position coach texting you on a daily basis, that can get very annoying very quickly. ... We’ll see what the unintended consequences are with this.”