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SEC will allow satellite camps in 2016 barring ban by other conferences

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Saban: We need a global approach

Paul Finebaum and Alabama head coach Nick Saban discuss the football issues in the SEC meetings.

DESTIN, Fla. -- The SEC has decided that if it can't beat satellite camps, it's going to join the fray.

After a year of fighting against the now infamous practice of FBS football coaches traveling the nation to participate as "guest coaches" at smaller campuses, exiting SEC commissioner Mike Slive announced on Wednesday that the league has decided it will drop its restriction on its coaches participating in such camps effective in 2016 if its proposal to ban such camps nationally fails.

"We are going to make every effort to have our rule adopted nationally," Slive said during Day 2 of the SEC spring meetings.

"If the rule isn't adopted nationally come next summer, our folks will be free to fan out all over the country and have at it."

Incoming SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said that the league's goal is to have the satellite camps, which SEC coaches and administrators have continuously referred to as "recruiting camps," banned by the summer of 2016.

At the commissioner's recommendation, the 14 league athletic directors voted to drop their rule on satellite camps if the SEC's proposal is rejected.

All of the SEC's proposals and legislation will be announced at the conclusion of spring meetings on Friday.

"We thought maybe there was an interpretation the NCAA could make to take care of this matter since these camps are being used for purposes other than which they were designed," Sankey said. "We'll get the rule changed or our coaches will start to travel."

NCAA rules allow football programs to hold camps on campus, inside their state or within a 50-mile radius of their school, but coaches are allowed to "guest-coach" at another school's camp -- a Football Bowl Subdivision school, a Division III school or a high school -- anywhere in the country.

The SEC and ACC currently forbid their coaches from taking part in satellite camps. SEC coaches and administrators repeatedly questioned the nature of these camps, stating that they are extra recruiting visits taken by coaches during the recruiting dead period.

Head coaches are not allowed to travel or engage in recruiting contact during dead periods, but these camps offer them the opportunity to interact with prospective recruits while serving as coaches on other campuses.

"Most of us are opposed to it because is it really a football camp or is it an opportunity to go off campus and do some recruiting?" Kentucky coach Mark Stoops said.

"Obviously, we're in full support that if this doesn't change on a national level, then you'll see every one of us out there in full force next year all over the country. And if that's what we want to do nationally, then we'll be glad to partake in that.

"But we didn't feel like it was right, nobody was listening to our issues, so we'll just jump into the mix."

Sankey said that if the SEC does join the satellite camp circuit there will be no restrictions placed on where coaches can go, meaning they can also camp in the backyards of conference opponents.