NCAA Satellite Ruling

April 21, 2016

NCAA Prohibiting Satellite Camps in 2016

On April 28th the NCAA Board of Governors will vote to ratify a ban on "satellite" camps for the summer of 2016.  Upon ratification, FBS Division 1 schools will no longer have the ability to travel off campus to evaluate and connect with student-athletes outside of their city and state at remote "satellite" locations.

The question is not whether the NCAA or schools who voted on this rule have the right to make a change; but, how the NCAA and its governing body could find it reasonable to put this rule in effect for summer of 2016 when colleges, coaches, parents and student-athletes have already put in a years' worth of work to plan and promote these camps.

The announcement on April 8th 2016, was 57 days prior to Old Dominion's first scheduled "College Exposure" satellite camp with the University of Michigan.

On June 18, 2015 - Old Dominion University ran the largest satellite one day camp ever conducted.  Over 1,000 participants and 44 separate coaching staff's combined with headliners Old Dominion and Penn State for this "College Exposure Camp".

Old Dominion's staff had one rule for each of the 43 visiting D1 & D2 schools: that each paying participant would get an honest evaluation by each school.  There was no "elite" grouping or separation of campers in ANY way other than by position. 

The outpouring of success reverberated the rest of the summer for Old Dominion and the student-athletes who attended the camp.  Many players previously unaware of specific schools connected and gained recruitment/scholarship due to their performance and evaluation on June 18th.  (Example: Tripp Harrington from East Wake High School / subsequently signed with Norfolk State University - who was 1/44 schools at the ODU/Penn State "College Exposure Camp")

Since that time and because of the success of June 18, 2015, Old Dominion quickly established a satellite camp schedule for the summer of 2016.  Along with Penn State; BIG10 schools Michigan and Maryland contracted to attend Old Dominion for "College Exposure" camp dates on June 5 & June 11 respectively.  Again, Old Dominion had two stipulations for both Michigan and Maryland:

  1. That every student-athlete would be fairly evaluated with no "grouping" of "talent players".
  2. That ANY D1 (FCS) or D2 school who wanted to attend, was welcome to join and evaluate.

Agreements with Penn State, Maryland, and Michigan for June 2016 were set in September of 2015.  Since that time - below is a bullet point display of physical work, financial obligations, and time Old Dominion spent in preparation for these highly anticipated events.  The bullet points show the TIME LOSS, FINANCIAL LOSS, and LOSS OF CHARACTER Old Dominion Football and Old Dominion assistants suffered because of the NCAA's "reckless & damaging" ruling; to quote Bill Moss - Athletic Director at Washington State University.

  1. Over 100 Hours of graphic design work to create specific camp posters for each date (Time by assistant coach Ron Whitcomb)
  2. Contacts with Old Dominion University and the City of Norfolk for facility usage (Financial).
  3. Sponsorship contacts with local businesses who seeked association with such anticipated events (Financial)
  4. $3,500 worth of marketing with dates, names and prices that are now irrelevant to ODU's camp schedule (Financial)
  5. $1,500 worth of website design to create, delete and re-create camp dates and descriptions (Financial)
  6. Over 500 e-mails sent by assistant coach Ron Whitcomb to D1 (FCS) and D2 schools inviting them to our 3 "College Exposure" Camps (Time) & Character
  7. Over 4,000 e-mails sent by Ron Whitcomb to high school coaches with camp info, dates and participating schools (Time) & Character
  8. Over 100 hours of meetings between said assistant and Old Dominion administration creating "action-plans" for parking, signage and community awareness of such large events (Time)
  9. Over 100 hours of phone calls between said assistant with Penn State, Michigan, and Maryland - going over logistics of travel, facility space, itinerary's and staffing (Time)
  10. $2,000 lost deposit on bus contract to transport OL/DL across campus during camp to stadium (Financial)

Despite the loss of close to $20,000 in publications, sponsorship and paid contracts - the worst part of this situation is the DEFAMATION OF CHARACTER that has occurred to our assistant coaches and Old Dominion Football. 

Since Friday April 11th - ODU (Ron Whitcomb) has received over 1,000 phone calls and e-mails asking what the situation / repercussions are for the NCAA ruling. 

Forget the time and energy now taken away from our staff; but, the viewpoint of the players and parents of Old Dominion now is that we do NOT make good on our word.  We advertised a camp and experience that was second to none in the United States, and now - with NO HELP from the NCAA, ODU is left to communicate and make good on the damages of an event less than 2 months away (57 days!)

Parents have purchased flights, booked hotels, booked rental cars and some families have even planned family vacation / reunions around the dates they were eager to attend. 

Now, Old Dominion, not the NCAA, is left to handle these valid complaints and concerns by parents. 

It is the DEFAMATION OF CHARACTER against our coaching staff and ODU branding that is the biggest loss.  To change the rule is the discretion of the voting schools and representatives of the NCAA.  To have this rule go into affect for the summer of 2016 would make the NCAA liable for Old Dominion's damages: Time LOSS, Financial LOSS and Defamation of Character.

Regardless of what happens on April 28th, the next e-mail a High School Coach, College Coach, or parent / recruit receives from Old Dominion; the value has now been diminished.

Finally, I will end with this.  In the summer of 2001, like many rising seniors, I attended over 10 college football camps: Syracuse, Buffalo, Penn State, Hofstra to name a few.  At all of those camps, I felt that I dominated the competition.  But, like most camps - those schools "had their guy", and I was mostly ignored (which is 100% their perogotive)  
Then on July 15th, 2001 - I attended a camp at Curry College in Massachusetts.  The "Offense / Defense Camp".  I am not even sure if they still run it.  The camp was advertised as a "College Exposure" type camp - where multiple schools had coaches who attended and taught the players.  My parents at the time had the foresight to suggest I go in hopes to get evaluated by multiple schools at one camp, opposed to the previous camps where it was just one D1 staff.  Again, I dominated as I had at previous camps.  This time - one coach: Scott Lakatos, a then assistant at the University of Maine, saw something in me, and recommended my name to the then offensive coordinator: Bobby Wilder.  The funny part is, Coach Lakatos didn't just observe me.  At that same exact camp, he handed me and one other young man a "Maine Prospect Card"  That other player was Mike DeVito - who also played at Maine and onto a 9 year career in the NFL with the Jets / Kansas City Chiefs.  Mike had traveled a similar path as I did.  He had attended several camps.

Both Mike and I earned exactly two scholarships between the two of us, both from the University of Maine.  There is ZERO doubt in my mind that without Coach Lakatos observing our performance at camp - we would not have received our opportunity at the University of Maine.

Would be a shame to see future student-athletes lose out on an opportunity that Mike and I enjoyed, and I saw over 1,000 athletes enjoy at ODU last summer.

Ron Whitcomb
Assistant Head Coach
Quarterback Coach
Old Dominion University


One of the 200+ emails, 300+ Twitter messages, 400+ Facebook messages, and 100+ phone calls sent to assistant coach Ron Whitcomb since April 8, 2016

On Apr 21, 2016, at 8:02 AM, Laurie Delaney <> wrote:
it is confusing!!   
it stinks for the athlete and for the parents, who pay for these camps, having more than one
college at a locations is more cost effective...
boys are still looking forward to the camp and checking
out the college..
Thanks  a bunch

"The NCAA shot from the hip," Washington State athletic director Bill Moos said. "Now, we're going through damage control."

Articles Referenced

April 8, 2016 ESPN Article: NCAA Bans Satellite Camps Immediately - Mitch Sherman

April 20, 2016 CBS Sports Article: NCAA satellite camp ban has ruffled even more feathers than you know - Dennis Dodd