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 Harbaugh changing the face of College Recruiting. 
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Martha Firestone Ford
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Post Harbaugh changing the face of College Recruiting.

The Loophole That Will Allow Jim Harbaugh to Revolutionize Recruiting
By Ben Axelrod , Big Ten Lead Writer May 14, 2015

According to NCAA bylaw, only "authorized athletics department staff members" are allowed to recruit on a school's behalf.

So while Jim Harbaugh may have a direct line to some of the the NFL's top talent, the new Michigan coach couldn't just let his former Pro Bowl players directly aid the Wolverines' recruiting efforts–not unless they officially join his staff.

But bylaw won't stop Harbaugh from putting his sizable Rolodex of professional contacts to use. And the loophole he's found might just revolutionize the recruiting world.

While college coaches may not be allowed to have their former players make recruiting calls on their behalf—as Urban Meyer learned when Ohio State self-reported a secondary violation stemming from an eight-second conversation between Tim Tebow and a prospect in 2013—there's nothing that prevents ex-players from serving as instructors at a school's summer camp. In fact, there are very few restrictions placed on who is allowed to work a camp. the NCAA doesn't even mention former players in its bylaws concerning camps.

Harbaugh, apparently, has taken notice.

Even though players are not allowed to actively recruit for him, the former San Francisco 49ers head coach appears to have sent out an open invitation to the expansive network he and Wolverines quarterbacks coach Jedd Fisch have built to help work a camp in Ann Arbor this summer. The result is a camp unlike anything ever seen in college football, with Colin Kaepernick, Jay Cutler, Denard Robinson and Jameis Winston all advertised to be in attendance for the "Ann Arbor Aerial Assault Elite Quarterback Training School."

Never has a camp been as star-studded from an instructional standpoint as Michigan's will be, with three Pro Bowl signal-callers in Kaepernick, Cutler and Elvis Grbac on site. 2015 No. 1-overall pick Winston, Kyle Boller, Blaine Gabbert and noted quarterback guru George Whitfield will also help out at the June 20 camp.

While this star-studded group is unprecedented, it's all legal under NCAA rules.

"With camps, it's totally different," a Michigan spokesperson explained to Bleacher Report. "They're not doing recruiting at the camps."

That might be true, based on the NCAA's definition of "recruiting." But it's hard to see Harbaugh's "A4" camp as recruiting-neutral.

Because where else but Michigan are quarterback prospects going to be able to obtain instruction from multiple Pro Bowl players and some of the country's top position coaches? And once these players make their way to Ann Arbor—and make no mistake, they will—they'll be treated to what will ultimately amount to an infomercial for the Wolverines program in the form of their own Elite 11-style quarterback camp.

The big event is just the latest aggressive recruiting move from Harbaugh after he toured the country on a nine-stop, seven-state tour of satellite camps. No doubt, Harbaugh is shaking up the status quo of college football recruiting. What will be interesting now is to see if other schools follow his lead.

In the instance of satellite camps, the answer was yes, with Meyer opting to hold one on Florida Atlantic's campus in Boca Raton this June, despite publicly denouncing the practice of hosting such camps. Meyer may not be allowed to have Tebow make calls on his behalf, but will he check to see if the new Philadelphia Eagle would be open to serving as an instructor in Columbus this summer?

Will Nick Saban look to his long list of NFL alums in hopes of holding his own camp filled with Pro Bowl players as well? Elite NFL players have always been allowed to work college camps. It just hasn't been until Harbaugh that they have been so aggressively leveraged.

Don't think that prospects and rival coaches alike haven't taken notice as Harbaugh continues to change the landscape of college recruiting.

And it's all legal.

May 15th, 2015, 12:57 pm
RIP Killer
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Joined: August 6th, 2004, 9:21 am
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Post Re: Harbaugh changing the face of College Recruiting.
Wow, the messiah has arrived and changed the face of college recruiting. I'm afraid to look at how bad UofM is killing MSU for 2016 recruits.

Oh wait, just checked. Go Green, Go White! Can wait to see how Dantonio does with all this talent who still fit the Spartan mold...

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May 15th, 2015, 11:35 pm
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