Bacon: NCAA's crackdown on Jim Harbaugh's satellite camps "utterly shameless"
Last week, the NCAA finally ruled on Jim Harbaugh's satellite football camps for the University of Michigan.
They said that teams are no longer allowed to hold camps outside of their own facilities.
This was a result of teams from the Southeastern Conference (SEC) and the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) crying foul when Harbaugh brought the Wolverines down to Bradenton, Fla. for a camp during Spring Break. Many saw it as a recruiting tactic for Michigan to set up shop in the talent-rich south.
Michigan Radio's sports commentator John U. Bacon joined Stateside to talk about the controversy.
"Right when you think the NCAA cannot be dumber and more cynical, they go ahead and do it," said Bacon.
Bacon says that Michigan's attempt to get more talent from the south is not going to be crippled. He says they will be just fine. The losers in this situation, he says, might be some of the small guys.
The elite players are always going to get noticed by someone, but it's the mid-level players who attend these camps in the hopes of being seen by a big school and earning a scholarship that will miss out.
“If you’re a two or three star kid out of Detroit or Livonia and you’re not getting a look from the big boys, and they can’t fly you down anyway, and you can’t afford to fly you down anyway and you can't afford to go," said Bacon. "This is a great thing for hundreds of young men who otherwise wouldn't get a chance. So if you're going to tell me that the NCAA is looking out for the well being of the kids, I can call bull on that five ways to Sunday ... this is utterly shameless."
Pro sports in Detroit
Meanwhile, in the pros, Fox Sports markets this time of year as "April in the D."
The idea is that this is one of the best times of year for sports fans in Michigan as the NHL and NBA are entering the playoffs and Major League Baseball teams are filled to the brim with optimism as a new season gets under way.
However, for the last seven years, the Detroit Pistons have been missing from that celebration. The once great NBA franchise has been missing from the playoff picture since 2009. That ended this past week when Detroit clinched a spot in the postseason. Depending on how the last few games of the season shake out, they will either play the No. 1 seed Cleveland Cavaliers (who they defeated in two of their three meetings this year) or the No. 2 seed Toronto Raptors.
The Pistons join the Red Wings who qualified for the playoffs for a record 25th consecutive year. This is not only an NHL record but it's a record across all four major sports. They will face the Tampa Bay Lighting for the second year in a row in the opening round. It adds a little extra drama to the matchup as the Lightning's general manager is former Red Wings legend Steve Yzerman.
But on the heels of that good news, the Wings received some bad news when star player Pavel Datsyuk announced that he will not fulfill the last year of his contract with Detroit, where he has spent his entire 14-year career. He will leave the NHL and return home to Russia to spend more time with his family.
The worst part about the news is that there is a rule within the NHL that when you sign a player over the age of 35 to a contract, you have to honor that contract in its entirety. This means, that the Red Wings will have to pay Datsyuk $7.5 million next year and that money will count against the salary cap. This rule is frustrating for Red Wings fans because that $7.5 million would have gone a long way toward finding a player to replace him.
This rule is one of many that Bacon is not a fan of.
"This is the NHL," said Bacon. "What I often say ... hockey is the greatest sport, and the dumbest league. No other league [has this rule]."
Listen to the full interview below to hear more about the satellite football controversy, what the Wings will do with Datsyuk's contract, and how Bacon thinks the Pistons and Red Wings will perform in their respective first round playoff matchups.