Jim Harbaugh says ‘football factories’ keep Michigan out of… – WDIV Detroit

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Jim Harbaugh is known for traveling all around the country to bring football recruits to the University of Michigan, but he believes at least one southern school is making that a little big harder.

Harbaugh was scheduled to participate in a satellite camp with Tulane this summer in Louisiana because of a new NCAA rule that requires camps to be held at college campuses. Instead of touring the country and holding camps wherever he goes, Harbaugh has to pick and choose his spots, and find a willing host to partner with him.

But Tulane canceled the event this week, leaving Michigan without a chance to work with the Louisiana recruits in person. The move reportedly comes after LSU coach Ed Orgeron asked smaller schools in the state not to partner with outside schools.

“This was us keeping Louisiana together,” Orgeron told Sports Illustrated.

Orgeron denied to SI that he pushed Tulane and Southeastern Louisiana to cancel on other schools, but camps planned with Michigan, Houston, Arkansas, Texas and Texas A&M were all suddenly shut down last week.

“Protecting the state of Louisiana is always going to be my job as the coach of LSU,” Orgeron told SI.

Harbaugh believes the move hurts high school players in the state, who will get less exposure to schools around the country and work with fewer college coaches.

“It’s definitely a strategy by several football factories to prevent competitors on their turf, the kids be darned,” Harbaugh told SI.

Is Harbaugh’s criticism fair?

LSU’s move is similar to the NCAA regulations in that it limits and restricts the ability of northern schools to attend satellite camps. Harbaugh was very outspoken about the opportunities that are being taken away from players to protect the fertile recruiting grounds for southern schools.

This time, however, it’s an opposing coach who’s standing in Harbaugh’s way. A official from one of the smaller Louisiana schools told SI that “LSU’s influence is undeniable.”

Is Harbaugh right? Does this aggressive attempt to keep outsiders away hurt the prospective players in Louisiana. It certainly seems like a tactic that will help Louisiana college teams but hurt the players as a whole.

If fewer coaches are exposed to the players, that hurts the chances that Louisiana recruits will get other major offers. While LSU could benefit by dominating the state, the trickle-down effect of fewer recruits receiving outside offers could bump high-level recruits down to mid-level schools and mid-level recruits even lower.

Harbaugh and Michigan State’s Mark Dantonio dominate recruiting in Michigan by selling their schools and relentlessly pursuing the state’s top players. It looks like Orgeron wants to lock up Louisiana by pressuring smaller schools to protect his borders.

But is it hypocritical for Harbaugh to point out the recruiting tactics of other schools? As one of the most creative and innovative recruiting minds in the game, Harbaugh has often left other coaches frustrated by his ability to toe the line and give Michigan a leg up in recruiting.

At the end of the day, all college football coaches are trying to do what’s best for their school. If they think a recruiting tactic is within the rules and can help them win, they’re going to employ that tactic. The difference between Harbaugh and others is that Harbaugh’s moves have been carried out in such a way that they also help the recruits.

Is that because Harbaugh genuinely cares about football players around the country, or just a by-product of the exposure Michigan gives players in its pursuit of the best recruits? Only Harbaugh can know for sure.

Harbaugh is an elite recruiter at a football powerhouse, so he knows talented players will commit to Michigan no matter what other coaches do. Maybe he figures he can help other recruits along the way, or maybe he’s only concerned with Michigan. Let the debate rage on.

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