Jim Harbaugh: Michigan satellite camps are ‘a good thing’

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Highlights from Springfield High, where Michigan's Jim Harbaugh hosted a camp on Wednesday.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

The Michigan Wolverines traveling football show rolled into Springfield on Wednesday. The star attraction, head coach Jim Harbaugh, did not disappoint.

Harbaugh posed for a selfie with Michigan fan Carl Ruby, the senior pastor at Central Christian Church in Springfield, before he walked onto the field. Then when Ruby asked if he could pray with Harbaugh for a victory over Ohio State next fall, Harbaugh smiled, took off his hat, put his hand on Ruby’s shoulder and listened to the prayer.

Approximately 250 players from all over Ohio attended the satellite camp at Springfield High School. They each paid $20 to perform in front of coaches from Michigan, Dayton, Wittenberg and many other colleges.

The camps are a controversial topic. The NCAA banned them in April only to rescind the ban weeks later. Alabama coach Nick Saban blasted Harbaugh’s camp tour on Tuesday, saying the camps are bad for football because there are no NCAA guidelines to control them. Harbaugh responded on Twitter with a shot at the Crimson Tide.

In Springfield, Harbaugh defended the camp. He pointed to the kids warming up behind him and said, “It gives youngsters, coaches, gives us all a way to connect in the football world, and that’s a good thing.”

At the start of the camp, all the players gathered around Harbaugh, and he told them to take a lap. Minutes later, players started getting in a long line to get individual photos with Harbaugh. He posed with all of them, wearing out one photographer and asking another one to take over and shoot photos with his cell phone. The second photographer was Leonard Taylor, a Springfield junior who has verbally committed to the Wolverines.

This was the second camp of the day for the Michigan coaches, who started at Bishop Chatard High School in Indianapolis. They’ll attend close to 40 camps in 22 different states in the next month, including June 9 at Fairfield Stadium in Butler County.

“We’re not going to take any days off,” Harbaugh said. “That’s good. We’re healthy. We can do it.”

The camp also allowed local coaches, such as Wittenberg’s Joe Fincham, to get a look at players.

“I don’t know how the guys at Michigan are staying married doing all this stuff,” Fincham joked. “For us, it’s an awesome deal for exposure.”

Dayton Flyers coach Rick Chamberlin watched the players go through drills and compete in sprints. He was back in his old stomping grounds. He graduated from North High School, where Springfield High School now sits.

Chamberlin also coached against Harbaugh when Harbaugh was the head coach at the University of San Diego. Chamberlin grew up an Ohio State fan and but said if it helps the kids, it’s good that Michigan visited Springfield.

“The name Michigan’s going to draw a lot of kids,” Chamberlin said. “How many of these young men can play at Michigan? Not many. But there’s a number of them who can play at Dayton, Baldwin-Wallace, Wittenberg, Ashland. That’s where it helps.”