Connecticut Sports Recruiting: Are Camps for Recruiting or Teaching?

As I covered in my article entitled “Camps Bring Additional Income, Legal Issues for College Coaches“, sports camps allow college coaches to earn additional income and scout potential recruits.  But what is the objective of these camps?  To provide a recruiting opportunity for coaches or to teach young players the skills necessary to play the game?

Answers vary among coaches and schools.  Two articles that I recently read shed some light on the changes in the objectives of camps and how philosophies can differ between colleges. 

West Virginia’s new head coach Dana Holgorsen discussed his view of the Mountaineers’s summer camp, emphasizing the recruiting aspect:

“It’s real critical to get them on campus. The days of three and four day instructional camps where kids from sixth grade on up come to your campus and they practice three times a day and stay in the dorms, those days are kind of gone by the wayside. We kind of focused more on ninth through twelfth grades and have one-day camps.”

More and more college football programs are following this model. It is not just the schools utilizing camps as a recruiting tool. Holgorsen acknowledged the kids and their parents are also trying to take advantage of the camp scene, “Most kids nowadays are using this as a tool to get across the country and see the campuses and see the facilities and meet the coaches and work with the coaches a little bit.”

George DeLeone, UConn’s new offensive coordinator discussed summer camps, the recruiting aspect of these camps, and UConn’s philosophy with Desmond Conner of  the Hartford Courant.  DeLeone acknowledges the changes mentioned by Holgorsen, but describes a different model for UConn:

“Things have changed dramatically in the last 20 years,” he said. “The four-day camp, first, when I started in this business, the four-day camp was a way for the college coach to make a little extra spending money in the offseason. It then became important for recruiting. But now these four days, in many ways, have been replaced by the one-days which have really been turned into prospect-type camps.

“We have resisted that notion here with our one-days. We want it to be a football camp first. We want it to be a service to the state of Connecticut. We kept the price down. It’s $30 which is the cheapest camp in Division I football – by far for a one-day because we want to make it affordable for every kid in the state of Connecticut. So we’ve taken a little different track. We want to provide a service for high school coaches and high school players. With that said we have had a lot of prospects that have come through our doors.”

Both perspectives are valid.  However, after reading about UConn’s philosophy, it is no surprise that Coach Pasqualoni is so popular among high school football coaches in Connecticut.

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