Mark Dantonio's comments sum up his attitude toward Jim Harbaugh
By now, you know that Mark Dantonio isn’t someone who needs many words to get his point across.
He can say more with one sentence or one smirk than some coaches can say in an entire press conference. Few people on this earth can pack that kind of weight with their words.
Not surprisingly, the same was true when Dantonio was asked about the NCAA’s satellite camp ban during an appearance on 92.1-FM in Lansing. He had a longer answer, but the way he ended it summed up his attitude toward Jim Harbaugh’s methods.
“There’s a lot of different ways you can look at that in terms of what direction they’re trying to stop things from happening, I guess,” Dantonio said. “One of the things, it takes away opportunities from young people going to a particular camp – a Michigan State camp, where we may have 30 colleges here working the camp. Maybe the smaller colleges can still come, but (Mid-American Conference coaches) cannot come. So that’s advantageous for young people, that’s advantageous for the MAC in general and those schools to be able to come and see players. And that’s one of the things that’s taken the hit on this.
“I guess abuse brings control.”
Those last five words shouldn’t have come as any surprise. As Dantonio stated, he thinks the satellite camps have many positives. After all, MSU assistant Curtis Blackwell started the Sound Mind Sound Body camp years ago, which was something that Dantonio, Harbaugh and Urban Meyer attended.
So why would he say there was “abuse?” Well, because before last year, satellite camps were done by plenty of coaches. But it was Harbaugh, of course, who made headlines for his 10-camp, 8-day satellite camp tour across the country.
Now, events like the Sound Mind Sound Body camp — even though it isn’t technically a satellite camp — can’t have coaches participate, which is considered a major blow to recruits and non-Power Five schools. Right or wrong, the NCAA put a strict ban on coaches participating at camps or clinics so that nobody would try to bend the rules.
There were plenty of coaches, like Dantonio, who liked the system that was in place, but knew that it wouldn’t last with the levels Harbaugh brought it to.
Dantonio did later deny that his comments were directed strictly at Michigan:
Mark Dantonio said before practice today he was not singling out UM in comments on satellite camps
— Matt Charboneau (@mattcharboneau) April 12, 2016
Harbaugh wasn’t the only coach to have satellite camps scheduled throughout the summer. Dantonio’s comments could’ve also included coaches like Bret Bielema, who was set to take advantage of the lack of restrictions on satellite camps.
But if you think Dantonio meant to exclude Harbaugh from the group who “abused” satellite camps, then you’re in denial.
A lot of coaches probably share similar feelings, whether they supported the ban or not. But this sheds more light on the fact that Dantonio and Harbaugh couldn’t be more different in their approaches. The rise and fall of satellite camps is more proof that Dantonio downplays anything off-the-field, and Harbaugh plays it up for the world to see.
We should’ve realized this type of dynamic would unfold when Dantonio went on SportsCenter and he had this response to Harbaugh being a better coach than him before he coached a game at Michigan:
As Dantonio said, MSU will line up and play. Dantonio is never going to come out and say that Harbaugh abused satellite camps, therefore the NCAA had to step in. He doesn’t have to.
As long as the Spartans continue to beat Harbaugh’s Wolverines, nobody will question Dantonio’s methods. And as long as Harbaugh’s methods are raising eyebrows — or leading to rule changes — Dantonio will have a brief, understated response in his holster.