It would appear that LSU and in-state politicians have successfully kept Texas out of Louisiana for satellite camp participation -- for now, anyway. But there's collateral damage in LSU's motives, and it involves the recruits themselves.
Pete Thamel of Sports Illustrated took a deep dive into a satellite camp tug-of-war that put LSU and Louisiana politicians on one end, Texas on the other, and Belhaven University and coach Hal Mumme firmly in the middle. According to Thamel's report, an initial satellite camp hosted by Belhaven at BREC Memorial Stadium in Baton Rouge was moved to Saint Thomas Aquinas High School in Hammond, Louisiana, as a result of political pressure. However, that event was later cancelled -- again, with the help of in-state influence -- with Belhaven taking a $5,000 financial hit as a result.
"This marks the third announced camp in Louisiana that Texas was scheduled to take part in. And it's the third camp that LSU has worked hard behind the scenes to prevent from happening," Thamel reported.
There are layers to the story. LSU wants to keep in-state kids in state. This is the goal for every coach in every state, but there's good reason for this in LSU's eyes. According to NCAA numbers, Louisiana has the third-highest percentage of high school players recruited by a Division I school despite the fact that it's not an overly populated area.
The other layer, as Thamel notes, is the connection between LSU and Texas coach Tom Herman, who was heavily connected to LSU as a successor to Les Miles last year. Herman, of course, left Houston to become the coach of the Longhorns while LSU hired interim coach Ed Orgeron.
These factors are noteworthy, but they're little more than interesting backstory with little-to-no real world consequence. The petty battle over camp ground doesn't hurt LSU or Texas as much as it affects the players who aren't likely to be heavily recruited by either. Houston, Cornell and Belhaven were going to participate in the camp as well. Because the event has been canceled, those three programs won't get in front of players they may want to recruit ...
Local coaches have been critical of LSU's perceived role behind the scenes boxing out schools like Arkansas, Houston and Texas, as it has limited the exposure of high school kids in Louisiana. (Texas, Houston, Cornell and Belhaven were committed to Thursday's camp in Baton Rouge. Mumme said more coaching staffs may have joined). There's a feeling locally that LSU's vigilance to protect the state has hurt kids who aren't talented enough to get offered scholarships to an SEC power like LSU.
The blue-chip prospects being recruited by LSU and/or Texas are likely going to get in front of those coaching staffs one way or another. If LSU wants to offer an in-state prospect, there are more than enough chances to do so. If Texas was interested in offering a recruit, one out-of-state satellite camp probably wasn't going to be the end-all, be-all opportunity to see the player in person.
Satellite camps are good situations for schools and more under-recruited players to connect. Prospects have a limited number of official visits in which the school takes care of the costs. For a majority of the recruits who aren't of the blue-chip label, the more of these regional chances they have, the better.
LSU's reputation won't be irrepairably damaged because of its maneuvering. And given the caliber of player it recruits, Texas won't suffer much on the trail because it's been boxed out of one satellite camp in a neighboring state. But the two-or-three-star player who could have performed in front of Houston or Cornell was hurt through no fault of his own.