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Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh brings controversial satellite camp to Las Vegas’ Chaparral High

The controversial University of Michigan satellite football camp summer tour is coming to Las Vegas.

It’s unclear if Wolverines coach Jim Harbaugh will attend the Las Vegas tour stop, but the rest of Michigan’s coaching staff is expected to be on hand at Chaparral High School from 5-8 p.m. on June 22 to conduct the NV Showdown Football Camp.

The Michigan satellite camp is one of 35 scheduled in June across 20 states, Australia and American Samoa. The Las Vegas camp is open to all students entering 9th-12th grade and costs $45 to register. The camps have received scrutiny from the NCAA and earlier this year they were banned.

“It’s a fundraiser for us,” Chaparral football coach Paul Nihipali said. “They don’t take anything.”

Nihipali said there’s a simple reason why Michigan chose to hold its camp at Chaparral instead of at national prep power Bishop Gorman, which features two Wolverines recruits in cornerback Alex Perry and defensive tackle Haskell Garrett, an Ohio State commit.

“My son-in-law coaches for Michigan,” Nihipali said.

He’s referring to Tony Tuioti, Michigan’s director of player personnel who’s in charge of coordinating the team’s summer camps. The former Hawaii defensive line coach is married to Nihipali’s daughter, Keala, a former Chaparral and Hawaii volleyball player. Also, Tuioti’s older brother, George, is Chaparral’s defensive coordinator.

According to Nihipali, when Harbaugh told Tuioti three weeks ago that there was one open date left on their camp calendar, Tuioti suggested Las Vegas and urged Harbaugh to hold the camp at Chaparral instead of at Gorman.

When Harbaugh asked why, Tuioti told him, “because my father-in-law is the head coach.”

“He stuck his neck out there,” Nihipali said. “”I think both sides are going to benefit from it. They’ll see what the West Coast can offer and we’ll see what they can offer from the highest collegiate level. It’s pretty exciting.”

Nihipali expects several local prep coaches to take part in the camp and hopes to attract 200 players. For enrollment information, visit chaparralathletics.com or call Nihipali at 702-799-7580.

“The (Michigan coaching) staff will run the clinic and we’ll follow their lead,” he said. “We’re excited. It’s something new. We know it might not last forever so we want to take advantage of it as long as it’s here and do the best we can for a university of that magnitude.”

Harbaugh rankled many Southeastern Conference and Atlantic Coast Conference teams last year, when he took his staff on a seven-state “Summer Swarm” tour that invaded their territory and was criticized for being used as a recruiting tool and not solely to teach kids football, as Harbaugh contended.

On April 8th, the NCAA Division I Council approved a rule proposed by the ACC that banned Football Bowl Subdivision teams from holding or even working at off-campus camps. However, on April 28, the NCAA Division I Board of Directors rescinded the ruling, allowing teams to take part in satellite camps while asking the Council for recommendations for improving the football recruiting process by Sept. 1.

June is considered a “quiet period” in recruiting by the NCAA, which prohibits off-campus contact with prospects during the month.

In addition to offering scholarships to the aforementioned Bishop Gorman players, Michigan also has recruited four-star Arbor View defensive tackle Greg Rogers.

Michigan, one of 13 college teams taking part in a camp at Orem, Utah, on June 17 and 18, is the only college squad slated to be involved in the camp at Chaparral.

UNLV, which lost 28-7 to the Wolverines in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in September, doesn’t plan to participate. It’s hosting six different Tony Sanchez Football Camps (TonySanchezFootballCamps.com) from June 11 to June 19, starting with the 7-on-7 team camp that will include Nihipali’s Cowboys squad.

Sanchez, the second-year Rebels coach, also will help conduct UNLV satellite camps in the team’s recruiting hotbeds of Houston, Los Angeles, Utah and Hawaii.

While the former Bishop Gorman coach said he doesn’t have a problem with the Wolverines holding a camp in Las Vegas, he would rather have regional combines that all coaches could attend instead of satellite camps.

“For us, we’re much more regional in our recruiting,” he said. “Everybody being able to go to a regional site and get a true evaluation of a prospect would be a good thing for the players and the universities.”

Contact reporter Todd Dewey at tdewey@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0354. Follow him on Twitter: @tdewey33

 

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