‘Sound Mind Sound Body Academy’ are biggest winners from satellite camp ban lifted


In a matter of a month, the NCAA went from abruptly banning universities from hosting satellite camps, followed by the backlash from across the country and the various trickle down effects from it.

All of that came to an end when the NCAA rescinded said ban on camps just last week. And there may be no bigger winners coming out of the seemingly never-ending battle that the Sound Mind Sound Body Football Academy.

The football- and life-teaching organization was incensed with the NCAA when news broke of the ban back in early April. The program, now entering its 13th year,¬†that began right here in the Motor City has been in place to, as they put it, “increase the number football student-athletes graduating high school and earning college scholarships in the Metro Detroit community.” They offer a multi-day curriculum that includes skill-building workshops for both on the field as well as off of it, allowing some of the most prominent football coaches, motivational speakers, and community mentors.

SMSB has an impressive track record of teaching high school prospects first-hand and presenting them with opportunities to earn college scholarships. In 2007, they decided to expand outside the metro Detroit area to larger markets such as Washington, D.C. as well as Tampa, FL and Tulsa, OK.

The founder of the SMSB Academy is Michigan State director of college advancement and performance Curtis Blackwell. He and his staff have been right there on the forefront along with Michigan head football coach Jim Harbaugh leading the charge in favor of satellite camps.

When news broke that the ban was being lifted, Blackwell and company expressed their deepest gratitude towards Harbaugh and others who kept pushing the envelope regarding the topic.

One of the directors for SMSB Rod Oden, who is the head football coach for Detroit East English Village Prep, spoke on Monday on behalf of the program.

“It was a feeling of fulfillment and excitement for the kids of the Midwest area and all over the country,” said Rod Oden, who is the SMSB director of college coaches. “It was a feeling of gratitude on the part of the NCAA board of directors finally putting the kids first.”

“If felt great to know that people here (in Michigan) would recognize the fruits of our labor,” Oden said. “You know, I think that coach (Harbaugh) showing support for satellite camps was the most profound statement that could be made. We’re the little guy out here.”

The Sound Mind Sound Body has plans to hold camps this summer in Atlanta (June 3-4), Houston (June 6-7), Detroit (9-10), Tampa (11-12), Los Angeles (16-17), and Washington, D.C. (23-24). That of course was up in the air following the ban and since the rescinding of the ruling, Oden said that he and his staff have received calls from numerous college coaches across the country, offering to team up with SMSB this summer.

Another interesting wrinkle to this story is the two conferences who were strongly opposed to satellite camps, the SEC and the ACC, are now not only complying with the new rule, but according to Oden, they will be working with SMSB.

“We’re also getting coaches that we’ve never had access to,” Oden said. “The rule, as it currently sits, allows for everyone to have satellite camp participation. We’ll have a couple SEC schools that have jumped on board and we have a couple of ACC schools that have jumped on board. So, it will be great to have those coaches come out and work alongside us and, at the same time, see what we’re offering.”

Oden, Blackwell, and those associated with SMSB have one ultimate mission moving forward as they continue to grow from a national perspective.

“It’s imperative that we make those relationships and make it known what it is that we aim to do,” Oden said. “We would love, in an ideal world, to get these kids on your campus. Some kids, the parent’s financial ability doesn’t allow for much travel. We would still like them to see these kids, come out and work with these kids, and, ultimately, help these kids get closer to obtaining a college scholarship. Not all kids get a scholarship but you get to shake hands with these coaches like Harbaugh and these guys. It’s kind of a one-stop-shop for our guys. That’s what we wanted to get across from the very beginning.”

Visit the Sound Mind Sound Body official website for more information.