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Rutgers is using Ohio State to wage turf war on Michigan

Camps aren't just for recruiting. They've now become weaponized -- and Ohio State is squarely in the middle.

Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

Ohio State will be participating in multiple satellite camps this summer. They'll share those camps with multiple coaching staffs, from TCU, to Arizona, heck, even Michigan. And now, who Ohio State has decided to partner with has helped launch the latest Big Ten offseason controversy. The Buckeyes have joined up with Rutgers to undermine Michigan in New Jersey.

Michigan announced that one of their six hundred summer satellite camps will be at New Jersey powerhouse Paramus Catholic on June 8. You might recall Paramus Catholic as the school that produced Rashan Gary, last year's top ranked prospect in the country. It's also the school that invited Jim Harbaugh to give a graduation speech. One of Harbaugh's assistants, linebackers coach Chris Partridge, was the head coach there too, so it's clear both schools have a very close relationship.

The Paramus coaching staff asked Michigan to invite Rutgers to participate, which they did, but Rutgers declined. Given that the number one program priority for Rutgers is to improve in-state recruiting, and given that the number one threat to that might be Michigan, not-partnering with Michigan for a camp might make some sense.

But Rutgers did more than just turn Michigan down. They decided to start their own camp, on the very same day, just down the road, and they invited Ohio State to participate (along with Temple).

Some Michigan fans are evidently mad about this. So are some reporters. One is even painting this move as some sort of wanton disregard of student-athletes, because now they have to decide to attend either the Ohio State or the Michigan camp. Which ... Okay.

It's also worth pointing out that a number of New Jersey high school coaches are apparently encouraging their players to attend the Ohio State/Rutgers camp over the Michigan one. This also makes some sense: it is probably in the best interest of high school coaches who are not Paramus Catholic to work against the interests of Paramus Catholic. Plus, some high schools apparently resent the outsized influence that Michigan apparently holds over the state. It's not like Harbaugh has been running his operation in the most subtle way, after all.

Rutgers isn't a strong enough program to really counteract Michigan's influence. But you know who might be? Ohio State, coupled with Rutgers (who is, of course, coached by former Ohio State coach Chris Ash) and the influence of HS coaches, there's a legitimate show of force against the idea that Michigan can just do whatever they want in New Jersey.

If all of this sounds like a ridiculous version of college football Risk, well, it does. Recruiting is weird.

The takeaway here? Ohio State will get an opportunity to get face time with prospects in an important recruiting state, while working to undermine the influence of their biggest rival. Rutgers might be able to pick up another three-star or two in the process. Everybody wins.

And if this keeps up, maybe Ohio State will mess around, consolidate their gains, and invade Western Europe. That's how Risk works, right?