USD�Football Camp attracts nearly 2,000 high school athletes More than 1,750 high school students participated in The University of South Dakota football camps in July, which has meant a significant economic impact on the city of Vermillion, according to area business leaders.
"The camp is a tremendous thing for the Vermillion community," said Jere Chapman, owner of the Silver Dollar/Fox Pizza and a city council member from the southeast ward. "The impact that the camps, whether football or others held on campus, is significant to our local economy."
This summer, head coach Ed Meierkort and his staff hosted three 11-man team camps and also an 8-9 man team camp.
Accompanying the student-athletes to Vermillion are coaches from the respective communities. Chapman asserted that his business and others have the opportunity to cater to the coaches. "The coaches spend a lot of money in our community, but so do students who go into our convenience stores and fast food establishments. Anytime, you get high school students into your community, it increases the possibility of them enrolling at USD later. These camps are a big boost to our local economy which is a fantastic thing for USD and Vermillion, especially in the middle of the summer," Chapman said.
Lisa Ketcham of the Vermillion Chamber of Commerce added that the football camps make a difference in the area�s economy.
"These camps are a unique opportunity for Vermillion to showcase our community and USD for prospective students. Each year the camp participants have a significant impact on the retail business and local economy. We are very excited to have USD hosting this wonderful event."
At the camps, students-athletes stay in the USD residential halls, which increase camaraderie on their respective teams. They also have the opportunity to meet other student-athletes from a four-state region. In all, high school football teams represent approximately 80 different communities across four states.
From a football perspective, these campers receive personalized instruction on techniques and fundamentals while also providing team scrimmage opportunities. During these team camp sessions, all high school teams and their coach are given practice time to work on offensive and defensive schemes.
The full-padded practice sessions are held at the air conditioned DakotaDome and at the outdoor practice fields.
USD Athletics Director Joel Nielsen noted that the football camp may be the biggest in the Midwest.
"The numbers generated at these camps are substantial," said Nielsen. "Coach Meierkort and his staff work extremely hard to make these events available to area high school athletes and their coaches."
Camps were staffed by coaches from the North Central Conference, Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference, Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference as well as outstanding area high school coaches.
"We are excited about providing an opportunity for these student-athletes to improve their football skills while having the opportunity to compete with other teams from the region," said Meierkort. "This camp is one of the biggest anywhere and has a huge impact on our community. We really appreciate the interest of student-athletes and their coaches. It is a fun experience for everyone."