Loss of institutional control

This is too fucking rich.

Nick Saban cannot contain himself. Such is the case when an issue impacts his ability to coach football at the highest level.

It’s been seven months since Leonard Fournette and Christian McCaffrey skipped their bowl games, but their actions have created one of the hottest topics of the offseason.

What if, Saban wonders, ducking out for the pros before a bowl game becomes a college trend? Or worse …

“Same thing will happen in high school if they make the signing day before the season,” Saban told CBS Sports. “It will take a few years, then some kid will say, ‘Hey, I’m going to Notre Dame. I’m not playing my senior year.’

“Then the high school coach will go nuts.”

That Nick Saban.  So selfless.  Never thinking of himself.

The apple, it seems, doesn’t fall that far from the tree, either.

“It’s a major negative to me because it takes away from the team aspect of the sport,” Georgia coach Kirby Smart said. “… Are we going to get to a point where someone commits to a college and says, ‘I don’t want to play my [high school] senior year for fear of injury?'”

Coaches like Saban and Smart can jump ship any time they’d like, without repercussion (other than a pesky buyout clause, maybe).  Indeed, Saban is on his fifth head coaching gig and nobody’s playing the “taking away from the team aspect of the sport” card on his ass.  But a player daring to take his career considerations into his own hands?  That’s death.

Even Smart detects a whiff of hypocrisy there.

“I definitely sympathize and see both sides of it,” Smart said. “I don’t want to sound like the selfish coach that only thinks of himself. Also, think of the purity of the game. You’re playing for more than the coach. You’re playing for a team, a university.”

Okay, only a faint whiff.

There aren’t many times when a player has control over his career.  A stud finishing his third college season with a likely NFL check staring him in the face has just that.  And it’s killing coaches like Saban and Smart.

There’s not a damned thing they can do about it, either, other than trying to convince the NFL to penalize kids for making a decision to skip a bowl game.  Good luck with that.  Of course, they could always advocate for student-athletes to be paid enough where it becomes worth their while to stay in school… eh, who am I kidding with that?

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12 Comments

Filed under College Football, It's Just Bidness, The NFL Is Your Friend.

12 responses to “Loss of institutional control

  1. Biggen

    See I dont get it. If a coach jumps ship the penalties are there. Sure the hiring school pays for it, but there are penalties. But there are NO penalties if a player decides to just skip a bowl. Not a single repercussion.

    Count me in the camp of seeing THAT as not fair.

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    • The “penalties”, as you call them, on coaches are contractually negotiated.

      Since there’s no employment contract with amateur student-athletes, what exactly do you have in mind to make things fairer?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Brandon

        Don’t most of the high profile junior athletes a la Fournette and McCaffrey have huge insurance policies (that would cover their estimated initial contract value in the NFL) that are paid for by the school in case of injury? If this weren’t the case I might sympathize with them a little.

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        • guest

          They can get coverage for some of that loss of value money, but not all. Jake Butt from UM was projected to go in the early to middle 2nd round, then suffered an ACL injury during their bowl game and dropped all the way to the 5th. His insurance contract was estimated to pay him several hundred thousand for the drop, but he still lost millions (some guaranteed) when all was said and done.

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    • “Not a single repercussion”

      So what? These guys have a future to protect in many cases. At least in the Fournette case (not sure about McCaffrey), his teammates fully supported his decision.

      For Little Nicky’s straw man argument about high school players, a college coach can rescind a scholarship offer at any time … That’s one of the most illogical things Saban has ever said. Bottom line … the $3m-$7m PE teachers aren’t exactly a bunch of Mensa members as a group.

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    • southernlawyer11

      Bottom line: money is money. No human being on earth should jeopardize the kind of money that comes with a 1st round payday for . . pride. Not his pride, your pride, the University community’s pride. One reason we all go to school is to increase our lifetime earning potential. Not protecting a financial opportunity that 99% of your classmates will never have would tell me you have learned very little about the “real world” while in college.

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  2. Gaskilldawg

    Exactly, ee. Saban knew when he said that that just because Notre Dame gets a LOI from a kid the summer before the HS senior year Notre Dame is under no obligation to actually put the kid on scholarship. Saban just figured he could recite that bullshit because the writers would not call him on it. I notice another SEC head coach made that misleading statement, too.

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  3. Macallanlover

    Agree with Little Nick on skipping/laying out on Bowl Games, unless there is current injury involved (where do you draw the line of when to quit on your team/fans?) but he is stretching on the early signing period effecting HS players. I can see HS players skipping All Star games after the season is over because there is no established “team” to let down.

    The Bowl Game issue is another downer for CFB, and another support beam for the developmental league idea. Not close yet, but I think it comes to that in 10-15 years

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bowl games don’t matter. Anyone who gets upset at a kid for protecting a potentially life long meal ticket by skipping out on a scrimmage needs to rethink what their priorities are.

      I think most people realize that though – This won’t be an issue until some offensive or defensive lineman decides to skip a CFB Playoff game (At which point I think it is fair to say that yes, he’s letting his teammates and school down)

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  4. 69Dawg

    Marcus Latimore would like to point out that the risk versus reward for returning to play is real. Also the NCAA in a show of total disregard, of the sacrifice he made playing out his time, refused to let USCe hire him for a reason that I can’t even begin to understand.

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