I know it’s stating the obvious, but the trend of student-athletes missing bowl games to get an early stat on draft preparation is not as much to do with a kid being there for his teammates as it is about control and money.
With regard to the former, that’s why there’s nothing more amusing than listening to coaches mourn about lack of commitment by selfish players while at the same time… well, you know.
If there is one thing coaches cannot do without, it’s control — specifically roster control. It’s why we witnessed so much consternation in the transfer reform process. It was the coaches who came up with the term “free agency” when transfer reform amounted to something significantly less.
No one, then, should be surprised when the players in this instance are looking out for themselves.
“Will it impact [bowls] in this age when people are looking for a reason not to go instead of go? Yep,” Waters said. “But at the end of the day, the bowls have been impacted by coaches leaving for years. If we talk about leadership and leading by example, what’s the example when a coach leaves his team? What’s the difference when the kids leave? It’s kind of hard to throw rocks at kids when the people we trust to lead them are doing the same thing.”
You mean like this?
As far as money goes, if college football wants its players to stay instead of prepping for a pro career, there’s an obvious solution — pay ’em to stay. Now, granted, the math probably doesn’t add up to do that for some minor bowl game, but what happens when the coaching stakes are bigger? Probably some version of this.
Skipping a playoff game.
Scenario: A Clemson (or Alabama or Oklahoma or Notre Dame) draft-eligible player with NFL dreams has lost his starting job to a younger player and prefers NFL prep drills to lots of practices and two games worth of injury risk.
This is not “if” but “when,” and college coaches losing their usual precious leverage know it.
Critical mass comes when the first healthy star on a College Football Playoff team waves goodbye to campus and hello to an agent’s signing bonus.
That’s when the NCAA starts allowing significant “extra” payments to playoff-bound football players.
Money talks and it’s not like schools in the playoff can’t afford it. The fun part will be listening to how they rationalize making the payments.