By: Kylan Watson
Stanford University running back Christian McCaffrey and LSU star running back Leonard Fournette have both decided to not play in their teams respective bowl games, in order to preserve themselves for their NFL futures. They have decided to skip out on an exhibition game that their schools, the NCAA, and the television networks make more money off of than the players. This is leading to a new question should star players with NFL futures sit out meaningless games in order to preserve themselves for the NFL?
McCaffrey said, “Very tough decision, but I have decided not to play in the Sun Bowl so I can begin my draft prep immediately. Thanks to all my teammates for their 100% support–It means a lot to me. Go Cardinal!” (http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2016/12/19/christian-mccaffrey-skips-bowl-game-to-focus-on-nfl-draft/ 12-19-16).
McCaffrey and Fournette are two of the top running backs in the country and are projected to both be top five picks in the upcoming 2017 NFL Draft in Philadelphia, PA. Fournette has been playing this whole season injured and decided not to play, in order to not get injured further. Fournette could have entered the draft last year and skip his junior year, but he decided to come back to school to further cement his draft status.
Both players’ decisions to sit out have caused a storm of criticism to come their way, some experts and fans have called both players quitters. Both of these players are not quitters they have chosen to no longer risk their bodies for games, where money is made off their backs, to expand stadiums on their campuses, get new television deals, that none of these players see a dime of.
If fans, experts, and the NCAA want these players to play in these games and not sit out to make the most money they can in the NFL. Then the answer is simple, pay them!!! Otherwise your product will not be great because star players will decide to sit games out to not end up like Jaylon Smith, the Cowboys number one pick in the 2016 NFL Draft pick who suffered a torn MCL and ACL playing in the Fiesta Bowl against Ohio State. Now that was a playoff game, but yet again another meaningless game where Smith got injured and he lost at least 20.5 million dollars, because he went from a top 5 pick, to the 34th pick by the Cowboys in the second round. After seeing what happened to Smith many players will decide to become members of the sit out generation, in order to preserve themselves for the NFL, especially if these players are projected to be top picks in the NFL Draft.