This past winter old sportswriters and people who remember when candy bars cost a nickel were all up in arms over top NFL Draft prospects sitting out their bowl games because they didn’t want to get hurt.
Those people questioned their character, wondered if it would hurt their draft stock and worried about what it might mean for future bowl games, all while clutching their pearls from the fainting couch in the parlor.
Fast forward to the NFL Draft last Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and sitting out bowl games did not hurt those players in any way.
Leonard Fournette sat out his bowl game and went fourth overall. Christian McCaffrey sat out his bowl game and went eighth overall, guaranteeing them tens of millions of dollars before they even take a snap.
On the other side of that coin in forming Michigan tight end Jake Butt, who was a Top-50 prospect during his senior year, and elected to play in the Wolverines’ bowl game. Unfortunately for him, he ended up tearing his ACL in the bowl game, severely hurting his draft stock and value, all because he played in a game that meant nothing.
Prior to Butt’s injury, he was projected to be picked near the top of the second round, which would have grossed about $4 million in guaranteed money. As the first pick in the fifth round, Butt will receive about $380,000 in guaranteed money.
That’s right. By playing an extra game for free, he got hurt and cost himself $3.62 million in guaranteed money, while two guys who sat out there bowl games will probably make more by putting pen to paper than Butt will for his entire NFL career.
Luckily, Butt was smart enough to get insurance on himself in the case of an injury and a draft slide, but still, that, according to that same article above, could only reach $2 million at most, leaving him $2 million short of what he might have had coming had he not been hurt.
This is all to say: Get out of NCAA sports as fast as you can. Go get paid. There is zero reason to be playing college sports other than you are playing out your remaining time until you are draft eligible.
People criticized Mitch Trubisky and DeShone Kizer for entering the draft early and not being NFL-ready. Well guess what. They got picked second overall, and high in the second round, promising them enough money to be set for life, regardless of how their NFL careers pan out.
They recognized that it was a weak QB draft and that their value would never be higher, and then cashed in. Well done to both of them.
Look, despite all the clamoring and arguing and trying from students, the NCAA is going to do all it can to ensure that it never has to pay its players. And why would they want to? It’s free labor (yes they get a scholarship but that is not the same as immediate monetary value), that they get to make billions of dollars off of each year. They are not going to pay you, and if they do, they will fold rather than lose money.
There is no reason to play in a bowl game unless it is in the college football playoff, because it is just one more chance to get hurt. The only reason you should play in a bowl game is if you are a fringe prospect hoping to move up. Fournette, McCaffrey, and Butt were not. One of them played in his bowl game and is now missing out of millions of dollars.
And then there are bozos like Michigan State’s Miles Bridges. Miles, with all due respect, you are a moron.
Yes, Michigan State fans are thrilled you’re back. And Michigan State University as a whole is even more thrilled because that means they get to sell tickets and merchandise on it for a bonafide NBA prospect, and you will get zero money from it.
You were a likely Top-10 pick in this summer’s NBA Draft, again promising you millions of dollars whether you’re a superstar or a bust who blows out his knee in Game 1.
Instead, you just signed yourself up for roughly 30 more games of NCAA basketball where you are playing for free, when the only thing you might get out of it is an injury that ruins your NBA chances. Leave. Get paid. There is no reason to be at Michigan State.
I know there will probably be zero NCAA athletes that read this, but on the off-chance that you are one who might have a future in pro sports, leave college athletics as fast as you can. The only thing there for you is injuries while the NFL, NBA, NHL, and any other league is offering you tons money for the same thing.
I know which one I would take.