It is finally happening. After years and years of ‘this’, it is finally happening. And it is about time.
So what do I mean by ‘this’?
Well, for decades the NCAA have let (or coerced, depending on your point of view) college football teams play an extra game after the season is over to reward teams that have had a good season. These games are called Bowls. There are many Bowls, such as the Gator Bowl, the Fiesta Bowl, the Sun Bowl, the Weedeater Bowl, and so on. These games in themselves really have no meaning beyond pride and the prestige of some of the older Bowls. They really are just exhibition games meant to gather more money from the television public.
Over the years, more Bowls have formed to capitalize on this money opportunity. This increase in the amount of Bowl games have diluted the idea of earning a Bowl spot. In fact, about 60 teams make a Bowl game. There are about 120 teams overall.
What is worse is that the very networks that are covering these games criticize them constantly. Networks like ESPN and NBC Sports state over and over that there are too many Bowls, no one cares about the lesser games, and even question the mere existence of these Bowls. Since the BCS system in 1997 and now the Bowl Playoffs started in 2014, no one really pays attention to the once previous prestigious Bowls such as the Rose, Orange, and Cotton. The only thing that matters now are the games that have championship implications.
So finally we have two elite players bowing out of playing these deemed useless Bowl games to prep for the NFL draft.
Good. The way I see it is that these players are earning zero money from these games, why play another? I hear commentators cast shame on these players who opted out yet they are the same people who said they consider these games a waste of time.
College players have little power in the NCAA structure. They are not allowed to transfer without penalty yet coaches can dance off into the arms of any other school with millions awaiting. Players have to go to class, and if not they are judged as bad people, when in fact not one college kid ever wants to go to class. Oh yea, they don’t get paid either yet ESPN signed a multi-BILLION dollar deal for the rights to the playoff series. The only power the players have is to….well….not play. There really should be more of this, especially from the better players because they are the ones who have the most to lose (via injury) and a voice that will ring the loudest.
Maybe if this sitting out Bowl games becomes a thing, and I think it will, there will be more attention paid to the huge hypocrisy and unfairness the NCAA levies on these players. I would love to see all NFL caliber players sit out these deemed ‘worthless’ Bowl games to challenge the way we all take their free labor for granted. And hopefully someday one of these cowardly coaches will stand up in the best interest of their players and not the best interest for themselves.