Players pulling out of bowl games

tims4wins

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Fournette and McCaffrey have both pulled out of their bowl games to focus on draft prep. With the CFP established, I think this is going to be more and more of a thing (not entirely different than NFL players pulling out of the Pro Bowl). Hopefully this will lead to a reduction in the number of bowl games.
 

amfox1

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Love it. The players' leverage is not to play. The colleges' leverage is the scholarship. Once the scholarship isn't needed or wanted by the player, why should the player play in a meaningless game?
 

InstaFace

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This is why last year's NLRB decision re: Northwestern was so tragic for the cause of getting these kids compensated for giving themselves brain damage in the name of making money for university administrators and sponsors. Not too many other vectors available to them.

Might as well ask while we're on the subject though - @Myt1 : was the decision-well-founded? Was the objection of "a class of a single university's players isn't sufficient for a bargaining unit" just a papering-over or is that a material thing that needs to be addressed, e.g. getting a substantial fraction of P5 conference players on board?
 

Infield Infidel

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It's just one game, I don't think it's a big deal if they play or not. It would royally suck to get injured in your last game. But one thing not mentioned so far is that most players likely to be drafted have some kind of insurance, either paid for by the school or borrowed against future earnings. Fournette has two $10m policies, one for catastrophic injury and one for loss of draft value. So he'd probably be okay financially either way. This is an especially big deal for running backs. USF took out a $2m policy for Marlon Mack who might be a third or fourth rounder.
 

PayrodsFirstClutchHit

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Fournette and McCaffrey have both pulled out of their bowl games to focus on draft prep. With the CFP established, I think this is going to be more and more of a thing (not entirely different than NFL players pulling out of the Pro Bowl). Hopefully this will lead to a reduction in the number of bowl games.
I have heard a few talking heads claim that the CFP has caused this problem by making the other bowl games meaningless.

Correct me if I am wrong, but haven't the majority of bowl games been meaningless since the explosion of minor bowl games over the past few decades? This is more likely from agents seeing some of their clients getting hurt during bowl season costing them serious pro dollars.
 

Vinho Tinto

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I don't know about the rest of you, but I fucking love every bowl game. I have no problems with there being 176 different bowl games. As long as each team has at least 6 wins, I am all in.
I love bowl season and try to watch 15-20 games, but I'm not losing sleep over 1st round picks skipping the games. It's not a slam dunk decision for the player. While they avoid injury risk, they may not want to end their college career with the idea that they quit on their teammates. It's also a decision that they will be grilled about during their combine interviews.

It's a very dangerous sport and there is no perfect decision for the player(s).
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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Setting aside the player compensation thing, how many coaches have had a great season with a second (or third) tier school, led them to a rare bowl appearance, then abandoned them before the game because some bigger school (or a pro team) hired him away? If coaches aren't obligated to finish the entire season with a school, why should the players be? No one seems to hold it against a coach when he quits on his players to take a better paying job somewhere else before the job is truly finished.
 

IdiotKicker

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Why would this be true? Seems to me that both of those guys would still be on the verge of multimillion dollar contracts, and appropriately focused on avoiding an injury in a meaningless game.
Because if you allow them to capitalize on earning potential prior, either through direct university compensation or the ability to profit off their likeness, you reduce the importance of those future cash flows and create a structure by which you can incentivize players to participate in bowl games (additional pay for bowl instead of just free headphones). Right now, if you are an NFL-caliber player, in particular a potential first-round pick, your college years offer significant opportunity for downside with limited chance of upside. Like, imagine what McCaffrey could have done in endorsement money this year. Or what Vince Young could have done in the early 2000s. Or Joey Bosa last year. If the NFL is the only way these players can make money, and if the gulf between what they could potentially earn in college and what they can actually earn once leaving college continues to widen, the only way to resolve that incentive structure is to allow players to get paid, which they should be anyways. Like, imagine if you were a creative writing major or jazz sax player and you were told that any profits from books or CDs had to go back to the school, but you could go for free. That's what we're doing with athletes. Should they all make millions? Nope. But they shouldn't make nothing either, and the skipping bowl games is a symptom of the problem.
 

Al Zarilla

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Fournette and McCaffrey have both pulled out of their bowl games to focus on draft prep. With the CFP established, I think this is going to be more and more of a thing (not entirely different than NFL players pulling out of the Pro Bowl). Hopefully this will lead to a reduction in the number of bowl games.
I'm still pissed about McCaffrey getting screwed in the Heisman voting last year, and I avoided the presentation show this year. However, without thinking too much about the reasons, I think the guys should find a way to compete in their school's bowl games.
 

snowmanny

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I'm still pissed about McCaffrey getting screwed in the Heisman voting last year, and I avoided the presentation show this year. However, without thinking too much about the reasons, I think the guys should find a way to compete in their school's bowl games.
Serious question, is it really devastating for the team if a player who is leaving anyway doesn't compete in a (non-playoff) bowl game? I thought the really big thing about being in a bowl was more practice time and game experience for underclassmen.
 

BillWarDamnEagleJay

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Because if you allow them to capitalize on earning potential prior, either through direct university compensation or the ability to profit off their likeness, you reduce the importance of those future cash flows and create a structure by which you can incentivize players to participate in bowl games (additional pay for bowl instead of just free headphones). Right now, if you are an NFL-caliber player, in particular a potential first-round pick, your college years offer significant opportunity for downside with limited chance of upside. Like, imagine what McCaffrey could have done in endorsement money this year. Or what Vince Young could have done in the early 2000s. Or Joey Bosa last year. If the NFL is the only way these players can make money, and if the gulf between what they could potentially earn in college and what they can actually earn once leaving college continues to widen, the only way to resolve that incentive structure is to allow players to get paid, which they should be anyways. Like, imagine if you were a creative writing major or jazz sax player and you were told that any profits from books or CDs had to go back to the school, but you could go for free. That's what we're doing with athletes. Should they all make millions? Nope. But they shouldn't make nothing either, and the skipping bowl games is a symptom of the problem.
So are you proposing paying the players throughout their careers or only for their bowl game? Regardless, it seems that whatever payment is made to the players is not going to sway someone who thinks he is looking at millions of $ in NFL money. How much do you think it would take to convince Fournette or McCaffrey to play in their bowl game?
 

BillWarDamnEagleJay

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Serious question, is it really devastating for the team if a player who is leaving anyway doesn't compete in a (non-playoff) bowl game? I thought the really big thing about being in a bowl was more practice time and game experience for underclassmen.
Potentially devastating for the networks & bowls; I imagine there's a measurable number of folks who would've tuned in to the Sun Bowl but now are going to find something else to do with those 3 & 1/2 hours.
 

IdiotKicker

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So are you proposing paying the players throughout their careers or only for their bowl game? Regardless, it seems that whatever payment is made to the players is not going to sway someone who thinks he is looking at millions of $ in NFL money. How much do you think it would take to convince Fournette or McCaffrey to play in their bowl game?
For their careers. I think if UnderArmour paid McCaffrey a couple million to play in a bowl game and paid for a $20M insurance policy, he'd be in that game in a second. The NCAA has built a situation where kids who might otherwise play for the love of the game have their opinions skewed because the dollars and cents dictate that it's not the smartest thing for them right now. Make the dollars available and I think you'll find a quick shift.
 

CantKeepmedown

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Have had some healthy debate over the past couple days with friends about this. I personally don't have a problem with it. The opinion from the other side is the it shows a lack of character and NFL personnel would look negatively on them. I don't buy it. I think it's a smart business decision and honestly, who's going to remember they didn't play in 5 years?
 

Marciano490

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For their careers. I think if UnderArmour paid McCaffrey a couple million to play in a bowl game and paid for a $20M insurance policy, he'd be in that game in a second. The NCAA has built a situation where kids who might otherwise play for the love of the game have their opinions skewed because the dollars and cents dictate that it's not the smartest thing for them right now. Make the dollars available and I think you'll find a quick shift.
The insurance angle is the one I was going to comment on. I'm not an expert in the area and I assume there are backdoors, but wouldn't even giving players a moderate salary or allowing others to take out policies on their behalf allow them to be insured for much higher amounts than they'd otherwise be able to?
 

yeahlunchbox

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Serious question, is it really devastating for the team if a player who is leaving anyway doesn't compete in a (non-playoff) bowl game? I thought the really big thing about being in a bowl was more practice time and game experience for underclassmen.
I'm with you, this feels like a good thing for their teams. Get the backups extra practice and game reps in.
 

The Needler

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Bowl games matter because they are a part of the season, just like the rest. Most teams play their last few games without any hope of a conference championship, and almost none of them have any hope of a national championship. But that doesn't mean they are just preparing for next year, when most of them again won't contend for a championship. Extra practice is something that coaches of barely .500 teams use to convince their fan bases that next year holds the promise of something better, in the hopes of keeping their jobs.

I think Stanford was eliminated from PAC-12 and National Championship contention prior to its last two games. So its bowl game isn't any less important than those games. It might be more important to the team seniors who aren't going to the NFL, than whether it beat Rice to end the regular season. And whether LSU or Stanford wins their bowl games will determine whether those teams finish in the Top 20 or 25 in the polls. If it's national title or irrelevant, I guess that doesn't matter, but those things are part of history. I don't know, I think it would be pretty sad if this became the norm for non-playoff bowls.
 

BigMike

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Allow college players to get paid throughout their careers and this problem goes away instantly.
Why? This makes no sense?

Fournette is likely looking at 20-25 million guaranteed if he doesn't play the game. If he plays the game and blows out a knee, he likely drops to the 5th round and gets 100k guaranteed.

Giving him 20k a season during his 3 year career, does nothing to change the math.
 

OCST

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So are you proposing paying the players throughout their careers or only for their bowl game? Regardless, it seems that whatever payment is made to the players is not going to sway someone who thinks he is looking at millions of $ in NFL money. How much do you think it would take to convince Fournette or McCaffrey to play in their bowl game?
The more pertinent question is, I think: what if these guys were paid for playing all year, with the proviso that a bowl game would be included in what they were being compensated for? I would be fine with McCaffrey being obliged to play in the Pete's Auto Body Bowl, as part of a deal where he got paid for games against San Jose State and Utah in September.
 

Gdiguy

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Bowl games matter because they are a part of the season, just like the rest. Most teams play their last few games without any hope of a conference championship, and almost none of them have any hope of a national championship. But that doesn't mean they are just preparing for next year, when most of them again won't contend for a championship. Extra practice is something that coaches of barely .500 teams use to convince their fan bases that next year holds the promise of something better, in the hopes of keeping their jobs.

I think Stanford was eliminated from PAC-12 and National Championship contention prior to its last two games. So its bowl game isn't any less important than those games. It might be more important to the team seniors who aren't going to the NFL, than whether it beat Rice to end the regular season. And whether LSU or Stanford wins their bowl games will determine whether those teams finish in the Top 20 or 25 in the polls. If it's national title or irrelevant, I guess that doesn't matter, but those things are part of history. I don't know, I think it would be pretty sad if this became the norm for non-playoff bowls.
I think the (to me, convincing) argument is that coaches have set the standard that it's totally fine to jump to a new job after the season is over, but before the bowl game. So if it's perfectly fine for a coach to leave before the bowl game to get a jump on a new position, why should a player risk his future career and his (first) paycheck for the same bowl game?
 

IdiotKicker

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Why? This makes no sense?

Fournette is likely looking at 20-25 million guaranteed if he doesn't play the game. If he plays the game and blows out a knee, he likely drops to the 5th round and gets 100k guaranteed.

Giving him 20k a season during his 3 year career, does nothing to change the math.
Why would I only give him 20k a season? Why would Nike not give him more? Why would outside boosters not contribute more to programs to increase budgets? Why would the money flowing to coaches and admin not shift? Small sports like field hockey or crew may have trouble paying players a lot, but those players wouldn't earn much in the pros anyways. Top CFB guys would be earning multiple millions between are forms of income.
 

Zososoxfan

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I fully support players skipping bowl games. They are subject to a system in NCAA Football that is entirely unfair to their labor and this is a relatively small, self-interested decision. A lot of the individual factors will sort this out anyway. For instance, guaranteed first round picks who don't think they can improve their draft position (e.g. Fournette, McCaffrey) will sit out. A guy who thinks he's underrated might benefit from more exposure against good competition will play. Most guys will continue to play because competition, support for their team, and the fact that they're not eligible for the draft. But that brings it back to the key issue - these players should be allowed to declare for the draft without playing college ball or be compensated more fairly for playing in college.
 

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Why? This makes no sense?

Fournette is likely looking at 20-25 million guaranteed if he doesn't play the game. If he plays the game and blows out a knee, he likely drops to the 5th round and gets 100k guaranteed.
If that happens he'd claim $10m from his loss-of-draft-value insurance. It's not $20m but it's much more than a 5th rounder would get. He would probably get more screwed if he fell the the second round because there may be more plausibility for the insurance company to deny the claim. How much do 2nd rounders get guaranteed these days?
 
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If that happens he'd claim $10m from his loss-of-draft-value insurance. It's not $20m but it's much more than a 5th rounder would get. He would probably get more screwed if he fell the the second round because there may be more plausibility for the insurance company to deny the claim. How much do 2nd rounders get guaranteed these days?
It was reported that Fournette has two separate 10 million dollar policies. One for loss of draft value, and the other for major injury.
 

loshjott

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What if LSU was hovering around the 4-5 slot and Fournette announced he would play in the playoff but not other bowls, does that impact the committee's decision?
 

ethangl

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If that happens he'd claim $10m from his loss-of-draft-value insurance. It's not $20m but it's much more than a 5th rounder would get. He would probably get more screwed if he fell the the second round because there may be more plausibility for the insurance company to deny the claim. How much do 2nd rounders get guaranteed these days?
It's one thing to have the policy, and another to actually collect. Jaylon Smith's $5M policy paid out $900K. Marqise Lee was insured and didn't get anything.
 

sgfeer

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Have no problems with kids sitting out a mid-lower tier Bowl game to protect against injury. My concern is the next progression, once your team hits 2 or 3 losses, do some now sit out the remaining games left in the regular season? It wouldn't hurt a guy like Fournette or McCaffery and their draft status.
 

SoxJox

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I don't know about the rest of you, but I fucking love every bowl game. I have no problems with there being 176 different bowl games. As long as each team has at least 6 wins, I am all in.
I guess I'm here too. But it is becoming almost routine now for even teams with losing records to go to bowl games (however, this is not without caveat: 5-7 teams that have a top-5 Academic Progress Rate (APR) score can be selected in the order of their APR.) Just last year Nebraska, Minnesota, and San Jose State took 5-7 records into their bowls). Interestingly, all 3 won: Minnesota beat Central Michigan 21-14 in the Quick Lane Bowl; San Jose State beat GA State 27-16 in the AutoNation Cure Bowl; and Nebraska beat UCLA 37-29 in the Foster Farms Bowl.

This article makes an interesting observation as bowl season approached last year:
There are currently 41 bowl games including the National Championship, meaning we need at least 80 teams. But this year, there will be at most 78 teams with records of .500 or better. And that's if all three 5-6 teams win their final games. (That isn't likely.)

This was going to happen eventually. There are 80 bowl slots and 128 FBS teams. That calls for 62.5 percent of teams to win half of their games. Even if we consider the fact that many teams pick up a win or two against FCS teams, it is difficult for 60 percent of teams to win 50 percent of their games.
In the end, I think if you asked the teams, they'd go even in a winless season, if for no other reason than for many/most players, it will be the last opportunity to play for the rest of their life. I won't begrudge them that, nor those who are moving on to the next level and decide to sit out to protect their interests. Very Machiavellian.
 

Infield Infidel

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It's one thing to have the policy, and another to actually collect. Jaylon Smith's $5M policy paid out $900K. Marqise Lee was insured and didn't get anything.
Smith got 900k, but he was also drafted and got $4.5m guaranteed. If he didn't get drafted or didn't play he'd have gotten more from the issurance.
 

HomeRunBaker

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Why would I only give him 20k a season? Why would Nike not give him more? Why would outside boosters not contribute more to programs to increase budgets? Why would the money flowing to coaches and admin not shift? Small sports like field hockey or crew may have trouble paying players a lot, but those players wouldn't earn much in the pros anyways. Top CFB guys would be earning multiple millions between are forms of income.
Why is everyone ignoring Title IX which is a federal law that wouldn't allow these types of actions to occur? The law has some loopholes however the proportionality requirement of funds is a roadblock that the NCAA can never get around imo.