How dare those “entitled” college football players choose to not play in a meaningless bowl game! How dare they think about future earnings instead of risking injury for a program that has benefited from their toil for multiple seasons! How dare they put themselves first!
Your damn right they should put themselves first.
There’s been significant chatter of late about college football players choosing to not play in their teams’ bowl games in order to protect themselves from injury. This self-preservation appears to rub some college football “experts” the wrong way; they want you and me to believe that there’s a sense of entitlement and arrogance being demonstrated by those players. Their argument goes like this: Putting “me” ahead of “we” is a reflection of selfishness, and those players should be out there on the field with their teammates one more time.
Let’s remember that one of the reasons 40 of college football’s 42 bowl games have been rendered irrelevant is because the NCAA, the major college football conferences and multiple sports television networks have bombarded us with the belief that we “need” to determine a true national champion. We’ve been told (and we’ve had no choice but to accept) the following: Absent a four-team playoff to figure out which team is really number one, the college football season is somehow incomplete.
At the same time, they want us to support more than three dozen bowl games that match teams that have no chance to be No. 1. Not only that, they expect the players to compete in these games in order to raise the possibility of a better game, one that people watching will continue to watch (so that we can be subjected to ever more advertisements). Hey, those TV people need those ratings to be as high as possible and top-tier players watching from the sidelines might affect that.
Who’s selfish now?
In addition, let us place front and center an even more bitter reality: College football players continue to paid the same amount of money — ZERO — they were paid 30, 40 and 50 years ago while their athletic departments rake in millions more dollars. And spare me the “but they are getting free tuition plus room and board” argument. Yes, they are, but what happens when they want to buy a pizza or take their girlfriend to a movie and they have no money in their pocket? The NCAA remains steadfast that players should receive no “benefits” beyond tuition and a bed.
Slave-labor like, no?
Think about this: Every FBS program plays 12 games per season. With the “reward” for a successful season as watered down as it is, roughly two out of every three teams will play a 13th game (that meaningless bowl game). But for a handful of programs that 13th game is their conference championship game. Win that and there’s a chance that a 14th and then perhaps a 15th game will be played so that a “legitimate” champion can be crowned.
The potential for as many as 15 games. An NFL team — loaded with professional players — that doesn’t make the playoffs will play 17.
This is wise? And as the NCAA “responds” to the public’s “demand” for more teams to make into the championship field, we could see in a few years college football teams playing 18 games. And just how much money do you think those players will make?
You got it: ZERO.
Entitled athletes? No. If any college football player with a reasonable chance of finally being paid to play the sport opts to sit out a bowl game that means zero — despite what the “experts” want you to believe — you should applaud him.