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Monday afternoon debate: College football stars sitting out bowl games

First it was Leonard Fournette, now Stanford’s star running back Christian McCaffrey has decided to sit out his team’s bowl game to focus on the NFL Draft. McCaffrey posted this statement on social media this morning:

As you might imagine, McCaffrey’s decision sparked quite the debate on social media. He could be a first round pick, but all it takes is one freak injury to dash NFL dreams, as we learned with South Carolina’s Marcus Lattimore and Notre Dame’s Jaylon Smith, who shredded his knee vs. Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl last season. Before you judge Fournette and McCaffrey too harshly, remember that Smith’s injury probably lost him in the neighborhood of $22 million.

NFL and college players have been weighing in on the topic all day on Twitter, including former Ohio State turned Dallas Cowboys star Ezekiel Elliott, who skipped his senior year but still argued for not skipping a bowl game:

Once someone pointed out that both Fournette and McCaffrey have battled injuries, Elliot changed his tune:

McCaffrey’s teammate Trenton Irwin tweeted that the team supports his decision:

Meanwhile, UK junior wide receiver Jeff Badet also seems to side with Fournette and McCaffrey while also taking a shot at the NCAA:

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Your turn to weigh in:


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Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.

39 Comments for Monday afternoon debate: College football stars sitting out bowl games



  1. secrick
    3:49 pm December 19, 2016 Permalink

    I really don’t understand it at all, they could have gotton hurt in the 12th game of the year, why not sit that out or 11th game.



    • BlueGrass
      4:47 pm December 19, 2016 Permalink

      Skipping the bowl games lets them get an early start on NFL combine prep, or at least that’s part of the argument. I agree with your reasoning.



  2. Mathlete
    3:52 pm December 19, 2016 Permalink

    There are only 3 games the rest of this CFB season that matter enough to risk your career for: The semifinals and final of the playoffs. If you’re not playing in those and you have a good shot at being a high first round pick, you’re taking your future into your own hands to play in a glorified exhibition game.



  3. kyle heavy
    3:58 pm December 19, 2016 Permalink

    To Mr. Badet:

    You are simply not playing for free. Most CFB players like you have a full ride to get an education that costs the average UK student nearly $25,000 a year. I am still paying on student loans, and I graduated in 2010.

    Did I mention we didn’t have lounges in a state-of-the-art $45M facility that includes video game systems, smart tvs, ping pong and pool tables, and full-scale commercial kitchens.

    You’re not playing for free.



    • Chad
      4:16 pm December 19, 2016 Permalink

      Hey Mr. Heavy how much revenue did your attendance create for the university? Did you risk serious injury to provide that revenue? Without that football team or basketball team, for that matter, you wouldn’t have had the luxuries that you did have. I will be glad when people stop trying to compare apples to sour grapes.



    • A_Blue_Wildcat
      4:26 pm December 19, 2016 Permalink

      Badet could leave immediately and UK wouldn’t lose a dime in revenue, players as individuals do not create any revenue for the universities, the college athletic system is what creates the revenue. You could replace all current division one athletes with walkons and the schools would still bring in millions, it’s the same reason why when the top basketball players were leaving to go pro straight out of highschool the ncaa didn’t see a noticeable drop in revenue at all. The average scholarship athlete receives over 100k worth of luxuries through scholarship, dorm, meals, along with many priceless incentives such as training, access to facilities, free publicity to pro scouts, and so on. Yeah, they don’t receive monetary payments, but hey they could go to canada or overseas if theyd prefer getting paid essentially less but in dollars instead luxuries. I love it when people say that college athletes work for free, it shows how little they understand about college athletics.



    • kyle heavy
      4:28 pm December 19, 2016 Permalink

      So paying 4 year’s worth of tuition does not create any revenue? I’m sure the university is in the red after $12,000/year in tuition from each undergrad.



    • Mitchell1964
      4:43 pm December 19, 2016 Permalink

      Badet’s comments show how much he does NOT appreciate his free education… This sure shows him to be ungrateful for the opportunity he has been given that thousands would appreciate more… smh.



    • cats42301
      9:01 pm December 19, 2016 Permalink

      If it weren’t against ncaa rules I’m sure we could take up a donation to pay all the wr’s for every pass that they DO NOT drop next season. Extra for perfectly thrown, sure td passes. Sorry but the “play for free”statement just irks me.



    • Chad
      9:45 am December 20, 2016 Permalink

      A_Blue_Wildcat I’m not sure your argument is 100% accurate. If that were true then every college basketball team would make the same money, when we all know that through the extra sales of more expensive tickets and merchandise from UK, Duke, N.Carolina, etc bring in extreme revenue for the schools. Before you say that it would happen no matter who suited up for the Cats, take a look at the sale of tickets/jerseys that sold during Gilispie years and Cal’s years.



  4. Booby Petrino
    4:01 pm December 19, 2016 Permalink

    Seems like a crappy thing to do to your teammates, but I’m not the one with the million dollar + decision.



  5. Cousins Fake Tooth
    4:08 pm December 19, 2016 Permalink

    No. You should not be able to pick and choose which games you want to play in.



    • Booby Petrino
      4:12 pm December 19, 2016 Permalink

      I think if you quit the team, even for 1 game, you should have to repay your scholarship. Which wouldn’t really affect this guy bc his fam has money. But still make him repay it for the school.



  6. ky1988
    4:20 pm December 19, 2016 Permalink

    I think if you quit on your team you should drop atleast one round in the NFL draft.



  7. Chad
    4:21 pm December 19, 2016 Permalink

    To all of these negative comments: I am willing to bet that you are one of the first ones to complain about having to show up to work during hazardous weather. “I can’t believe they made me come into to work and risk my life out on those icy roads” If you could legitimately put yourselves in these athlete’s shoes and are honest you would see their side of the argument. Besides the biggest thing any school says is that the best benefit from playing in a bowl is all the extra practice, that enables them to have a head start towards that following year. Therefore, if someone is good enough to go pro, why wouldn’t you want your players that you will be relying on next year to get quality PT?



    • cats42301
      9:13 pm December 19, 2016 Permalink

      Putting a life in danger on icy roads= a torn ACL? I think your analogy needs some tweaking



    • Chad
      9:49 am December 20, 2016 Permalink

      I little extreme I know, but they equate a football collision to a car wreck. This has been expressed in the medical field. So with numerous collisions within a game; I would say that paralysis or torn ACL’s which could cost you millions of dollars pretty life altering. I wasn’t comparing (death, Hello drama Queen) with a torn ACL. I was comparing getting hurt or damage to your property.



  8. Booby Petrino
    4:24 pm December 19, 2016 Permalink

    Poor Jaylon Smith, how will he feed his kids on that million dollar insurance payout and the 6 mil contract he signed with the Cowboys???



  9. secrick
    4:43 pm December 19, 2016 Permalink

    Play in the game or pay back the school . I agree with Bobby on this one.



  10. Catsby80
    4:50 pm December 19, 2016 Permalink

    Count me in the camp of having the option to sit out the bowl game. The bowl game(s), with the exception of the playoffs, mean absolutely nothing. They are games that are not regularly scheduled when the schedule comes out before the season and, as another poster pointed out, are essentially glorified exhibitions. Also, bowl games are more important for the younger players anyways. If you have a legit shot to be a high draft pick and make money, then why shouldn’t you have to opportunity to not put it all at risk? It would be like hitting a 50 million dollar lottery ticket and then losing it in the trash.. Kids go to college to figure out what they want to do in life. Some become doctors, lawyers, accountants etc. Some become professional athletes and their future employer is willing to give them a job at the age of 20 years old and pay them millions…

    Bottom line, if your teammates are okay with the decision, then that is all that matters. You play for your teammates – your brothers on the filed/court and if they’re good with, then I’m good with it.



  11. BlueGrass
    4:51 pm December 19, 2016 Permalink

    A lot of you guys would make great dictators. You must all hate personal freedom.

    The kid got Stanford to the bowl game they’re in…they are cashing that check regardless of if he plays or not. He has more than EARNED that scholarship he’s on.



    • secrick
      4:57 pm December 19, 2016 Permalink

      So your ok if Monk says he is sitting out the NTL CHMP. game. He got them to the game and now wants to work on the NBA.



    • 2Dogs
      5:36 pm December 19, 2016 Permalink

      Something tells me if Stanford was playing in the National Championship then McCaffrey would play. But it isn’t. It’s the Sun Bowl and he’s making a decision based on his future that his teammates appear to support.



    • JMFATZ47
      6:15 pm December 19, 2016 Permalink

      If UK was playing in the NIT then Monk can sit if he wants…….comparable to Stanford playing in the magnificent Sun Bowl…..



    • cats42301
      9:09 pm December 19, 2016 Permalink

      Kind of like Pitino holding out Derek Anderson in 97 NC didn’t want to get him re-injured and ruin his draft status, possibly costing UK the championship



  12. BobTheBuilder
    4:53 pm December 19, 2016 Permalink

    This “news” is just to cover up the fact that Oklahoma’s running back broke a girls face in four places and wasn’t punished, at all.



    • Catsby80
      4:59 pm December 19, 2016 Permalink

      He was punished, though. That happened in 2014 and he was suspended for the entire season. I’m not saying what he did was right, but don’t act like he didn’t get some sort of punishment. Also, he has an assault charge on his record.



  13. za
    4:57 pm December 19, 2016 Permalink

    Well if they’re injured even in the slightest I guess that’s one thing. But, they’re quitting on their team regardless of how you want to spin it. May not matter to the guy about to get drafted, but it probably matters to some of their teammates.



  14. J-Dub421
    5:39 pm December 19, 2016 Permalink

    I can see both sides of this argument. The players are taking on the possibility of a career ending injury, so I get trying to protect one’s future earning potential. They do bring in lots of money to the schools collectively, but they also get free tuition, room and board, medical treatment, top notch coaching staffs to develop them, and at big schools like UK luxury travel, etc. There are a lot of perks. Most college kids aren’t flying all over the country in private jets and staying in luxury hotels, etc. either.

    Can fans who paid a bunch of money to get tickets to the Sun Bowl get a refund on their tickets now that McCaffery isn’t playing?

    For the sake of argument though, where does it end? The 76’ers have no chance of making the playoffs this year, and Embiid and Okafor have both been injury prone. Can they both just decide that they aren’t going to play for the rest of the season? Or what about Malik Monk? He’s probably locked up a top 10 spot in the next NBA draft. Can he just shut it down for the rest of the season? Would we all be okay with that?

    I am just playing devil’s advocate here. This is a complicated issue, and I don’t have any easy answers.



    • Catsby80
      5:49 pm December 19, 2016 Permalink

      J-Dub… Here’s my counter. As it relates to Embind and OKafor, they are under contract and are being paid, thus if they don’t play they can be fired.. As for Monk, he is still competing for a national championship and can increase his stock. McCaffrey has nothing left to play for/prove in college. The biggest problem is that college athletics is no longer about amateurism, it’s a full on money making business.



  15. Bluebloodtoo
    5:47 pm December 19, 2016 Permalink

    I think it’s their decision and none of my business.

    But to answer your question, it’s a complicated decision. When your future is at stake, it make sense to take a calculated approach. It’s certainly a risk, but how much of a risk? What are the odds of an injury in any given game? How much risk is appropriate when 22 Million dollars are at stake? How much risk is appropriate when your team depends on you to do your part in the game? There isn’t enough data in your post to answer any of those empirical questions, and my opinion isn’t relevant for the non-empirical questions. I guess I have to fall back on my original statement.



  16. runningunnin.454
    6:53 pm December 19, 2016 Permalink

    Tough question….I can’t answer it; so, I would have to support the athlete that has to make that decision.
    That said, sure, you can be injured in a basketball game; but, injury playing football is much more likely.
    Have to say it’s a shame….you want to believe in the “old college spirit”; and I will miss watching Fournette and MCaffrey…..they are both really good.
    I usually vote in all the KSR polls; but I can’t in this one



    • runningunnin.454
      7:23 pm December 19, 2016 Permalink

      I thought about it some more; quite a dilemma for these guys. If their teams gets beat I’m sure they will feel terrible; on the other hand, they have the chance to grab the gold ring; and, an injury could destroy their chance to provide for their families.
      So, I’m going to vote to support the players choice; I have to know how this one falls.



    • runningunnin.454
      7:30 pm December 19, 2016 Permalink

      35-34-31, pretty close.
      You know, I really don’t remember this coming up before.



  17. ukjaybrat
    6:56 pm December 19, 2016 Permalink

    The NCAA needs to make some decisions soon about allowing players to insure themselves against future earnings. That is the real problem and solution here. Not whether a player is quitting on his team. Yes he bonded with a new family for 3-4 years but when it comes down to it, guy has to look after himself and his real family by taking care of himself and earning a paycheck.



  18. cats42301
    9:05 pm December 19, 2016 Permalink

    So then I guess if a team isn’t going bowling a player should just quit whenever his team gets that 7th loss making them ineligible for a bowl. If they are 0-7 then cool he gets 5 games to prepare for the draft.



  19. memphis wildcat
    9:29 pm December 19, 2016 Permalink

    Coaches quit on their players to take better jobs after the 12th game and dont coach the bowl game all the time…players only following the example being set by the coaches.j



  20. GroundControlToNumber9
    6:29 am December 20, 2016 Permalink

    Badet has lost his damn mind… or could better be described as not having one to lose yet.

    With his logic, by continuing to play he’s a ___________ allowing ‘the system’ to ‘use’ him for its ‘profit.’ Meanwhile he enjoys unforgettable moments with a team of peers traveling the US preparing in multi-million dollar facilities in honing a craft where if he could just learn to catch the ball he get a chance to earn millions of his own.

    Try explaining the value of an education to someone who doesn’t have one.

    Go sleep through more classes Jeff. Then afterward work on filling in the blank above.



  21. meeksfor3
    8:23 am December 20, 2016 Permalink

    Sorry but I don’t get the whole “Playing for free” argument. Go get a 4 year degree without any scholarships or grants and see if the Bachelors Degree is free Jeff. I have 3 daughters that will have to be put through college and I can guarantee it will not be free. Not trying to single out Badet, because a lot of athletes are making that statement but a 4 year degree with included meals, books, room and board is pretty costly.