Should They Sit This One Out?

Should They Sit This One Out?

To sit or not to sit, that is the question for some of the  NCAA’s top athletes.

As recently as 2016 the thought of any athlete, much less the teams best and brightest missing a bowl game was sheerly inconceivable. But for many of the nations top programs, this is the world they currently live in.

Back in 2016, running backs Leonard Fourtunette and Christian McCaffrey were the first two stars to make the decision to choose health over a bowl victory and sit out of the extra game. At the time of the decision, they were lambasted in the media as selfish for choosing to hold themselves in higher regard than their teams.

Neither of the player’s teams were slated to play in the College Playoff yet they were still regarded as “divas” for their actions. Luckily for the pair, this had little effect on their draft stocks as both were taken in the top ten of the 2016 NFL Draft.

For prospective NFL talent every draft spot matters. The difference in pay between first-round and second-round players could add up to millions of dollars.

The question becomes why should these athletes sacrifice their long-term futures for a bit of short-term glory in a bowl game that the only prize for is a trophy? At the end of the day, these players are choosing to optimize their career earnings versus a small dose of adulation.

Photo by: Gerry Dincher

If we begin looking down on these athletes and their decisions to choose long-term financial benefits over the now we must also apply similar criticisms when everyday workers leave jobs for better opportunities.

We shouldn’t discourage these athletes for looking out for their safety as they play a dangerous sport with an average pro career of merely 2.66 years in the NFL. We should encourage these athletes to do what is best for their long-term futures, both physically as well as monetarily.

That isn’t to say that we should just flippantly accept athletes sitting out in big moments for self-adulation and preservation, but we must consider the repercussions these choices could have on colleges.

If a player chooses to sit out one game because to them it “doesn’t count” then where do we draw the line that decrees what is too much? Will we endorse players sitting out large stretches or even entire seasons?

These students receive their scholarships on the basis that they will play for and represent their schools on the gridiron. We must then ask ourselves would choosing to sit out of these games violate the agreements these players made when they signed their scholarships?

These athletes are who the next generation turns to look up to. Would these actions foster younger players to have this same mindset of entitlement? You idolize those who came before you, do we want these actions to be the representation of what the next generation works to become?

Players should not make this decision unless they are convinced there is nothing else they can do to improve their draft stocks, and are content with the way their college careers have played out.

As the trend continues to gain steam we will surely see more top-name athletes choose to abstain from bowl game festivities. The trend has continued this season as a record number of athletes have opted out of their postseason bowl games.

What we must ask ourselves when deciding how to feel about it is what is more important to us, one last productive college game, or a lifetime of NFL glory?

Let us know your thoughts on the matter on our social platforms at @knoxsports or in the comments below! ⬇️

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