Adam Schefter: 'Teams don't hold it against the players. That's moronic'

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Monday May 01, 2017


A little controversy in the winter has proven to be overblown. Could it change the future of bowl games?

Christian McCaffrey chose to skip the Sun Bowl with Stanford, and Leonard Fournette didn’t play in the Cirtrus Bowl, on the advice of of Ed Orgeron. Both were banged up, but it sparked a debate as to if they were quitting on their teams, and if it would affect their draft stock.

Well, Fournette went No. 4 to the Jaguars, and McCaffrey went No. 8 to the Panthers, so it clearly did not. On the other end, Michigan tight end Jake Butt, who some thought could be a first-round pick, fell to the fifth round after tearing his ACL in the Orange Bowl. Butt says he has no regrets, and he will recoup some with an insurance policy, but the NFL sent a message — as least as far as the top-quality guys.

Asked about top players skipping bowl games, Adam Schefter said on Sportscenter: “Teams don’t hold it against the players. If they do, that’s moronic.”

So will it start to happen more? Only a handful of players are first-round caliber, but now we know what can happen for them. 

“Unless you’re playing for a national championship or the final four, I think you’re going to see more and more top prospects forgo their final game of the year,” Schefter said. “If they made it through that far, this becomes a business decision. The school has prospered and profited from these young players, and it’s time for the young players to look out for themselves. If it means missing the Chick-Fil-A Bowl or whatever it may be, that’s the way it goes.

To see Jake Butt go down, to see Jaylon Smith last year, who some people regarded as the best player in the draft, fall to the second round, it’s not right, it’s not fair. The players have begun to think of themselves more in the future. I think all these advisers this year who saw Fournette and McCaffrey pull out saw the results.

“Fournette goes four, no issues. McCaffrey goes eight, no issues. Jake Butt falls to the top pick of the fifth round. In this league, it’s really about the second contract, but still, there’s an opportunity lost. … There’s a lot of money that is potentially left on the table. If he makes it back, he’ll be fine, but there will be players that don’t take that risk in the future, and that’s, in my mind, the right thing to do.”

What does this mean for the future of bowl games? Bowls have expanded so much that 5-7 teams are going to bowls, and plenty of teams don’t have first-round players, but Rick Neuheisel likes the idea of letting redshirted players play in the bowl game without losing a year of eligibility.

They practice all year, and the bowl is an exhibition, so why not?

“I think what has to happen is the college rules committee has to allow guys to play in that game without spending their redshirt year,” Neuheisel said on SiriusXM College Sports Nation.

“If you just said kids can play up to three years and not waste their year, if you have a Christian McCaffrey and you have a redshirt tailback practicing all year, he can play in that game and not lose his year. It keeps the bowls going, keeps them interesting, you get to see guys play, not going to the bottom of the barrel in your roster. Because this genie is out of the bottle.”

Chris Vannini is in his fifth year with CoachingSearch.com and serves as its managing editor. He has previously written for the Detroit Free Press, The Oakland Press, The State News, MLive.com, 247Sports and SB Nation.  A graduate of Michigan State University, Chris now lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  Be sure to follow @coachingsearch and send emails to chris@coachingsearch.com.