Skipping school: College football stars abandon their team on gameday

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Jake Purdy

BY ELIJAH SMITH (’18)

A relatively new phenomenon in college football today is future NFL draft picks leaving their teams before they play their bowl game. This season, Leonard Fournette, Louisiana State University’s running back decided that instead of playing in the final game of the season, he would sit out and get ready for the NFL draft. This season Fournette ran for 843 yards and 8 touchdowns. Many regard him as LSU’s best offensive player and he decided to not play with his team in the Citrus Bowl (his team won without him).  The same thing happened in California, Stanford Cardinal Christian McCaffrey decided to forego the final game to get ready to enter the NFL draft. He ran for over 1600 yards and 13 touchdowns. He decided he would sit out of the Sun Bowl (which his team won without him).

A few others sat out as well, but these are the two most well known. Many avid football fans are disappointed with these players, saying this is a selfish idea of not playing with your team in the final game of your college football career. All the hard work throughout the year to not play in the biggest game of the season. This looks like people to the outside that this is a selfish move by these players, and will negatively affect their draft stock.

From the player’s perspective, they do not want to ruin their season by getting hurt. Everyone knows how dangerous football is and how your whole career can be done in one play. For example, Bo Scarbrough, Alabama’s starting running back, injured his leg in the final game of the season. These players will look at that and see more proof as to why they should end their season’s early.

In my opinion, these players should play through their season. These kids have one chance in their lifetime to play college football, let alone their bowl games. I feel if they decided not to play, they would one day wish that they could go back and play football again. Play the game while you have the chance. The team dynamic is ruined through this idea. Leaving your teammates in the most important time of the season, it shows that their own careers are more important than the team’s goals. If I was an NFL coach I would see that as a bad sign and would be more likely to draft someone who finished their season. In my opinion, these stars should make the most of their abilities that they were blessed with, and the opportunity to play football and a very high level.