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NFLPA president: Make a business decision on bowl games

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Leonard Fournette and Christian McCaffrey skipped their bowl games and were Top 10 picks. Jake Butt got hurt in his bowl game and dropped to the fifth round. Those three players may change the way future draft prospects look at the decision to play in bowl games.

Bengals tackle and NFL Players Association president Eric Winston says that decision should be a business decision. Winston told Albert Breer of that players should feel free to sit out bowl games to stay healthy, and if they want to play they should demand that the school provide them with insurance policies that will pay off if they get hurt and fall in the draft.

“Whatever it might be, there’s not a right and wrong answer,” Winston says. “It’s a business decision that needs to be made, and shouldn’t be made because, ‘Oh, they paid for my school.’ It’s gotta be made because it’s the right business decision for you going forward. And let’s face it, there’s another side to this. The schools could be giving out insurance policies to all these guys much bigger than they are right now. Any guy that’s draft eligible, especially first, second, third round, why would you ever play a bowl game without your school buying you a couple million dollars of insurance on loss of value?”

Winston also said he respects McCaffrey’s decision to tell teams that he wouldn’t work out for them individually. Players have more power to determine for themselves how the draft process is going to work for them than they may realize, and the players’ union wants them to know that.

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36 Responses to “NFLPA president: Make a business decision on bowl games”
  1. namingrights says: May 1, 2017 5:45 AM

    I think the “Bowl ” you are in is also relevant. If its the playoffs I think you should play. If its the “Better call Saul Bowl” why risk it. If it is a semi relevant Bowl then its a business decision and some players that are potential 4th-7th round guys should try and improve their stock and the 1st-3rd should probably not.

  2. jimnaizeeum says: May 1, 2017 5:48 AM

    Just pay back your scholarship $$ if you don’t want to play in your teams bowl game.

  3. ovaw8lova says: May 1, 2017 6:15 AM

    The bowl is not tied to a player’s scholarship. I like what I am seeing from the players on this. I am one that feel players are paid with education. However, scholarships are an annual benefit and cannot or shall I say should not be tied to bowl participation.

  4. ambrosiniwine says: May 1, 2017 6:20 AM

    Pay back absolutely nothing. The scholarship is covering academics because the kid is good at athletics. If the student is meeting academic standards then there is no need to repay anything for skipping a bowl game, especially when said bowl game is usually not coinciding with the academic calendar…schools are on winter break.

    Do these guys pay back anything when they forego their senior seasons to enter the NFL Draft?

  5. 6thsense10 says: May 1, 2017 6:21 AM

    jimnaizeeum says:
    May 1, 2017 5:48 AM
    Just pay back your scholarship $$ if you don’t want to play in your teams bowl game.
    Just take it out the millions in TV money, jersey sales, and endorsement money that the schools pimped off the players. Star players make schools infinitely more money than what they’re paid in scholarship. In fact…just pay me every single penny I brought into the university then I’ll pay back your tuition money.

  6. mrbiggstuff says: May 1, 2017 6:42 AM

    This is 100% correct.

    You’ve spent three or four years displaying your talent. To go out and play in some meaningless bowl game just so the school can make more money is useless.

    Jake Butt lost millions of dollars in a game no one’s talking about now. Fournette and McCaffery’s stock actually went up since the end of the season. NFL teams don’t care. They want talent that’ll help them win games, and some glorified exhibition won’t make a difference to them.

  7. GenXJ says: May 1, 2017 6:46 AM

    There’s no “i” in team.

  8. GenXJ says: May 1, 2017 6:49 AM

    There’s an “i” in selfish & business, i guess.

  9. moodyponders says: May 1, 2017 7:06 AM

    Football players love to play football. Business decisions happen in an office, not on the gridiron. If I’m a coach, I want guys who want to play football, not guys who decide to sit out the big game because they are afraid of getting hurt. Woosies, or something that rhymes with that have no business in the game. Go back home to mama.

  10. bobleblah says: May 1, 2017 7:31 AM

    Can’t spell “winner” without an “I”

    As enjoyable as the draft is, it is restraint of trade, and should be illegal. Players shouldn’t have to wait until after their rookie contract to become a highly-paid free agent.

    It will be destroyed when the top college players opt to skip the draft and go straight to free agency – THEN sue the league for collusion if they aren’t offered market value.

    Its a business decision…play for who you want, and force them to pay what you deserve.

  11. tv426 says: May 1, 2017 7:42 AM

    Fournette didn’t skip the bowl game. His coach made that decision. How in this day and age can’t media get that correct?

  12. concord148 says: May 1, 2017 7:44 AM

    GenXJ says: There’s no “i” in team. He’s right. But there is a — m-e in team.

  13. jgedgar70 says: May 1, 2017 8:08 AM

    1) Cut back on bowl games. We have 5-7 teams making bowl games. Cut back to 25 of them.

    2) Kill the stupid rule that draftees whose school is on quarters can’t participate in mini-camp. NFL is fine with them not going to class for 3-4 years while the players are building their football skills, but once they can’t play football at college anymore, you suddenly want them going to class and not assimilating into their new pro teams? Stop it.

    3) Get insurance and play the bowl game. Jaylen Smith and Jake Butt injuries are not the rule, they are the exception.

    4) Please stop the “but what if he gets hurt” crap. When you worry about getting hurt, you will get hurt.

  14. bhampax says: May 1, 2017 8:19 AM

    I like the point of having the schools fund a “right-sized” insurance policy. With this in the athlete’s hand, it is no longer a business decision problem (save the extremely small chance of a catastrophic career-ending injury). I seem to recall that Butt’s insurance policy cost 25k.

    That is a small price to pay to make sure your star 1st-round-talent-athlete is covered on their risk while they play in a bowl game that earns you much, much more than that.

  15. The Analytical Kid says: May 1, 2017 8:23 AM

    There’s an “i” in selfish & business, i guess.


    There’s also an “i” in wise.

  16. yankeemofo says: May 1, 2017 8:30 AM

    “Jake Butt got hurt”


  17. wib22 says: May 1, 2017 8:32 AM

    Sounds like the patriot way: deny deny deny

  18. lyfordjr says: May 1, 2017 8:55 AM

    “Players have more power to determine for themselves how the draft process is going to work for them than they may realize”

    SOME players have more power…SOME players have to acquiesce to every demand to have any chance of getting drafted…

  19. exinsidetrader says: May 1, 2017 9:11 AM

    Of course they should do what is best for them. They sacrificed for the schools for a year, two or more to be in the position to be drafted.

    What is the point of risking injury and multimillion dollar returns at that point just for another stupid bowl?

  20. edukator4 says: May 1, 2017 9:19 AM

    after the 2nd loss a college team suffers, anyone who has already built a strong resume (i.e. fournette, clowney etc) will begin to make business decisions in the future

  21. bchap17 says: May 1, 2017 10:08 AM

    GenXJ says:
    May 1, 2017 6:46 AM
    There’s no “i” in team.
    “There ain’t no “we” either.” – Leon

  22. guyjuneguyjune says: May 1, 2017 10:13 AM

    It’s all about the money. These “students” of colleges and universities who are there only to play football, graduate only about 13%. The NFL should change their rules and 4 year, not 3 year “students” should be eligible. Some of these so-called “college students” can’t even say or write a simple English sentence. Sad.

  23. nflscouting says: May 1, 2017 10:30 AM

    Hey NFLPA, it’s none of your darn business. Unless you want to start paying them or insuring them, it is between player and his coaches on what they want to do. If colleges are adamant about them playing the FULL season, they should invoke a clause in the scholarship that says if you refuse to play, all college benefits cease and “good luck buddy.” You do not have any right to inject in their decisions and any attempt by you will certainly be challenged in a court of law. They are NOT your “guys” until they put ink on the contract, just remember that.

  24. KIR says: May 1, 2017 10:51 AM

    Education? Please stop. How can you get a college education if you can barely read? Sorry, but for many of these athletes the promise of a college education is boarderline fraud!

  25. zerotrophiessince1961 says: May 1, 2017 11:09 AM

    Yet another example of how college football is broken. Amateurism, my foot. EVERYONE around CFB makes money, except the KIDS working on the field. You know, the ones putting their bodies on the line for a DREAM.

    Add in that college should be about academics and you’ve got a real problem on your hands. I got my PhD from a big-time college football factory. Every single morning at 8am I’d see the football players enter the fine arts building for guitar class or group piano. So they could remain academically eligible. That is NOT college!

    Do you notice that there are not these types of problems in college baseball? Despite baseball being the 3rd largest money grossing sport in the USA? Why do you suppose that is? Because there is a REAL semi-professional league in the farm system! Student-athletes who play college baseball are STUDENTS first! If they don’t want to be students, they start in A league ball after high school.

    I haven’t watched a down of CFB (or College Basketball) in years, and I won’t do so until the exploitation of that broken system is fixed.

  26. harrisonhits2 says: May 1, 2017 11:11 AM

    Quite a few people are referring to people as selfish but consider these things.

    1. Most of these kids have only one way to make a good living in life, and that’s the NFL. If they get hurt in what is effectively a meaningless bowl game and lose millions, they are foolish to do so. I doubt very much many of you would want to lose the NFL opportunity for being hurt in such a game.

    2. Sometime soon we will see all the stars in a bowl game refuse to play unless the bitter old men of the NCAA cough up enough to pay for insurance policies and/or enough cash to make it worth the risk. These people have a multi-billion dollar business and can easily afford to do so.

  27. FinFan68 says: May 1, 2017 11:14 AM

    they should demand that the school provide them with insurance policies that will pay off if they get hurt and fall in the draft.
    How does one “prove” they would have been drafted in a particular slot or even round? Every player seems to think they are good. Every year there are a bunch of players that come out early because they think they will be a top 3 rounds pick…and then are not drafted at all through 7 rounds. Good luck getting an insurance company to pay out on subjective beliefs on where little Johnny should have been drafted.

  28. jamaltimore says: May 1, 2017 11:36 AM

    People need to realize that players today get free ride and semester stipends. To be clear NCAA players DO get paid from Football to girls softball. in the meantime most other kids go into 100K debt to pay for their college experience.

    I don’t care who plays in bowl games but tired of hearing how unfair the college system is. If these guys are so good skip college, work out on your own, create your own you tube channel and market youself to the NFL. seems scouts are most impressed with what you can do in t- shirts and shorts anyway.

  29. breadmeatcheese says: May 1, 2017 12:09 PM

    winston’s comment is not going to go over well with ex-militia members who think football is akin to warfare in vietnam, korea, kandahar, or kerblockistan, etc.

  30. jimmyjohns01 says: May 1, 2017 12:15 PM

    Skipping bowl games is like skipping your last week of classes becaues you know you’ll graduate anyway.

  31. I prefer my Crush to be Orange says: May 1, 2017 12:22 PM

    They should just get it over with and start a minor league so the players can get paid fairly and they can rake in more money instead of expanding to London.

  32. jvotoronto says: May 1, 2017 12:30 PM

    Injuries can happen in any game. There’s only so much you can do. Outside your sophmore year, why go back to college if you’re afraid of injury? the Washington CB Jones got hurt in the combine. If you’re going to sit out of bowl games, why not sit out the last regular game or the game before that or your jr. season? If you’re going to argue that the scouts have enough tape on you, they likely had it from your freshman and sophmore year. Fournette and McCaffery had enough buzz before year started and would have been first rounders. Some would argue this year, they both didn’t look as good as the prior year. think if you’re going to commit, commit all the way. Would it change your thinking if Butt got hurt in a regular season vs. the bowl game?

  33. jag1959 says: May 1, 2017 12:47 PM

    GenXJ says:
    May 1, 2017 6:49 AM
    There’s an “i” in selfish & business, i guess.

    Stop kidding yourself it’s a business to everyone but the fans.

  34. phinatic29 says: May 1, 2017 2:31 PM

    Eric Winston has the player’s best interests in mind when he speaks, unlike snake oil salesman DeMaurice Smith who negotiated the worst CBA of any of the major sports.

  35. sariff420 says: May 1, 2017 2:32 PM

    By this logic, why not just skip the entire season if you’re only concerned for your well being. Pro rate the scholarships, making it so they pay back the proportionate amount if they skip a bowl game.

  36. cafetero1075 says: May 1, 2017 2:35 PM

    I don’t blame the guys for skipping the game. Unless it’s national title game, who really cares.

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