In hindsight, the NCAA would have done Todd Gurley a favor by suspending him for the balance of the year.
Per multiple reports, the Georgia tailback tore an ACL in his return from a four-game suspension after signing autographs for money.
The injury, which requires major surgery and extensive rehab, underscores the reality that “an education” doesn’t represent nearly enough compensation for the contributions the players make and the risks they assume. It also provides further ammunition for the inevitable decision of an NFL-ready player less than three years removed from high school to sit out a year in lieu of exposing himself to serious injury without the ability to be paid by the school or to sell his name or likeness at a time when a significant market for both exist.
If/when a college football player turns his back on college football for a year, fans of the team will be livid. Many in the media will wag a finger. Scouts will whisper anonymously to reporters that the player must not “love football.”
But it will be a smart business decision. And it will be precisely the business decision than any of us should want our own sons to make if the upper reaches of the NFL draft were widely regarded as a certainty.