With millions of fans across the nation, there are always people to cheer on college football games, especially the bowl games that they worked all season to play in. This causes reason to question: why do so many college football players choose to opt out of NCAA football bowl games after putting in effort all season to qualify for them?
College football players opt out of bowl games due to NFL draft preparations, to avoid sustaining injuries, and because of the current reputation NCAA bowl games have. Many players focus attention elsewhere in the off-season. Bowl games don’t spark the amount of interest they used to.
As you can see, there are several reasons why a college football player may opt out of playing in the NCAA football bowl games. However, there is even more to the story than this simple answer. Read on to learn about how these reasons may dissuade even the most valuable of players to abandon their teams and opt out of bowl game participation.
NFL Draft Preparations
One of the largest and most legitimate reasons for opting out of college bowl games is attributed to the NFL draft.
College players spend their entire lives working and preparing to play in the NFL, making a season’s worth of efforts toward a bowl game dim in comparison.
These players may have already shown their incredible performance on the playing field during their regular season to be noticed by an NFL scouter and therefore have been offered an opportunity to play at a professional level.
Players that the NFL has drafted are much more likely to opt out of playing in a bowl game.
When offered and accepted, these players must now make sure they are in peak mental and physical condition.
No one plans to get injured, especially in college and professional sports, yet these accidents happen regularly.
Risking an injury in a bowl game does not seem appealing to players who have their sights set on greater opportunities in the future.
When involved in the NFL draft, many players consider it to be in their best interest to avoid participating in anything that has the potential to slander their opportunity of being selected.
Avoiding Sustaining Injuries
Some players may have injuries from earlier in the college season and opt out of bowl games so they can have additional time to recover.
Even without any severe injuries, many college football players opt out of bowl games to remain safe during the off-season.
This especially applies to those who plan to be eligible and participate in their next regular season.
There’s nothing worse than unnecessarily injuring oneself during the off-season and not being able to play during their senior year, especially if they’re a veteran college football player.
The Bowl Games’ Reputation
Over time, the prestige held by bowl games has diminished greatly. This is causing a decline in the number of players that choose to participate. There are several reasons for this change in status.
Bowl Games’ Previous Eligibility
The bowl games were first reserved for only the best teams in the nation, granting a sense of privilege and prestige when invited.
Today, bowl games are not nearly as exclusive, making the opportunity seem less valuable to many players, coaches, and teams.
In the 1900s, bowl game eligibility was reliant upon a player’s record of six wins and no losses in a regular season.
While this was difficult to attain, it kept the games as a goal to be worked toward and not one that was easily achieved.
This made participation much more desirable and something that players worked toward and looked forward to.
Today, the bowl game will accept any player/team that reaches above 500 and will be guaranteed a bowl game invitation.
This means that the bowl games now offer an additional opportunity to meet the six wins. While this is far more inclusive, inviting so many teams has brought down the level of play from an elite group and towards mediocracy.
Bowl Games’ Purpose
Bowl games used to represent only the best of the best and provided an opportunity to be viewed as such by NFL scouts, but these games remain today as only a shadow of their former glory.
With today’s bowl games, the purpose of participating in one is only for exhibitions. The games do not provide any significant purpose in anything other than as a spectator event.
No associations with major organizations, no effect on player and school rankings, and no reason to participate.
Many players and schools view bowl games today as nothing more than another paycheck rather than an opportunity to compete at a high level.
To some, it has as little allure as a simple backyard football game with some friends, a tragic result for something that began with such prestige and fame.
For those who are in their freshman, sophomore, and junior years of college, playing in the bowl game means they have to halt studying and focus time and attention on the game.
Many college football players postpone off-season football games to focus on their academics.
This should be true for many players, as they are required to keep up with grades to continue to be eligible for regular-season college football and/or if they believe that there are better opportunities in their respective majors outside of football.
Lack of Interest
Some college football players may no longer care enough to participate in bowl games.
The regular football season already takes many college football players out of their daily lives to focus on football during that time, however, when the regular season is over, most will want to relax and refresh.
Many players prefer to do other things like going on vacations, video games, weightlifting, reading, or spending time with family rather than competing in another game.
Overall, bowl games do not spark enough interest in many college football players and are being surpassed by better opportunities for the players.
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