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The Changing Times of Bigtime College Athletics

When the college football geniuses came up with this four-team tournament idea, it was only a matter of time until the regular bowl games became jokes. The snickering, however, began much quicker than expected.

Already, top players are bowing out of their worthless exhibition matches in order to avoid injury and prepare for the upcoming NFL Draft. Among them, West Virginia quarterback Will Grier. With no Grier, the Mountaineers had no chance against Syracuse. Imagine spending money to fly to the historically prestigious (not) Camping World Bowl to watch a backup signal caller pilot your 8-3 squad.

Most expect this trend to not only continue, but to become very popular. In fact, I’m wondering if this trend will ever spill over to college basketball. I’m also wondering if it will ever happen in the middle of a season. If so, a school like Kansas could be greatly affected.

Imagine a top prospect, like a Josh Jackson or an Andrew Wiggins, landing on campus. He plays 10 games and gets off to a great start. He’s a top five pick in every mock draft as advertisers, like Adidas and Nike, drool over his talents. Imagine this player heading to Coach Self in mid-December with the announcement, “I’m taking the rest of the year off to avoid injury and prepare for the draft.”

Two days later, the player becomes an instant millionaire by signing a shoe deal and then adds millions more in June’s draft. If I’m that kid, that sounds like a good deal to me. Certainly a whole lot better than making other people rich while attending a very (not) important western civ class and risking serious injury.

Right now, Duke likely has the top two picks in next summer’s draft. Both are risking tens of millions of dollars to play for the Blue Devils. Imagine if Zion Williamson and RJ Barrett decided to forego the rest of their freshman seasons before ACC play began. Duke goes from the number one seed in the NCAA Tournament to the number one seed in the NIT. The new arrangement with the G League may eliminate this situation altogether. But for now, it’s certainly something to consider and could one day be a factor for a blue blood of college basketball like, say, Kansas.

After years of being told to respect authority, the really talented college kids are slowly learning they have all the power when it comes to college athletics – and that’s bad news for the NCAA and the organizers of the Camping World Bowl.

Filed Under Football | Basketball | College