Christian McCaffrey’s decision to skip Stanford’s upcoming bowl game has helped fuel plenty of controversy across the country.

McCaffrey, who finished second in the Heisman voting in 2015, was the latest superstar to announce that he won’t be playing in a bowl game this year. The 20-year-old announced his decision on Twitter and will now focus all of his attention on getting ready for the NFL Draft.

McCaffrey isn’t the only player to do so as LSU running back Leonard Fournette also announced that he would be skipping out on the bowl season when the Tigers take on Louisville in the Citrus Bowl.

Baylor’s Shock Linwood, the school’s all-time leading rusher, soon followed as he skipped his team’s bowl game against Boise State on Tuesday.

With the draft just over four months away, players like Fournette and McCaffrey don’t want to risk getting injured in a bowl game after seeing what happened last year to Notre Dame’s Jaylon Smith.

Smith, was a potential top-5 draft pick before suffering a significant knee injury in last year’s Fiesta Bowl against Ohio State. Smith ended up tearing his ACL and LCL on top of nerve damage and although he was still drafted (second round), he missed out on tens of millions of dollars.

Double Standard

Players have skipped bowl games before, but the number of stars skipping out this year has caused a lot of uproar.

But players aren’t the only one’s skipping bowls.

In the past month, 18 head coaches have been hired with many of them already having moved on to their new teams, despite a large number of bowl games that still need to be played.

That is why players like McCaffrey and Fournette shouldn’t be held to a different standard.

Calling those guys quitters because they are not finishing the season is a big mistake for fans. If you were put in their shoes with tens of millions of dollars on the line that would impact your friends and family for generations to come, wouldn’t you protect your investment? If they were playing for a national championship it would be different, but playing in a middle-tier bowl game isn’t worth running the risk of getting injured.

And while fans are outraged that star players will be missing games, why isn’t there a big outcry when coaches aren’t held to the same standard?

Does the name Pete Carroll ring a bell?

Carroll was USC’s head football coach from 2001-2009 and compiled an impressive 97-19 record. He took the program to seven BCS bowl games and won six of those contests.

Carroll then left to become the head coach of the Seattle Seahawks, just months before the NCAA hammered the Trojans with sanctions.

After four years of investigations, the NCAA hit the Trojans with a lack of institutional control due to players accepting improper gifts and benefits from agents during their time at USC.

Reggie Bush, ended up forfeiting his 2005 Heisman Trophy as a result of the scandal and the Trojans football team was given a two-year bowl ban, a loss of 30 scholarships over three years as well as vacating numerous victories.

And where was all the uproar about Carroll leaving?

The coach left USC high and dry as he walked away to go coach in the NFL.

This isn’t anything new as coaches have done this type of stuff for years now, and for whatever reason, athey are still able to go wherever they please without any consequences for their actions. It’s completely ridiculous and the NCAA needs to start holding coaches accountable.

And that is why college players who are skipping bowl games in order to prepare for the NFL draft, shouldn’t be held to a different standard. If coaches can just look out for themselves, why can’t players do the same?

Business Is Business

Why is it that businesses making business decisions are just fine, but when people make business decisions they are viewed as quitters, backstabbers, and selfish greedy pigs?

Look at the most recent case with the Buffalo Bills. The NFL franchise won’t be going to the playoffs this year and because of that, have decided not to play star quarterback Tyrod Taylor in a rivalry game against the Jets on Sunday.

The decision behind it is to eliminate the risk of Taylor getting injured. If the former Virginia Tech quarterback suffers a significant injury, it would not only be a big setback for the franchise, but would also cost them tens of million of dollars. So essentially, the Bills are protecting their investment and making a smart business decision. But where is all the fuss about that?

Exactly. Because there is none!

Star players such as McCaffrey and Fournette have already shown NFL scouts what they can do and don’t need to play in middle-tier bowl games — on top of running the risk of getting injured — in a game that won’t do much to help their stock come April.

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Justin Giles
Justin Giles is an award-winning sports reporter who has been writing about high school, college and professional sports for nearly a decade. Follow him on Twitter @JustinGiles_

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