Players ending their seasons early before the bowl game to become eligible for the NFL Draft has become a hot issue around media circles as of late.
Both Leonard Fournette and Christian McCaffery announced that they would not play in their team's bowl game to focus on draft preparations. While some have scrutinized the move, citing that the players are abandoning their teams when they need them the most. On the other side of the fence, some understand the move. Especially around player circles.
Michigan tight end Jake Butt, who decided to return for his senior season at U-M, is someone in the player's corner. He believes if coaches are able to come and go as they please during the firing and hiring season, why can't the players? If the opportunity is there to achieve a lifelong dream, you take it.
"Why aren't we talking about all these coaches that are leaving their bowl games early and leaving their players behind?" Butt said. "Coaches can leave, players can't transfer if their coaches leave. Coaches can come and go as they please when more money is on the table, a coach will most likely chase after that. Here we are, we're living off rent checks. A guy sees an opportunity for a lifelong dream of the NFL and they make a business decision, I can't judge anybody. I don't know what all went into that decision and I'm not going to pretend to know. I support those guys and best of luck to them."
Stopping the trend of coaches moving around while the season is still going is something that will be difficult to stop. If a player can be "penalized' by having to sit a year after transferring, should a coach face similar punishment for leaving a team as well? While Butt believes that shouldn't be the case, he subtly infers that there is some sort of double-standard when it comes to players and coaches.
"I don't think the answer is penalizing coaches," Butt said. "There's really no clear answer to anything. The way I always look at it is if Billy Bob walks down the street and goes into Chipotle, befriends the manager and gets a free Chipotle burrito and then one of us walks into Chipotle, we can't accept that burrito. The way the NCAA looks at it is, we have enough compliance meetings, the way that I understand it is they think that every friend we make is because we're a football player. They said we can't even go out to dinner with our girlfriend's parents, our girlfriend's parents can't take us out to dinner because; who knows? There's so much that goes into it, I don't know. There's no clear answer."