On Jan. 7, 2016, Notre Dame linebacker Jaylon Smith sustained a serious knee injury – a torn ACL and a torn LCL – against Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl. Smith was rightly considered one of the top five prospects in the upcoming draft (I had ranked him as the best draft-eligible player, regardless of position), but the injury scuttled Smith’s draft supply. and he was selected by the Dallas Cowboys with the 34th overall pick in the 2017 Draft. There is no doubt that had he remained healthy, Smith would have been a much higher pick and won a lot more. money, and his decision to play with his teammates and for his coaches – the “right way,” as paid pundits continue to tell us – cost him millions of dollars.
On January 1, 2022, Ole quarterback Miss Matt Corral suffered a leg injury when he was sacked against Baylor in the Allstate Sugar Bowl. Corral, a consensus prospect in the first round of the 2022 draft, was unable to put any weight on his right foot after the injury, and he had to be taken off the pitch.
Corral had entered the game with the best of intentions, and he didn’t care if his draft stock could be affected.
#OleMiss QB Matt Corral is an expected first-round pick (No.8 overall for WFT according to ESPN)
Will he retire from the Sugar Bowl?
“I wouldn’t be in this position without them. I won’t just leave. I know what’s on the other side, but I’m going to give these guys everything I’ve got.”
– Jon Sokoloff (@JonSokoloff) December 13, 2021
Unfortunately, the best intentions don’t always produce the best results. We don’t know at this point what Corral’s long-term health will be. We don’t know what his medical tests will show the screening combine in early March. And we don’t know what that will do for his draft stock, his earning potential, and his ability to thrive in an NFL environment.
What we do know is that we had the standard car wash that we usually get when these things happen, courtesy of ESPN’s Joe Tessitore, who called the game.
“I know there have been a lot of people complaining about college football this year,” Tessitore said. “The transfer portal, the NILs and the changing landscape, and are these playoff games really meaningful outside of the playoffs. Matt Corral is all you need to know. He does it the right way, he cares about it the right way.
– sportsvids1 (@ sportsvids1) January 2, 2022
So… those “student-athletes” who decide to retire from their last college games after years of giving their all to protect their future against an NCAA organization that will get nothing for them if they damage that future for the NCAA’s own profitability are not do it the right way? They not take care the right way?
Oh good? And what about the performative outrage over the rights of these players? Tessitore did not call this game for free. May be he also doesn’t care in the right way.
Now, could Corral have suffered that injury so easily in Game 3 of the season? When should players step aside to protect their future? Legitimate questions that could have been explored with more nuance if we hadn’t had the NCAA party line all day.
Of course, that hubbub started on New Years morning, when fellow ESPN commentators Kirk Herbstreit and Desmond Howard had all their feelings about the player withdrawal.
and, befitting a show that shouldn’t even need to air, hosts go wild with “today’s young people are entitled and it’s video games to blame” nonsense pic.twitter.com/4EdBFuTivH
– Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) January 1, 2022
Of course, new USC head coach Lincoln Riley, who left the Oklahoma Sooners before their bowl game, was doing it… uh… doing it for the right reasons?
Totally unfair to portray Herbie & Desmond as myopic morons while on the same show they continued to show their deep empathy for Lincoln Riley and his difficult decision to leave Norman, OK. https://t.co/GY7Fr213hF pic.twitter.com/bIiLeQiKUr
– Dave Dameshek (@Dameshek) January 1, 2022
“What’s the difference as a player and say these games don’t make sense?” Herbstreit said. “Des, we played ‘meaningless games.’ I know you were here a lot. I just don’t understand that if you don’t make the playoffs, why doesn’t it meaning of playing soccer and competing? Isn’t that what we do as soccer players, we compete? So I don’t know if it changes or extends (the playoff). I just think that this era of player does not like football.
“Their whole mentality revolves around the championship or the playoffs,” Howard replied. “Because of that, they don’t like the game of pétanque. When we arrived, Herbstreit and I, going to a game of bowls was a huge reward for a fantastic season. That’s what it meant. Your team played well, so you are going to be rewarded with a bowl game, you are going to get a ring, you are going to have loot. Now the kids don’t really care about that. They have a sense of entitlement. It’s like, ‘If we don’t go to the one that matters, it just doesn’t have as much value’ – as it did for us to come.
Herbstreit tried using damage control later in the day… which didn’t really work. Because he keeps regrouping the players who do not agree with his way of seeing things in a single category.
I just wanted to clarify some of my comments earlier today. Of course, some gamers love the game like never before. But some don’t. I will always love players of this game and sorry if people thought I generalized or lumped them into one category. pic.twitter.com/PS9Pu5rcoo
– Kirk Herbstreit (@KirkHerbstreit) January 1, 2022
Different things mean different things to different players. The NCAA has made billions of dollars off the backs of athletes who haven’t even had the opportunity to market their own names until very recently. The sharecropping mentality inherent in this system has been detailed time and time again.
Schools earn money hand in hand, Networks broadcasting pétanque games earn money hand in hand. It’s almost understandable, pathetically, that those who benefit most from a system in which athletes have no rights are most easily offended when these athletes finally get a taste for the table. Herbstreit, one of ESPN’s most visible and consistent experts, has a reported annual salary of $ 2 million. ESPN currently has a deal to broadcast the college football playoffs through 2025, costing them around $ 5.64 billion in total.
So. maybe the party line is more about profits than the right way of doing things.
Herbstreit is a particularly interesting example in that video games have been brought up in these specific conversations as to why gamers just don’t care about the game the way it did. In 2016, Herbstreit blamed Ed O’Bannon, who won a lawsuit related to the uncompensated use of his likeness and that of other athletes, for the loss of EA Sports’ annual college football video game.
“I’ve never met a college football player who said to himself, ‘They can’t use my name and my image! I need to be paid! ‘ They are just delighted to be in the game, ”said Herbstreit. “They love to be in the game. It’s as if the greatest highlight of their lives is being in the game.
As Herbstreit had been the voice of EA’s game, we may be dealing with another conflict of interest.
“It was a great honor to be invited to switch from gaming to gaming, and I would love to do so,” Herbstreit said a year ago. “I hope I have the opportunity when the game returns”,
It’s also fundamentally interesting that Herbstreit made it very clear that college athletes stay away from social media.
“My recommendation going forward for all coaches – and I don’t know if you could control that – is to keep players away from social media; college players, ”Herbstreit said in 2015.“ Because what I find is that it’s counterproductive. And I know it’s free speech and you should bring it up someday. And I don’t know how you would control it. But I’ve never seen a team as active as Ohio State on social media and back and forth, whether it’s the fans, the media, or whatever.
“You can tell it doesn’t affect you, but ultimately it does. I would do anything in my power if I were a coach in the current climate to say, “Hey guys, camp starts on August 1 and your phones and social media they’re being put away until that we are done playing. You are not going to commit. You are not going to get involved. Because there is nothing good that comes out of it.
Is it possible that one of the reasons Herbstreit would prefer college gamers to stay away from social media is because they have one less way to defend themselves against general claims about their love of the game? Is it also possible that Herbstreit’s preference in this regard is due to the NCAA’s need to maintain its status quo?
Given the history, I would say it is quite possible on both counts.
Kirk Herbstreit is one of the advertisers of a large network. He does not inherently embody everything that is wrong with college sport. But in recent years, and especially at the start of this new year, he appears to be the cartel’s most vocal spokesperson.
And that’s still a shame in college sport.