Why do players opt out?

CoachJeff

All-American
Jan 21, 2014
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There seems to be a misunderstanding about players optiing out of bowl games.

This is a fairly new phenomenon but most of the reasons given for it aren't new at all.

Do players opt out because the games don't matter? If that's the case, then why didn't it happen 20 or 30 years ago?

Do players opt out to avoid injuries in games that don't matter because there's so much money on the line? That's not it either. NFL rookie contracts are much lower now than they were 15 years ago. Trevor Lawrence got a contract worth $36 million as the number one pick. JaMarcus Russell got a $61 million contract after he went pro after the 2006 season. He played in a "meaningless" bowl game. His counterpart, Brady Quinn, also played in that meaningless game before getting a $22 million contract as a rookie. They both played and both had more money on the line that Pickett or Walker.

I'm not sure what the reasoning is other than it simply becoming acceptable. It gained popularity when McCaffery sat out his bowl game and it's only gotten more popular.
 
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81usaf92

TideFans Legend
Apr 26, 2008
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20-30 years ago we didn’t have the BCS, and bowl games actually meant something. Yes there are exceptions but they usually revolve around LSU and the Sugar bowl or a good Rose Bowl game.

Also consider there is a difference between “guaranteed” money and agreed contract. Just because Jamarcus got a 61 million dollar contract doesn’t mean he got 61 million dollars. He actually only got 32 million dollars worth of it. Trevor Lawrence actually stands to get every cent of his contract with 24.8 million guaranteed. Contracts are less because people like Jamarcus Russell played the system and it was also because Al Davis was a moron. Guaranteed money and benefits is where most of the contentions are with agents, and it’s why rookie contracts are crap unless you are in the first 3 rounds. So this is probably the driving reason but I don’t understand why sure fire top prospects are doing it and not just guys on the bubble.
 

Cruloc

All-SEC
Sep 1, 2019
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I'll tell you why there's more of it. Yes, its more acceptable now, there are no repercussions for it, its a choice they make. But....I tend to think its generation thing, kids today are about me me me, not "these are my brothers, we are going to battle one more time."

Maybe I'm wrong, but that's what it seems to me.
 

lowend

1st Team
Feb 20, 2005
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Also, our society is on a constant march toward permissiveness. I won't give specifics because that could get this thread kicked over to Non-Sports, but things that were once taboo are now heralded in the name of permissiveness and inclusivity. We don't want to have a high standard for anything because that might make someone feel bad for getting excluded. We don't want to have anything traditional for the same reason. Look at the term that's used here - "opt out" - they're quitters. We have lost our ability as a society to put the collective ahead of the individual.
 

Cruloc

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Sep 1, 2019
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I went through this on a much smaller scale on my high school baseball team....back in the day. We got a new coach my senior year, he had different rules than the previous coach.....so some of the other seniors just decided to quit. One after the other....it wasn't called "opting out" it was just flat out quitting.

There were 2 seniors left at the end of the year, myself and one other. I had signed up to play baseball, not be a kid who quit the team.

1. These kids should feel an obligation to play in their bowl games, they are on scholarship and the ones quitting have made a name for themselves because of the team and their play on it...and likely are making money with an NIL deal.

2. How does a kid quit on his brothers? That's the one that gets me the most. That tells me a lot about someone. Did you stand with your brothers or did you just decide, nah, I quit.

3. If I'm an NFL GM I'm not touching a quitter with a 10 foot pole. Give me the kid that was a little less talented, but has heart. Obviously you can't take a kid that's significantly less talented, but if I'm comparing a group of kids that are close to equally talented, I want the kid that has character and "want to."
 
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Ole Man Dan

Hall of Fame
Apr 21, 2008
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When I was in school, guys would give you the 'what for' anytime you came out of a game. Nobody wanted to be called a quitter, or many other things you can't mention on this forum.
That was way back when everyone was told to 'Walk It Off'.
Get your bell rung... Walk it off.
Come up limping... Walk it off.
Everyone was told to be tough.

Concussion Protocol was the coach would come on the field and ask you how many fingers he was holding up.
One of our coaches assured everyone in practice that he was going to always hold up two fingers.
A buddy of mine said two fingers, but he said it before the coach held up any fingers. OUT OF THE GAME.
(That coach moved on after that season, but the standing joke by the guys was Two Fingers Coach...
 

RollTide_HTTR

Hall of Fame
Feb 22, 2017
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In no order

1. Injury
2. Bowl games matter less now/aren't viewed the same way
3. Gives more time to prep for things like the combine
4. Like you said it is more acceptable now as people have become more player focused in sports
5. Probably some other reasons I'm missing
 

mdb-tpet

1st Team
Sep 2, 2004
999
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In no order

1. Injury
2. Bowl games matter less now/aren't viewed the same way
3. Gives more time to prep for things like the combine
4. Like you said it is more acceptable now as people have become more player focused in sports
5. Probably some other reasons I'm missing
6. Coaches and administrators (and fans?) do this all of the time. The kids are just taking the examples to heart and copying them. For example, we have about 20 head coaching changes already before the season is over, some by coaches in premier programs with only 1 or 2 loses, some by administrations being pushed around by fans/boosters, some by other programs poaching, etc. Your coaches quitting on you has to resonate in the locker rooms. Certainly the kids could feel now their coach could walk out on them at any time. See Dennis Franchione for example #1.
 

CoachJeff

All-American
Jan 21, 2014
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Shelby County Alabama
In no order

1. Injury
2. Bowl games matter less now/aren't viewed the same way
3. Gives more time to prep for things like the combine
4. Like you said it is more acceptable now as people have become more player focused in sports
5. Probably some other reasons I'm missing
1, 2, and 3 are really the same as before. You're not more likely to be hurt in a bowl game now as opposed to 10 years ago. The Bowl games don't matter more or less than 10 years ago. The combine is the same as before.

Those variables are the same as before. 4 is true, but why? What happened to make opting out of bowl games for players become normalized?
 

RollTide_HTTR

Hall of Fame
Feb 22, 2017
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1, 2, and 3 are really the same as before. You're not more likely to be hurt in a bowl game now as opposed to 10 years ago. The Bowl games don't matter more or less than 10 years ago. The combine is the same as before.

Those variables are the same as before. 4 is true, but why? What happened to make opting out of bowl games for players become normalized?
Disagree. Bowl games have been devalued. And not wanting to be injured in a devalued game makes a difference. Same with prepping for NFL.