By: Will Stevenson
If you are Desaun Watson, do you want to be paid? I ask this question because today on most sports talk radio shows, the discussion was that Watson is an inconsistent passer, sort of in the realm of Jameis Winston. If that’s so, he’ll be among the top quarterbacks taken in the draft, but at what cost? Say he drops to the late second round, third, or even the bottom of the first round, the maximum money he could earn on his rookie contract isn’t as much as you think. While the rookie wage scale allowed veterans to earn more money long-term (allegedly), it allows teams to be not-so efficient with their draft selections. Money invested or not, the wrong high-selection at quarterback will hinder your team for years to come. This brings another question: Would a college quarterback rather be in a system that wins them the most games in college, or gets them ready for the NFL?
When you watch college football, you see college coaches that coach to win games. They do this because this earns them the most money, recruits, facilities, and the opportunity to get a better coaching job or leverage for a raise and/or buyout clause. Let’s take the coach at Kentucky. This coach is in the SEC, a conference that we all know isn’t going to fare well in wins or recruits and will probably lead to them being fired in two years, because they’ve gone winless in the conference. If you’re DeSaun Watson, do you go to Kentucky when you have other offers? Matter of fact, what would drive you to go there in the first place? I would assume as a college coach your priority is to appease the boosters. Being on a campus, you already have a built-in fan base with students, faculty, alumni, and family members of student-athletes. Why not build a program that sends players to the NFL or excites the players and fan base? We all know that the star Middle Linebacker at Kentucky won’t get the same pub as the backup from Alabama, but if your school can become a pipeline to the NFL, then why not. When I speak of the pipeline, I mean the type of offense, defense, and flair that would excite a college program. With college rosters being in the 80s up to 100s in number of player, this disallows the player guy in the 70 to 100 range to go elsewhere as a freshman. The allure of the big college or a specific coach gets them to Oregon, USC, FSU. Ohio State and the like. It doesn’t make much sense for the same 4-star recruit, that knows they won’t play much at Florida, will wait until they are a junior to transfer because they aren’t seeing the playing time they expected. I say just sign to another “lesser” school as an incoming freshman to get pub you deserve.
Saying this I realize things like this don’t happen the way you think. There’s more to why a 3-star recruit goes to Alabama instead of Alabama State, or why a walk-on at Tennessee isn’t waling on at Ball State. I get it. I also realize that when Ole Miss was climbing the charts in the polls, ratings and recruits, we all sat back and waited for the sanctions to come: And they did. So, if you are Kentucky, what do you do? How do you get DeSaun Watson to come to your school? Do you “He Got Game” it and have the seniors fill their visit with drugs, partying and naked girls? I’m 32 and I’d go to Kentucky for that (In this hypothetical I am single, kid-less and am in no need for a testosterone boost). You can’t pay players to come, even though you can. You can promise or elude to playing time. You can’t promise wins, because your conference is too good. You can’t promise the NFL pipeline because there’s no faux-evidence to be presented. How Sway?
- Hire NFL Assistants to your coaching staff
- Pay off as many recruits as possible
- Look at the Miami teams of the 80s and build
- Have your stadium on campus (Don’t be like the Miami Hurricanes and build your stadium off campus)
- Look at what Michigan did with Jim Harbaugh and relevancy with Hip Hop culture
- Install a moxy that doesn’t care about unsportsmanlike conduct penalties
- Purge every 3 and 4 star in high school
- Purge every 3 and 4-star freshman and sophomores
- purge your local and state JUCOs
- Purge every college coach dismissed for reasons other than wins and losses
- Remove your ethics code book
- Forget the facilities upgrades until you can pay coaches and buy recruits
- Build your offseason perks packs (money, side jobs, women or men, trips, destinations, parties, alumni perks)
- Don’t share your stadium with an NFL team
- Be exciting as a program, a school, a team. We know the sanctions and allegations will eventually come, but get as much done in the process
I know, I’m the Devil. Who cares? Did Ole Miss care? Did UNC care? If you’re not going to be a national title contender or even a division contender year in and year out, be a pipeline to the NFL or a program that is fun to go to at the least. I understand winning is tied to the pipeline but it’s not exclusively tied to it.
This should be an organizational effort. From boosters, to athletic directors, students, coaches and right down to the players. The pitfalls of a college campus will remain: Classes, rape, sexual assault, bullying, hazing, arrests and the like will still be there: sad, but true. If a school can maneuver itself and remove these things that plague our collegiate societies, it could work. wouldn’t you want to cheer for a team that handles these crises efficiently and empathetically while paying off coaches and players? Maybe? If somehow we can get our football players to not have orgies and gangbangs, the campus culture could be welcoming to some NCAA rulebook breaking? Maybe for once we our coaches and ADs can be fired for what’s on the field rather than cover-ups.
I also understand I have gone all over the place, but that’s fine. A plethora of topics lead to a plethora of ideas and things to talk about.