SAN DIEGO, Calif. – No Minnesota or Washington State players will skip Tuesday’s Holiday Bowl to prepare for the NFL draft, but Cougars coach Mike Leach has some choice words for stars at other programs who leave before their bowl games.
Leach said that a player who skips his bowl game is “100 percent” selfish and mused that perhaps some did so in order to avoid taking a drug test mandated by the bowl games.
“Those guys who don’t play in the bowl game, it appears to me they think all their accomplishments were solely theirs and theirs alone,” Leach said. “I can’t think of a more selfish point of view.”
Those who support the rights of players to skip their bowl games note that coaches frequently miss their team’s bowl game when taking new jobs, and that because players are unpaid amateurs they have a fiduciary duty to avoid injury and protect their draft stock once it is as high as it will get.
However, the implications of this year’s rash of players avoiding bowl games remains to be seen. The bowl games, TV networks and sponsors alike cannot be happy about losing the star players who drive interest in the games, and may be wary of inviting schools in the future without assurances that the key players will show up.
Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey, LSU running back Leonard Fournette both announced they would skip their bowl games to focus on preparations for the upcoming NFL draft. Last Tuesday Shock Linwood, Baylor’s all-time leading rusher, announced he would do the same.