Kelly Bryant Leaving Clemson is the Future of College Football
The future of College Football is upon us and the future will involve Quarterback Free Agency.
Yes, I know--College Football players can't be free agents? Technically, that's correct---but looking a little further into the issue, it really is where we're at.
The era of "Graduate Transfers" has ushered in a time where players who haven't used up their eligibility but have graduated are now free to finish said eligibility at a school of their choice. Which is fine, I get that. If you've graduated before you've used up your eligibility time, you've earned the right to do what you choose.
It's created situations where players have landed at other schools and had some success. It started in the era of Russell Wilson and continues to this day.
But there is some change afoot. Change that involves eligibility usage and what qualifies as a "Redshirt" season.
In the past it was seeing time in two games. Anything more constituted a season of eligibility.
This year, the NCAA amended that rule, increasing the maximum to four games. Or roughly 1/3 of the season.
And we already have our first instance of said rule being applied in the case of Clemson QB Kelly Bryant. Bryant announced Wednesday he was leaving the Tigers after being told he was no longer the starting QB.
Bryant lost the job to heralded freshman Trevor Lawrence with whom he'd been splitting time with in 2018 as Clemson started off the season 4-0. And it wasn't that Bryant was ineffective or bad. He put up decent statistics, but the team clearly looked different with Lawrence running things.
His Coach, Dabo Swinney did not begrudge the move and told anyone who'd listen Wednesday he made the move to not limit or end Bryant's eligibility and if he was against the decision, he'd have waited another week to do it.
Bryant will obviously no longer suit up for Clemson and still needs to finish his class work and graduate before he can go someplace else. There are 3 other Quarterbacks on the roster--all listed as Freshmen with Chase Brice being the only one who's seen the field.
Expect to see this happen more frequently over the next several years. Quarterbacks more so than other players are highly in demand and most think they're plenty good enough to be a star on another team if their current team makes them feel unwanted.
I don't necessarily like the idea, but I get it. We're now living in a world where coaches can come and go when and where they please, contracts be damned and schools make a shit-ton of money off the players.
So why not allow players the opportunity to do what they feel is best for them? Yeah, sure most are kids and some may not exactly know what is "Best for them". But they should have the opportunity to do so if they choose.
Is it going to create situations where you have a rotating group of "Free Agents" where guys end up playing for the highest bidder or team they can win with? Yeah, maybe.....
At this point what's the difference? As much as we'd all love to say College Football players are amateurs, the business of the game has gotten so big, they really aren't.
I know they don't get paid--though they should. I know they don't get the benefits the schools do. And before you say "But they get a free education"....that's kind of true--but not completely.
Think about it for a minute. How much does it actually cost to have someone attend your school? Yes, I know there is a price charged to non-scholarship students--but is that what it actually costs? And with the amount of money a Power 5 program such as Clemson brings in, does that not more than cover the cost of having 90 or so players on a football team and then some?
So please spare me the "Free Ride" argument---there is no such thing. In the business of College Football nothing is free, the only ones not profiting from the Millions upon millions being poured into the game by ESPN are the guys playing the games....