While his last year hasn’t gone the way he wanted it to, despite only playing a handful of snaps in the last six weeks of the season, McKenzie Milton is still one of the more recognizable from college football.
That’s why the Florida State quarterback was on a important podcast this week with former ESPNer Dan Le Batard, to talk about all the different issues the sport faces as we approach 2022 and beyond.
I thought what Milton said was well thought out and insightful. It gives the player a take on NIL offerings and bowl game takedowns, following on from ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit suggesting that if a college football player isn’t participating in a bowl game, he doesn’t like it. just not sport.
Milton seriously disputed this sentiment.
“I don’t know if he says that because of who plays his bills, you know what I mean?” Milton said to Le Batard. “But for me it’s easy to say that when you’re paid millions of dollars behind a desk. A lot of these kids come from nothing.”
This is what Milton continued to point out. Many times.
That so many of the players he’s played with – both in Central Florida and the state of Florida – come from such humble beginnings that they send their attendance checks to their families to help them with groceries or clothes or whatever. parents or siblings might need.
They don’t come for money. Some come from extreme poverty.
So why on earth would they play in an Outback Bowl against Iowa when they have a shot at being a millionaire in a few months? Why would they risk being hurt when they have the chance to change the lives of their family members forever?
Importantly, as Milton also pointed out, coaches bounce back ALL THE TIME for more money.
Brian Kelly didn’t stay to drag Notre Dame to a bowl. Lincoln Riley did not coach Oklahoma. Heck, Mike Norvell didn’t stay and coach Memphis. They are all gone. And I don’t at all remember Herbstreit and his fellow opt-out critics saying much about it.
“I couldn’t understand what Kirk was saying,” Milton said. “I love Kirk. I think he’s really good at what he does. But for me that wasn’t a good idea. For me, [Ole Miss QB] Matt Corral, I probably would have done the same. I probably would have played. But I can’t fault any of these kids for retiring from a game of bowls in a month and a half when they have the chance to be a family for life. For me, this is obvious.
“The fans that say they’re cowards and stuff like that, who are you leaving from? You help your family, and family comes first.”
Who in the world could dispute this point?
We all make decisions based on what’s good for our families. And the way the varsity bowl system is set up, with many exhibition games taking place a full month after the regular season ends, is not good for college football players, Milton said.
He said the exclusions would decrease if the boules took place a week after the conference championship games. That it becomes so much less attractive for players to go through “another spring training” before their final games.
He pointed out that many players also have to miss another holiday season with their families, in addition to delaying their NFL Combine or Pro Day prep, just to play a mid-level bowl game that only exists to win money. money for people who are not playing games.
I hear you, McKenzie.
There are two realities we need to address when it comes to boules: First, the expansion of the playoffs will definitely help keep star players on the pitch. Instead of four teams that actually care about the playoffs, there will be eight. Or 12. It’s good for sports, in my opinion.
And here’s the second reality: start looking at these games from a different perspective. The players understood that these were only exhibitions. And if you’re a draftable college football player, you’re going to think twice, then twice, before risking your future for the Cheez-It Bowl.
So let’s all move forward knowing that your star players will no longer participate in classic bowl games. It’s as if college baseball fans understand that their best players are not coming back for their retirement years.
You just live with it. You know the deal. Same thing with the bowls games. If FSU had made one, none of us would have been surprised when Jermaine Johnson decided not to dress.
And I hope none of you would’ve been Herbstreits either, blaming him for not liking the game. When all he’s trying to do is protect his livelihood and provide for himself and can -be to his family.
“When you have the opportunity to make millions of dollars, to get your family out of the situation they’re in, it’s a no-brainer,” Milton said. “Why would you stay the next two months eating PB&Js instead of getting shredded for the NFL Draft? So when you’re in front of those scouts you’re good to go. Instead of two extra months in this system , where you are really destroying your body. “
By the way, we should all be living our lives like we’re shredded for the NFL Draft. You know I’m all about this life.
Now on to the NIL: Milton has also been at the forefront of this movement.
It’s not like he’s made millions this year as a Seminoles quarterback, but man, he would have CLEANED if the NIL had existed when he was the starter – and superstar – of Central Florida. . He knows it.
And he knows, like the rest of us, that it’s right that college players can make money with their name. Because so many other people are.
Now, I’m not saying that you don’t need to have regulations here at some point. On the contrary, I don’t think it’s sustainable for the sport to just allow seven-figure deals to rookies, without some sort of law in place. But I know NIL is not going anywhere. I also know, again, that college coaches get paid more than scholarship checks.
“Coaches make business decisions. TV analysts. But all of a sudden when a 21 or 22-year-old makes a business decision, it’s not fair,” Milton said. “I can’t understand that. These kids are getting smarter and smarter. They’re starting to get smarter and see the system. I’m even going to talk about the NIL stuff with what happened in the [Florida] state legislature this year where they tried to delay the year, where it would have been 2022, where the box would continue to be thrown on the road. Where these guys can’t take advantage of their own last name – not names on the front of the jerseys.
“It literally makes no sense that they tried to slip in a line to delay this NIL bill. And if Florida had delayed it, the whole country would have delayed it. The NCAA wouldn’t have bowed. “For me, now it’s about offering female athletes, male athletes, the opportunity to organize camps in their own name. To have extra money in their pockets. To help their families. It’s sort of.” sort of a corrupt system for a while. I think we’re starting to get to where the kids are starting to figure out – it’s not right. “
I know some of you are bristling with this idea.
Because it’s not the sport we were raised on. But the sport we grew up on didn’t pay coaches $ 10 million a year, either.
The money for EVERYBODY associated with college football has skyrocketed over the past 30 years. Except for gamers.
What has been so difficult, I think, for a lot of us is how quickly it all happened.
For 60 years we have been told that players cannot be paid, players cannot be paid, players cannot be paid. And then, overnight, players are paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to sign with a school. And it is perfectly legal.
And it will continue.
I don’t know how many times we’ll have a chance to talk to McKenzie Milton. I also don’t know how long he will be a big name in the football world. We will see.
But it’s a big name now. And whether you agree or disagree with his opinions, it’s cool to see him use his platform for guys who don’t.
Contact Senior Editor Corey Clark at [email protected] and follow @ Corey_Clark on Twitter.