Jalen Johnson opted out yesterday for Duke… less than 3 weeks before Selection Sunday. Duke likely won’t hear their name called and I’m 1000% positive that’s why Johnson is “focusing on the NBA Draft” instead.
Listen, I get it, Johnson is good enough to go play in the NBA right now. Some will say he’s concerned about his health. That’s BS. You can get hurt any time that you come down from the rim, empty gym or not. You can get hit by a car. In football you’re 10 times more likely to get hurt, but I still don’t agree with opting out. Duke stinks. Too bad, poor you, you’re on the worst Duke team in like 30 years. Finish the season.
I saw the Elton Brand letter today from that Karen from Duke back in ’99 who told him that he would never be a part of the Duke family after leaving after his sophomore season for the NBA. While I do think that the NBA should implement the MLB draft rule where you go out of high school or you have to stay for 3 years of college, that’s a different story. At least Brand left AFTER the season.
This COVID opt out is just another added in reason to make it easier for kids to take their ball and go home. It’s been pretty rare that people have left school or not played for a year before any draft. Nick Bosa was probably the most recent pre-COVID. Even Leonard Fournette and Clowney played their last years at school and they were grown men playing with college kids.
College football was robbed this year of a ton of great talent this year. While no one is to question whether their COVID concerns were real or not, most of the top 15 NFL Draft prospects did not play football this year. That’s no coincidence.
On top of that, guys like Jalen Johnson and Rashod Bateman, the WR from Minnesota, just up and quit on their teams midseason. It’s out of hand and opting out need to go, but it won’t. It sucks for the fan bases, it sucks for the kids who didn’t get scholarships because these guys did. Opting out of bowl games has become rampant and I fear that opting out in general will continue to grow. Until the stars of college sports don’t feel like they’re being played by the NCAA, they will continue to opt out. Even if they can profit off of their likeness, it’s nothing compared to the money they’ll make in the NFL/NBA.
But what do you do? Take their scholarship away? Doesn’t matter. They’re about to make millions anyway. Not like the school can take the scholarship they wasted and offer it to another kid who is already committed somewhere else. You can’t take their game checks or fine them. And who are we as fans to tell them what’s best for their future? Opting out sucks, but it’s here to stay.