Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts is upset with the way the offseason and the quarterback battle are going? Welcome to the business of college football.
Daily Cavalcade of Whimsy
Sorry if this take sucks, it’s not my fault …
Nick Saban doesn’t think I’ll be on the Alabama active roster, either.
“Always do business as if the person you’re doing business with is trying to screw you, because he probably is. And if he’s not, you can be pleasantly surprised.” – Jimmy Dell in The Spanish Prisoner
Welcome to college football, Jalen.
THIS … IS … A … BUSINESS.
Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts got his chance to speak to the media about the offseason, the battle for the starting job, and everything else when it comes to Saban, the coaching staff, and Crimson Tide football …
And that came after this …
To Hurts, to Ed Oliver, to all recruits, to Ohio State and Florida players, and to everyone who’s around this sport, it’s a game, but it’s a game that exists in its current form because it makes a whole hell of a lot of money.
And because of that, everyone around it has to live by one simple rule: it doesn’t matter.
It doesn’t matter if you’re nice.
It doesn’t matter if you’re doing everything “the right way.”
It doesn’t matter if you’ve given everything to the team, the school and the coaching staff. If there’s a player better than you, he’ll play and you won’t, especially at a place like Alabama.
No one should know this better than Hurts himself. Alabama had plenty of quarterback options ready to roll two years ago, but Hurts came in, was the best option as a freshman, and the gig was his.
And that’s where the entire collegiate athletic system is so twisted. Grown up people are making lots and lots of money, they’re well represented, and they have their own self-interests at heart.
College athletes aren’t allowed to have agents, they’re not allowed to unionize, and they’re often promised things they so desperately want to believe will be true that they’ll blindly do anything necessary to touch that dream.
So when some kid has to deal with a professional old person whose only reason for existence is to make sure that a sports team wins a game – and that person achieved that position of power through a brutal process of natural selection – the kid has absolutely no chance.
It stinks that Hurts’ feelings are hurt, and it’s awful that he’s confused, angry, and uncertain of what his future holds – ask any adult who’s been fired out of the blue what that’s like.
Business. It’s why Jacob Eason and Hunter Johnson could go from being big-time quarterback recruits with the world there for the taking, to pushed out the second a more promising option came along.
Business. It’s why Mike Riley – one of the nicest people in the coaching world – is no longer at the University of Nebraska.
Business. It’s why the system has top pro prospects fooled into thinking it matters to their draft stock if they skip an unnecessary season of college football to insure their investment.
Business. It’s why Saban will be able to say to Hurts that Alabama is probably going to win the national title with or without the former starting quarterback.
You don’t like it, Jalen? You don’t feel you’ve been treated fairly? Good luck with that FCS program before finding another school to transfer to, and then, good luck answering how the starting quarterback of that program might feel once you come in and try to take over his job.
Business. It’s why Tua Tagovailoa might be the national championship hero, but Hurts can still win the starting quarterback job by being the better of the two in fall camp.
Business. It’s why coaches and recruiters are able to hoodwink children and parents by saying the words “family” and “student-athlete” and “I’ll take care of …,” to make sure that Johnny Five-Star signs on the bottom line.
Business. It’s why the Urban Meyer situation doesn’t matter one single solitary lick when it comes to Ohio State recruiting.
If Meyer is still the head coach after all of this, he can go in any prospect’s living room and say three letters – N … F … L – slap down the Letter of Intent, and then get up and walk out with the No. 1 sign up like Larry Bird with the money ball still in the air at the 1988 three-point shooting contest. (If you don’t know the reference, check out one of the NBA’s all-time biggest bad-ass moments.)
If the idea of college is to teach kids the real world, it doesn’t get more real than what Hurts is dealing with.
It’s all about getting yours, and as soon as there’s a way to pound this into the heads of all of the top recruits as they’re coming up through the process, and all of the top players once they get there, the faster they’ll finally start to have more power. That’s the way it works through the college basketball circuit. Many might call it corrupt, others might call it by one other word.
In a nearly-perfect college football world, considering he’s not a pro quarterback prospect, Hurts would have an agent or manager who’d be able to sit down with Saban and figure out if, with the right coaching and guidance, there’s an NFL future at receiver, running back, or free safety, and then map out a plan from there. But obviously, that’s not the case.
In the end, you know exactly how this is going to play out.
Hurts will be with the team, or he won’t. Alabama will be amazing, it’ll win the SEC Championship and go on to the College Football Playoff, and Saban will come up with one of the top three recruiting classes in 2019.
Business as usual.