2018 NCAA Football Preview

First LastThis time of year cannot come quick enough for football fans but the big leagues are needing it even more.

Football is finally ready to come back and take the focus away from the massive amount of controversy surrounding some of the biggest leagues.

In the NFL the talk continues to be about issues that happen before games and off of the field as fans and outside observers question decisions made by those in power.

In the NCAA the controversy is not far off as the league continues to see a focus on things off of the field.

The biggest one of all is the ongoing debate about paying players who go out and risk injury to earn their schools hundreds of millions of dollars a year.

The biggest programs are bringing in more money than some NFL teams with TV rights and merchandising but the players who earn them this money see nothing.

For the big schools, the excuse will always be that they are giving a free education to many of these players and that is payment enough.

Some would agree and others would say that it is a start but when players are forced to balance football, school and a part-time job just to support living expenses while the schools are paying coaches millions and raking in the cash for the school it might not be enough.

The debate will likely never end as there is something to be said about amateur athletes staying amateurs and the repercussions of schools paying football players when it comes to other athletic programs.

There is a strange culture in the NCAA though and although the education is always a big thing for so many the reality is many players don’t go to schools to get a degree.

That debate is seemingly endless though and might never be solved as schools remain steadfast in their belief.

That isn’t the only controversy that has plagued the league this year though as some major programs have been rocked by major issues.

The major story throughout the offseason centred around Maryland and only gave more fire to the argument about how players are treated on a bigger level.

As teams prepared for the new season during training camp, tragedy struck the Maryland camp when redshirt freshman Jordan McNair passed away after practice.

After looking into the death it was determined that McNair had died as a result of heat stroke after a team workout.

It was a tragedy but not one that hadn’t happened before as these types of deaths tend to happen every now and then when a player just takes it a step too far.

Further investigation revealed that this tragedy was entirely preventable though and that the Maryland staff was responsible for the death.

McNair was reportedly pushed beyond his limits as the coaching staff attempted to “toughen up” their players before the season.

That isn’t unheard of in football but what happened next was the truly sad part of this entire story.

Seeing McNair struggling the staff eventually looked to get him back to normal but they took all of the wrong steps to do so.

Instead of getting him inside and trying to cool him down to avoid his body overheating they reportedly walked him around the field and tried to get him to breathe.

That decision by the training staff turned out to be fatal for the young man who lost his life because of decisions made by people who were supposed to look out for him.

This death led to something even more though as reports began to come out regarding the staff and their treatment of the players.

They had reportedly pushed their players to a pretty extreme point even forcing players to eat until they threw up in order to gain more weight.football-sidebar

The death of McNair was just the tragic result of this pushing to try to make the players break and build them up.

There is a very important balance that is needed in football as coaching staffs do need to focus on that mental aspect of the game because the game is no easy.

Teams win and lose many times because they didn’t get tired or lose focus at the right time and coaches need to make sure their teams are the ones that will come through.

There is a line though as coaches need to push their players but forcing players to eat until they throw up and running players until they get into dangerous levels, like McNair, seems to be too far.

The tragic death of this young football player has brought a spotlight to coaching and the techniques they use.

Football has already been in a strange place since concussions have come into focus and now another aspect of the game is coming into focus.

The NCAA is at the centre of this as the NFL might have tough coaches but those players are getting millions to play the game and many don’t have to go through that type of training any longer.

In the NCAA players are essentially playing for free and having to endure this type of coaching.

It has been another issue that has been put in the lap of the NCAA and they continue to have to deal with the pitfalls of the sport and the way they run their league.

So when it comes to this time of year, much like the NFL, they are just happy to be back to football although the issues they continue to deal with will not go away.

The NCAA continues to be under a microscope and although the majority of the talk will turn to the pursuit of the championship these issues will always be there until the NCAA adjusts.

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