UM's Jake Butt: Compliance rules rife with hypocrisy

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News


Jake Butt

Miami Beach, Fla.  — Michigan tight end Jake Butt has never skirted important player issues in college football and offered a different take in the conversation about players, like LSU’s Leonard Fournette and Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey, deciding to skip bowl games to prepare for the NFL Draft.

Butt will be playing for the Wolverines in his final college game against Florida State in the Orange Bowl. Michigan does not have a player who has opted to skip the bowl.

“What aren’t we talking about coaches leaving their bowl games early and leaving all those players behind,” Butt said. “Coaches can leave. Players can’t leave. Players can’t transfer just because their coaches leave. Coaches can come and go as they please. When more money is placed on the table, the coach will most likely chase after that.”

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Fournette and McCaffrey both reportedly have had to deal with various injuries and as projected early draft picks decided to give themselves better opportunities by training and preparing for the draft.

Although Butt said he is not armed with all the specific information regarding their decisions, he understands why they made that choice.

“Here we are living off rent checks,” Butt said Wednesday night before a team dinner in Miami Beach. “Guy sees an opportunity for a lifelong dream at the NFL, and they make a business decision. I can’t judge anybody. I don’t know what all went into that decision, and I’m not going to pretend to know. I’m not going to judge or act on that. I support those guys. Best of luck to them.”

Will there be a day when college football players are paid? Should coaches be penalized for bolting from a team early? Butt didn’t take it that far, but he did say NCAA compliance rules are, quite simply, ridiculous.

“The way I always look at it is, if Billy Bob walks down the street and goes to Chipotle, befriends the manager and gets a free Chipotle burrito, and then if one of us walks into Chipotle, we can’t accept that burrito.

“The way the NCAA looks at it — we have enough compliance meetings — the way that I understand it, they think every friend we make is because we’re a football player. They said we can’t even go out to dinner with our girlfriend’s parents. Our girlfriend’s parents can’t take us out to dinner, because who knows? There’s so much that goes into it. I don’t know. There’s no clear answer.”

Twitter: @chengelis