Adapted from “Crain & Co.,” May 1, 2024.

Deion Sanders is catching heat once again because he told Xavier Smith, one of his now-former players, he needed to transfer during the off season. Smith didn’t transfer and then said Prime never gave him a chance during the spring.

It’s time we get something straight. I haven’t heard anyone else discuss this, but it needs to be said: College football isn’t a daycare.

College football is a very competitive and lucrative business. If a coach gives you a heads up that your best next action step is to transfer and you don’t, that’s on you. You don’t have a right to reps. Reps are earned.

Screenshot. Twitter/X.

Screenshot. Twitter/X.

Players wanted in the business, and they got their wish. In fact, players are getting even more than they asked for, and they (and young people in general) need to learn there are two sides to being in the business.

You don’t always get your way, Marie Antoinette. You can’t have your cake and eat it too. Life isn’t fair. You can’t cry about wanting in the business, then cry because you don’t like the negative side of it. You can get paid to play now, even on top of a full ride scholarship. Not only that, if you are getting paid, you’re getting paid as an 18-year-old, so you’re open to criticism. If you don’t perform well, that’s the way the world works.

If the high schooler who runs the cash register at the Chick-fil-A gets told they aren’t doing a good job, then the 18-year-old wide receiver who’s getting paid should be open to the exact same criticism. That’s life.

And to be honest, it’s a pretty damn good life lesson for some of these young people. If your boss says you’re not going to get any hours due to poor performance, you should probably go find another job. It happens in every other walk of life because that’s the real world.

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It’s amazing that the 18-year-olds who stormed the beaches of Normandy during World War II didn’t complain nearly as much as this soft generation of individuals we have today. Child actors get their performances graded — and graded pretty harshly. I don’t see them moaning or complaining as much as some of these players today.

We have to stop treating people who are entering adulthood and getting financially rewarded like little babies. It’s not good for them or society.

Now, some would make the argument that not every player is getting paid, to which I would counter and say, that is the cost of your peers wanting in the business. Nobody is forcing you to play. If you don’t like it, then leave.

That doesn’t mean anyone needs to be a jerk or criticize just for the fun of it. But acting like these 18-year-old and older players are beyond critique while getting paid is a practice in futility. It’s one of the reasons so many young adults have a warped view of the world; they never get told no, and they never get told they didn’t do a good job.

Most coaches are going to defend their players at all costs — because they have to. They are with them every day, and that’s smart. But the best thing you can do for a young person is to tell them the truth. Do I always approve of the way Deion Sanders goes about it? Sometimes I don’t, but he isn’t wrong. Maybe if more people took those same steps, we wouldn’t have the situations we see today all over college campuses.

So, you wanted in the business, and now, you’re in it. If you can’t handle the heat, then get out of the kitchen. As one of my favorite coaches used to say, “Go ahead and quit. I’m sure your mom will still love you.”

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Jake Crain is co-host of “Crain & Company.” the Daily Wire’s sports show hosted by former athletes and coaches: Jake Crain, Blain Crain, and David Cone. Follow him on Twitter @JakeCrain_

The views expressed in this piece are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire. 

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