The debate of many young athletes to figure out what is best for them.

College football is a multi-million dollar operation that makes millions worldwide stay glued to their television screens.  The season is a great mixture of drama and competition of some of the best athletes and systems around.  Once awards and bowls are handed out the biggest conflict for a great handful of players, and it deals with their futures.  For freshmen and sophomores, it’s about next year and how they will make a bigger impact than the year before. For seniors, it’s the moments that did and did not happen over their careers in college and how the future for them will lead to the pros or elsewhere. The most questioning deals with a certain crop of players; the third year sophomores and juniors are the ones who deal with the most drama at this time.

According to the National Football League, you can be eligible for the draft if you are three years removed from high school. This means you can be a junior who has played all three years and be able to leave, as well as, be a red-shirted player who has played two years and be eligible to leave early. These rules affect business all over. It affects how NFL teams and college teams prep and recruit. It affects the outlook and team strength. It also affects the individual themselves. Quarterbacks like Tim Tebow of Florida, Mark Sanchez of USC, and Sam Bradford of Oklahoma have lead a crew of individuals who had to choose to stay or go, with Sanchez deciding to go pro against his coach’s wishes.  So what is a young man to do-here are some things to consider.

Going to the NFL is a great business venture. One’s whole life can change for the better.  Even if one goes un-drafted and signs a contract afterwards, one is set with a six-figure deal. This amount of money is a lot compared to many students who aren’t athletes. Even with our hard economic times, the NFL is a stable job market for those who play, so jobs are frequently available. For various athletes, the rule of having to wait three years is bothersome and just holds them back from going pro. Another aspect to look at is how great the athlete is. If one has a great season, people look at this athlete with a greater desire. So going pro can set one up for life and allows one greater exposure.

Then there is the argument for staying in school. A vast majority leave from school early, without their degrees. When you leave school without an education, you have no fallback plan. The NFL is an extremely high contact sport with many injuries that are career and life threatening. Also when players leave early, some leave without the necessary tools for the next level. They will leave without the proper teachings, speed, strength, size, and football sense. Those individuals, if drafted, become exposed and then destroyed by those with the knowledge and tools. Then there is the college that they left, the lost talent, and the rebuilding that has to be done.  When a star leaves, someone has to replace them, which may or may not work. These alterations will, in turn, run the risk of losing games and money for schools.

I wish luck to those who decide to pursue their career. It’s not my place to discourage it, but rather provide a more positive view for the overall. Everyone can benefit the right way from the student athletes to the student fans. When Draft Day comes, the light will be made clear for many. Hopefully, their path comes from good advice instead of selfish wishes. All I can say is that education has always been enforced and encouraged, but some just might throw it away. It will be something to think about.