Economy may force players into pro leaguesWritten by Ryan Fowler | | email@example.com
If the saying is true, and money isn’t everything, then our country’s infatuation with the current economic crisis would be pointless.
The truth of the matter is money isn’t everything, but it is something.
Whether it’s taking advantage of the dollar menu at your favorite fast-food joint or supporting the nearly $790 billon stimulus bill, the impact of a dollar is strong.
If you were to ask me one year ago if a college athlete should turn pro as early as possible, my answer would have been an emphatic and resounding “no.”
Don’t be a fool, stay in school.
If you were to ask me today if a college athlete should turn pro early, my answer would be “yes.”
My reasoning is simple. At this point and time, it’s obvious that for the rare and talented few, the ability to run 40 yards in less than 4.5 seconds or dunk a basketball is more valuable than a college diploma.
It may sound cynical to preach economics over education, but try telling that to the 600,000 people who lost their jobs in January.
I’d be willing to bet most of those people had some form of college education, perhaps a diploma. I’d also be willing to bet if those unemployed college grads had the chance to hit the lottery tomorrow, they’d take it.
Break down a professional athlete’s paycheck and he or she is hitting the jackpot every day. So if you have the talent, why not cash in while the country irons out its financial mess?
Not to sound like Debbie Downer, but a recent report said the unemployment rate is the highest since 1992, and if it keeps up, it could be as high as it was during the Great Depression.
If athletes know they are going to be drafted or earn a free-agent contract, they need to take it. They run the risk of returning to school and blowing out a knee or breaking an arm, and then the dream of reaching the NFL or NBA evaporates.
In the latter scenario, the athlete finishes school, diploma in hand, and heads out into the real world. Before he knows it, he’s waiting tables at a local restaurant because it’s the only place hiring.
The average salary for an NFL player in 2008 was about $500,000. The average NBA salary is well more than $1 million. Even a mediocre professional athlete can survive one or two years in the league. During that time, he has job security and the chance to build a nest egg. It’s a safe situation foreign to many Americans living off unemployment checks these days.
In April, University of Missouri red-shirt sophomore wide receiver Jeremy Maclin will anxiously wait for his name to be announced at the 2009 NFL draft. He will then place the ball cap of his new team on top of his head and hold up a jersey while wearing a million-dollar smile.
If you read Maclin’s biography on Missouri’s athletic Web site, it says the 21-year-old has an interest in accounting or marketing at Mizzou’s School of Business. I’d say he already passed macro-economics by turning to the NFL for a guaranteed paycheck.
Look all around. Our friends, our parents and our co-workers have all been slapped in the face by an economy in the toilet.
It doesn’t matter if you are white, black, male, female, high school dropout or a college graduate. We are all in this sinking ship together.
Athletes are the ones who can plug the holes, bucking the trend and creating a stable life for themselves and their families in these unstable times.
Ryan Fowler is the weekend sports anchor for NBC 24 Sports. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.