January 16, 2008

Underclassmen bolt for pros, careers jeopardized

Category: NCAA General — Patrick Stumpf @ 7:21 pm

It’s tempting for present-day athletes to make that jump from the college ranks to the pros.  Many sophomores and juniors who enter early don’t pan out, and it’s unfortunate.  The trend was set by the infamous Maurice Clarett, left, who bent the rules, his stock plummeted, and look how far he’s gotten.  In jail.  On the other hand, for those few exceptional juniors and perhaps sophomores, the transition isn’t as tough.  This is a very controversial topic, and no one has the right answer, but you can’t blame these kids for pursuing their multi-million dollar contracts.  It’s sad this is what it’s come to, but it is definitely evident.  So far, 53 underclassmen have declared early for the 2008 NFL draft.  52 juniors and one sophomore, tight-end Jermichael Finley out of Texas.  The most notable juniors: Darren McFadden, who’s projected as a top 5 pick, and Miami safety Kenny Phillips and Cal wide receiver DeSean Jackson, both expected to go in the first round.  Sure they are all explosive players, but just think how much better these players would be if they all stayed for their senior season?  Not only would they have the opportunity to get better, the NFL as a whole would be better, and the players would smarten up, and wouldn’t be tempted into doing dumb stuff like Clarett.  If it were up to me, everyone stays the full four years.  Not to mention, if a player’s career happened to be cut short by injury or what have you, they could get a job like the other 98% of the population.

Not only is this rule harming the NFL, it’s running rampant in the NBA.  Sure plenty of these frosh studs are great players, but the other half are left on the street primed for nothing other than trouble-making.  It’s a joke.  The world of sports is becoming a bunch of street punks making millions.  What’s the worst that could happen, really? Fifty less players are arrested for marijuana possession?  Commissioner Goodell, Stern try this and who knows, both leagues might be cleaned up within a few years.  Maybe it’s just a mindless proposition, but something needs to change to return the purity in sports. 

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