ARTICLE OF THE DAY

MAKING THE JUMP
by Kevin Monroe
3/4/05

Society at large tends to look down upon athletes for leaving school early and going pro, but we also teach the story of the American dream: Getting a good job, having a family and living happily ever after.  Athletes are chastised about leaving college early and going straight to the NBA, NFL, MLB, PGA, NHL etc.  I am a firm believer that you go to college to get a good job so you can provide for yourself and your family.  What does that mean exactly?  Well to me, it means if I am Matt Leinart (Quarterback- USC), and I know that if I enter the NFL draft I am going to be a top three pick….I TAKE THE MONEY.

Why on earth would anyone stay in school, if they were in his situation?  Matt has won two national championships at USC, and the Heisman Trophy.  He has been all but guaranteed a top three pick in the draft and he decided to go back to school.  For all those people out there who say an education is more important…. I agree, but there is no time limit on getting that degree.  Matt would be guaranteed anywhere from 15-25 million up front with a top three selection in the draft.  99.9% of us won’t make that in a lifetime, yet  we are telling this kid to pass that up, just so he can go get a diploma that isn’t going anywhere.  Ask Michael Jordan, Jerry Stackhouse, Shaq, Vince Carter, Emmett Smith and many others that returned to college and earned their degrees after leaving college early. 

A good education is hard to come by, and watching a kid skip college completely and go pro in any sport, is tough to take, but there is a level of maturity that you need to get from a couple of years in school.  That being said, there are those rare occasions when a young man or woman is so well put together physically and so far ahead of the curve mentally that you just can’t deny their decision to go pro immediately after high school    (ex. Lebron James, Serena Williams).  For those anomalies, I say good luck and God bless, because that kind of talent only comes once in a blue moon.

Each situation is different, and we are being hypocritical when we decide to judge these young athletes.  Many of them will be very successful in life and some won’t, but the same could be said for those that decide to go to college for four years.  I think Leinart is making a mistake, by going back to school, but only time will tell how this story ends.

Kevin Monroe