Money Or The Ring? (Part II)

I advocated and still do that a free agent should take a pay cut to play for a team to win a championship. It seems to me that a player should try to go for a championship so that he can have the glory all his life of winning it all- because that's a happiness that you just can't measure. However, I did explicitly have a caveat in this- that it's only for players who already have money. I was criticized that a player needs to support his family and himself, but if he already has more money than God before he becomes a free agent, then the money shouldn't matter.

There is an analogous situation with college kids deciding to go pro. Recently, Washington QB Jake Locker decided not not go into the 2010 NFL Draft to play his senior season at Washington. Jake Locker was projected to be the #1 QB off the board and a top five draft pick. The logic that these kids have is essentially the same one free agents have, should I go for the money in the pro level or to try and win a ring at the college. Matt Leinart was projected to be, and realistically would have been the #1 pick over Alex Smith. Instead, he decided to stay another year at USC to try and win it all. This happens all the time, college kids deciding to play college ball instead of going pro. However, in this situation, these kids should take the money over the ring.

First of all, this seemingly never works. The only time in recent memory where kids come back to win a championship and a championship was won, was in 2007 when guys like Joakim Noah, Corey Brewer, and Al Horford all decided to play another year and they won it all, again. But the vast majority of the time is doesn't work. Matt Leinart would have easily been the starter in San Fran. Instead, he played another year, didn't even make it to the National Championship game, and dropped all the way to tenth to now be Kurt Warner's back up. Sam Bradford, after winning the Heisman, probably would have been drafted #1 by Detroit over Matthew Stafford- and probably would have also gotten Stafford's hefty contract as well. Instead, Bradford decided to play another year, got hurt, so now he might not even by a first round pick in this draft.

In the pro level, I only advocated players taking the ring over the money if the player had any money. With college kids, they don't have any money at all. That means they should always take the money so they could support themselves. And winning a ring in the college game is sort of meaningless. In football, there are so many bowl games that who really cares if you win the Ponsietta Bowl? Sure, these players will have some unmeasurable happiness, but I can't imagine it would even come close to anything that these players will feel in the pro game.

Plus, the risk is just way too great. While players who come back don't normally get injured like Bradford, the risk of getting injured seems too high to risk losing all that money. The players who can make the choice of a ring or money, if they get injured, it's really not that bad because they could live off the money they already had. And let's be honest, that player might be taking a "pay cut", but that contract would still be must more than any of us see in our lifetime. All coming back to play in another season seems to do is hurt your draft stock and limits the amount of money the player will be able to achieve.


Journalissimo said...

I think you're missing out on a crucial aspect here: the degree. Which is worth way more than a ring. Granted, most big-time college athletes don't really consider the education aspect, but if a college athlete decided to go back to school for an extra year as opposed to make money in the draft, it would be awfully hard to criticize them. I highly doubt big-time athletes choose to stay in school just for a degree, but they should.

Sexy Rexy said...

Don't give me that bullshit. It's just a fact, athletes do not go to college for the education. They SHOULD. But they do not. Sure, there is a small minority that do, but athletes do not go to the college for the degree. And the big time athletes that choose to stay another year, choose to stay because they want to win, NOT because they want to receive an education. Coming from a school that doesn't really emphasize sports, you may not be able to relate, but I have been in classes with big time athletes. They are dumb as shit and they don't car about there education. These kids get their books and housing and essentially everything paid for. They have a great opportunity essentially handed to them and they do not take advantage of it.

We all want to believe that these are student athletes. But these guys are just athletes. They are not students. When Matt Leinart decided to go back, he only took ballroom dancing with his girlfriend to technically be a student at USC.

When these athletes are making their decision, they are looking at two option: 1) stay in school to try to win a championship or 2) Go Pro and try to make it and earn money there. That is it. Is there at least one athlete that decided not to go pro because he wants to earn his degree? I'm sure there is and I absolutely won't criticize that player. But the said reality of it, is that athletes do not take their degrees into consideration. The sad reality is that I did not overlook the degree because it's just not part of the mindset of the athlete.