I’m having a hard time understanding the hard-on the press has gotten recently about star college players going pro as soon as possible. There was the Lattimore injury which led to a bunch of discussions about whether Clowney ought to sit this year out to preserve his big pay day in the 2014 draft, for instance.
Now it’s Matt Barkley falling to the fourth round of the draft. Matt Hayes wants us to believe That Changes Everything. And you know why? Because an agent told him so. No shit:
“The days of players coming back for the love of the game or winning a national championship are over,” said one NFL agent.
My first thought upon reading that – well, actually my second thought, as my first was why an agent thought it was prudent to give that quote without allowing a name to be attached – was to wonder whether somebody’s been paying attention. This past draft was chock full of juniors who elected to leave early, many of whom left teams with legitimate chances to challenge for a national title. Nor is that anything particularly new.
There have been and will always be players who go to college to get ready to play on the next level and leave as soon as they have a shot at a pay day. (Same with agents who want more clients.) Just as there have been and will always be those like Aaron Murray and Jake Matthews, who, contrary to Mr. Anonymous, do get something out of the college experience and choose to stay, regardless of what happens to the Matt Barkleys of the draft.
The only thing that seems to be different these days is that the press is more willing to call into question a kid’s judgment for not doing everything he can do to take the money and run. That strikes me as a funny way to cover a sport.