Don’t stay in school, kids!

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.

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31 Comments

Filed under College Football, It's Just Bidness, Media Punditry/Foibles

31 responses to “Don’t stay in school, kids!

  1. Hogbody Spradlin

    If they didn’t question everybody’s judgment for not jumping at the money now, they’d have less fodder a year from now to call them money grubbing when they fall short of expectations in the pros.

  2. Mayor of Dawgtown

    Barkley was always over-rated by the media. If he had come out after his junior year he wouldn’t have been drafted as high as the press was saying then either. The NFL makes decisions on objective criteria not on what Brent Musburger says.

  3. Macallanlover

    The GMs may have taken a look at how USC QBs have fared in the NFL and seen the light, or decided a year around Kiffin had to devalue the product.

    • Merk

      Or they realized that they want zone-read QBs now cause ya know 3 of them did good last season. Of course you give DC’s 2-3 years and those zone-read QB’s will be held in check. Of course, what most fail to realize is that 2 of QB’s had very good RBs, which kind of makes or breaks the system.

      • Macallanlover

        See? There may be a role for Timmy yet in the NFL. Odd that there seems to be more acceptance of a running QB in NFL offenses and TT is out of a job. There has to be a place for this guy in pro football, just too good of an athlete to be thrown out with the trash, imo. Speaking of trash, how does Ryan keep his job with the Jets? Must have pics on someone.

        • Dog in Fla

          I am convinced that Rex, Tarantino and Dick Morris have shots of patrons at some toes-r-us les (Lower East Side) dive bar where they’ve got your long toes, your short toes, your stubby toes, your Fergie toes…

  4. PatinDC

    Did that article note how many juniors declared this year and weren’t drafted? I think not.

  5. DawgPhan

    yeah something like 20-30% of players that leave early go undrafted. Mr. Agent really thinks more players are going to gamble with their big chance?

    I also think that schools will of course start selling that senior season a little better…nothing happens in a vacuum. Make sure the kids are on the right track and that last year can be a lot of fun.

  6. mp

    They criticize them for not being about the money when they’re amateurs. They criticize them for being all about the money when they’re pros. Lather, rinse, repeat.

  7. Monday Night Frotteur

    The press is right. You can always go back to college, you have one shot to leave for the NFL at peak value. I think the more intelligent media are starting to realize the folly of voluntarily signing up for another 12 opportunities to get severely injured just to make another million for Mark Richt/Nick Saban/Kirby Smart/ et al.

    Kids are seeing it too;

    74 underclassmen declared this year

    65 underclassmen declared in 2012

    56 underclassmen declared in 2011

    53 underclassmen declared in 2010

    46 underclassmen declared in 2009

    53 underclassmen declared in 2008

    40 underclassmen declared in 2007

    The trend is not your friend.

    • you have one shot to leave for the NFL at peak value…

      Why only one?

      • Irwin R Fletcher

        Barkley missed his ‘peak value’ because they say he missed his peak value. Clearly he was taller, stronger, and a better QB as a Junior.

        I just want to point out…the same people who projected him as a top pick this year are now writing articles about how much money he lost because he was a projected top pick last year. You realize how stupid this is?

        • Irwin R Fletcher

          Speaking of trends being unkind to the narrative…here are the percentage of underclassmen getting drafted. I’m guess signing up for 12 opportunities to get voluntarily injured beats getting paid a per diem for practicing until cut down day and then signing for $35K to play in the CFL and then the following year trying to get a job w/o a degree…but whatever.

          From CBS Sports…

          The percentage of underclassmen drafted has declined considerably over the past five years:

          2013: 50/73 (68.5 percent)

          2012: 44/65 (67.7 percent)

          2011: 43/56 (76.8 percent)

          2010: 46/53 (86.8 percent)

          2009: 41/46 (89.1 percent)

          • Monday Night Frotteur

            That CFL number is too low, unless you’re talking about practice roster players. Plenty of US players stay in the CFL more than one year and earn $75,000-$80,000/season, and as Cam Wake or Richard Sherman could tell you, if you do well enough you can earn your way into the NFL and be a star.

            • Irwin R Fletcher

              #1- Brandon Brower…not Richard Sherman.
              #2- Neither of those guys Brower or Wake went directly to the CFL. They spent two years bouncing on and off of prax squads and summer rosters. #3- Also, neither of those guys left college early.
              #4- I’m a little low. Minimum league salary for the CFL is $42K with an average salary of $82K.
              #5- If your argument is that instead of staying in school one more year, that these players should seek the financial ‘security’ of going undrafted, bouncing on a NFL team’s expanded roster, and then making $75K for a couple of years in the CFL for the chance that you might be one of maybe 5 guys that actually goes from the CFL to the NFL for a meaningful career then I would disagree. Strongly disagree.

        • Monday Night Frotteur

          He wasn’t taller, but he didn’t have a shoulder injury affecting his workouts. He was also coming off a phenomenal 2011 season.

          Using your logic, 1) EJ Manuel should have entered the 2012 draft and would have been picked in the first round; and 2) players should always leave as soon as they’re eligible.

  8. Irwin R Fletcher

    So…you have a culture of ‘predicting draft status’ which leads to mock drafts, big boards, agents selling $$ to college players, and instant ratings and grades…and what’s crazy is how self-perpetuating it is. So, EJ Manuel gets drafted in the first round and Smith and Barkley get drafted later. The narrative has already become the Bills ‘reached’ and that the other players ‘fell’ and now that Barkley should have left his Jr year. The implication there is that these gurus and agents would have been ‘right’ about his status in 2012.

    Ask Ryan Mallett, Jevean Snead or Jimmy Clausen if they made the right decision coming out early when all the pundits and, surely the agents, had them as first round picks?

    • Monday Night Frotteur

      Ryan Mallett will end up making almost $3 million sitting on the bench for the Pats. He came out healthy and got picked up by a solid franchise. He’s been the topic of a lot of trade inquiries over the past couple weeks. He got a little more than $600,000 for 12 games (and thousands of hours of practice) that he’d otherwise have been paid approx. $25,000 for. He’s in fine shape.

      Clausen’s made a couple million too. He went pro more because of the coaching change than anything an agent told him.

      Don’t know much about Snead but I doubt anybody told him he was a sure first round pick.

      • Irwin R Fletcher

        Using that logic, Barkley didn’t lose anything by not coming out. He’ll sit on the bench and earn back-up money for a couple of years, nothing lost. That’s not the narrative here. It is that Barkley gave up ‘millions upon millions’ for staying another year.

        Barkley will have a degree from USC, which I’m sure will not come in handy in a few years when these guys realize that they actually have to find a living for that last 40 or so years until they turn 65 because netting roughly $1.5M over 4 years isn’t going to set you up for life.

        (BTW- Claussen came back and finished his degree at ND in 2011…which I’m pretty sure he would have to pay for from his earnings but would not have had to pay for had he stayed.)

        Footnote- It really killed Andrew Luck to come back for another year.

        By the way, one other good example is Jake Locker. “Projected #1″…came back for his senior year…production was worse…pundits claimed he had fallen to 3rd or 4th round…went #8 overall. If Todd McShay or Mel Kiper or whoever really knew talent as well as they want us to believe, they would be working for an NFL team.

        • Monday Night Frotteur

          Using that logic, Barkley didn’t lose anything by not coming out.

          Wrong. He lost an entire year of income, on top of whatever his diminished draft stock cost him.

          It really killed Andrew Luck to come back for another year.

          He wasted an entire year of salary and might have pushed his 3rd contract out of his peak years. That’s huge. Kevin Garnett and Tim Duncan are the same age, and Duncan’s a slightly better player. But because Duncan played 4 years in college while Garnett went straight through, Garnett has earned almost $100 million more in NBA salary (and substantially more in career endorsement money). And for what? What did Duncan get out of those extra years at Wake Forest (especially the last 2) that justified the huge career earnings hit? What did Luck get out of that Fiesta Bowl losing season (also a blowout loss to Oregon) that justified a full year of NFL-level compensation and risking his negotiating power?

          • What did Luck get out of that Fiesta Bowl losing season (also a blowout loss to Oregon) that justified a full year of NFL-level compensation and risking his negotiating power?

            You make it sounds as if Luck knew his future before his senior year. That’s hardly the choice he was making at the time.

          • DawginDC

            Holy crap re. Duncan vs. Garnett. That’s absolutely crazy. I guess you could say “who cares Duncan’s made hundreds of millions” but $100 million is absolutely nuts. They were born about one month apart! Duncan’s one of the best players in NBA history!

  9. DawgPhan

    guessing there are 60-70 “1st rounders” each year..at least according to agents….

  10. DawgPhan

    I guess I am missing the argument? Is Monday Night Frotteur suggesting that everyone/most cfb players eligible for the NFL would be better off heading to the NFL?

    It is obvious that more players are opting to leave after their junior year, but it is also obvious that there are only 40-50 underclassmen slots in the draft, so you can increase the number of underclassmen in the draft, but the number of them getting drafted is not going up at the same rate.

    Also do you really want me to believe that the only variable that matters when comparing Garnett and Duncan career earnings is their time spent in college?

    • Mayor of Dawgtown

      MNF is suggesting that any player with a real shot at getting drafted at least in the first few rounds ought to leave early–and he’s making a pretty compelling argument IMHO.

      • DawgPhan

        Is that kinda like arguing that the sky is blue? I dont think that anyone disagrees with the idea that any kid who can be drafted in the top of the draft should go. People probably have a different opinion of where the “100% go” cut off is, but that is splitting hairs.

    • DawginDC

      It looks like there are more and more slots for underclassmen in the draft, as the players who would have been seniors have already left. Soon it’s going to be a little like the NBA draft, where there are hardly any seniors and most of them are drafted toward the end of the first round or in the 2nd.

  11. Cojones

    Told my brother that the county son didn’t get drafted this year. He was one of over 120 in the draft with the same last name, another guy on his team with the same last name was drafted and 14 with his same last name were drafted overall. That’s gotta hurt to hear your last name so many times and you don’t get taken even though you were playing on natl TV when announcers singled out that you were NFL draft material. That kind of comedown is brutal and can be an ego-dinger for life..

  12. 69Dawg

    Everybody predicted that the new rookie salary cap and the 4 year contract would increase the number of undergraduates coming out early. So far it seems to be happening. Undrafted free agents and really any one drafted after the 4th round stand a very small chance of making a team. For the ones that make a team they get to start their clock for free agency and the pot of gold at the end of the contract.

    • Very true. Under the old system there was more incentive to come back if you weren’t a first or early second round pick, because the pot increased so much if you improved your standing in the draft. Now, it’s much more about getting to the second contract as soon as you can.