Student-athletes receiving degrees at all-time high of 82 percent, still should be higher
Commentary by Andrew Howard ’17
Many college athletes forgo their final year or years of college to become a professional athlete, but with that choice comes a major risk they should not be willing to take.
Each year a select group of Brophy students move on to play sports in college. Some will have the opportunity to play professionally.
With injuries in sports going up, not having a degree could severely diminish your chances of having a successful life after sports.
Sports Illustrated estimated in 2009 that 78 percent of NFL players are in financial trouble within two years of ending their careers. In the NBA 60 percent of players are broke within five years of playing.
ESPN also recently made a film in their 30/30 series talking about bankrupt athletes and their life after sports.
Why risk getting hurt and having no backup plan over one more year of college? It will also give you more time to mature as a person and player.
There are understandable reasons for leaving college to play sports, such as family financial issues. If you have to support your family, you should do so.
But there are more reasons to stick it out.
Being mature before playing professional sports is a very big deal, because if you are immature and making $20 million, chances are you aren’t spending the money right.
The percent of athletes deciding to stay and receive their degree is at its highest point ever at 82 percent, according to the NCAA. If that many kids are deciding to stay for their senior year, it must be seen as a worthwhile thing to do.
Even with the percentage at its highest ever, it would be great to someday have a 90-100 percent graduation rate among student athletes. After all, the word student does come first.