By Ken Reed
The trend in the NFL and NBA is to draft college athletes well before they have had a chance to graduate. In basketball, more and more college players are turning pro after their first or second season. In the NFL, there’s been a big jump of players turning pro after their junior seasons of eligibility (the earliest players can turn pro based on NFL rules). This season, 98 college football players turned pro after their junior season, an 85% increase from 2010.
However, the Philadelphia Eagles are bucking the trend. They want players with college degrees, not just because they believe graduates are smarter but also because they believe they are more committed to achieving goals.
“When you look at people who are successful in any profession, it always goes back to college graduates,” said Eagles general manager Howie Roseman. “We found NFL players are no different.”
Roseman and Eagles coach Chip Kelly did some research and found that teams with the most college graduates are also the teams that tend to be the most successful. Former Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy conducted similar research and shared those findings with Kelly, which helped mold Kelly’s thinking.
Last year, of the three teams with the most fifth-year seniors drafted, two of them played in the Super Bowl: Seattle and Denver.
Kelly stresses that he values a degree as more than proof of a player’s intelligence.
“It’s also, what is their commitment?” said Kelly. “They set goals out for themselves and can they follow through for it? A lot of people can tell you they want to do this, this and this. But look at their accomplishments.”
Maybe if the Eagles approach becomes a trend throughout the NFL and NBA, more college athletes will actually take the term “student-athlete” more seriously.
It would definitely be a welcomed trend.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
Sports Forum Podcast
Episode #22 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Rethinking Sports Fandom with Author Craig Calcaterra – We discuss Calcaterra’s new book “Rethinking Fandom: How to Beat the Sports-Industrial Complex at Its Own Game” and explore new ways to be a fan in the year 2022.
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Episode #21 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Chatting About a Broken Game With Baseball Writer Pedro Moura – Moura is a national baseball writer for Fox Sports. We discuss how and why the game of baseball is broken, what factors caused it, and offer a few thoughts on how to “fix” a great game.
Episode #20 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Coaching Youth and High School Sports Based On What’s Best for the Athlete’s Holistic Development – We chat with long-time youth, high school and college basketball coach Jim Huber.
Episode #19 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Capturing the Spirit of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League with Anika Orrock – We discuss the hoops AAGPFL women had to jump through to play the game they loved as well as the long-term impact and legacy they have in advancing sports opportunities for girls and women.
Episode #18 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Talking about the 50th Anniversary of Title IX and the Lia Thomas Controversy with Nancy Hogshead-Makar – Hogshead-Makar is a triple gold medalist in swimming, a civil rights attorney and CEO of Champion Women.
Episode #17 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Talking Sports With Legendary New York Times Sports Columnist Robert Lipsyte – We chat about Lipsyte’s amazing career and some of the athletes he covered.
Media"How We Can Save Sports" author Ken Reed appears on Fox & Friends to explain how there's "too much adult in youth sports."
Ken Reed appears on Mornings with Gail from KFKA Radio in Colorado to discuss bad parenting in youth athletics.
“Should College Athletes Be Paid?” Ken Reed on The Morning Show from Wisconsin Public Radio
Ken Reed appears on KGNU Community Radio in Colorado (at 02:30) to discuss equality in sports and Title IX.
Ken Reed appears on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour (at 38:35) to discuss his book The Sports Reformers: Working to Make the World of Sports a Better Place, and to talk about some current sports issues.
- League of Fans Sports Policy Director Ken Reed quoted in Washington Post column titled "What happened to P.E.? It’s losing ground in our push for academic improvement," by Jay Mathews
League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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