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 #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 and got to know well, like Muhammad Ali, as well as his relationships with fellow sports journalists like Bob Costas and Howard Cosell.
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Episode #16 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Andrew Maraniss: Outstanding Author of Books That Focus On the Intersection of Sports, History and Social Justice.
Episode #15 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Talking Sports Psychology with Dr. Tim Rice. We discuss the growth of sports psychology at all levels, the positive impact that a number of high profile athletes have had by opening up, and the importance of everyone involved in sports caring for the whole athlete, mind and body.
Episode #14 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Making Sense of the Injury Pandemic in Major League Baseball – Gary McCoy is a strength, conditioning and high performance coach who has worked with several Major League Baseball organizations.
Episode #13 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: A Conversation With Long-Time MLB Exec Dan Evans About What’s Right With Baseball and What Could Be Better – Evans is a former general manager for the Los Angeles Dodgers and is currently a consultant for Go the Distance Baseball, which owns the Field of Dreams movie site.
Episode #12 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: A Fun Chat With Dan Gutman, Author of the Baseball Card Adventure Series for Kids
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.
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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.
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