[Ed. – Virginia Tech?]
But there are only 1,700 NFL players, compared to 50,000 in helmets in college and four million youth and prep. Nearly all the social impact of football occurs outside the NFL. It’s youth, high school, and college players society should worry about.
Big college football programs graduate just 55 percent of players, compared a to 68-percent graduation rate for male students overall at the same universities. Florida State, this season’s champion, graduates 58 percent of its football players, versus 71 percent for male Florida State students overall. Football players typically get five years instead of four, and don’t pay for college; meanwhile, running out of money is the most common reason non-athlete undergraduates fail to complete degrees. So college players ought to graduate at a higher rate than students as a whole. Instead, nearly half are used up and thrown away—sold by their coaches a daydream of the NFL, when just three percent of big-college players ever take a snap in the pros. …
Big-college football with strong graduation rates is not pie-in-the-sky. My new book [Ed. – Inevitable.] The King of Sports spends two chapters detailing how Virginia Tech has posted 20 consecutive winning seasons and played in the top bowl games, yet graduates 77 percent of its players. Virginia Tech caters to typical students, not the rare person who can both play football and be accepted by the admissions department at Notre Dame or Stanford. The Virginia Tech example shows big-college football really can promote education—if the university cares.
At the high-school level, football is a great experience, teaching self-discipline and teamwork. But too many programs operate like cults, pulling teens away from the classroom while instilling a sense of BMOC entitlement that backfires in senior year when recruiters don’t call. One varsity player in 50 is offered either an NCAA scholarship or “ath admit” to college. Many wake up in December of senior year to discover their GPAs are too low, or extracurriculars too few, for regular college admission.