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Higher ed: The rational decision

Melvin B. Miller

The college football season is over except for the bowl games. College seniors have had their opportunities to attract the notice of the National Football League scouts. For many athletes, the primary objective of college attendance was to demonstrate their athletic prowess. An NFL contract is attractive as an avenue to affluence for young men from families with modest income.

Today’s multimillion dollar contracts inspire many athletically talented college students to dream of life in the NFL. However, the road to professional football stardom can quickly become more like a nightmare. According to reports, about 80,000 students play college football every year. Only about 1,500 athletes are considered to be of sufficient quality to be scouted. That is only about 2 percent of the total college football rosters.

Prospects of being chosen in the draft are then reduced to about 300 players who are invited to participate in the annual NFL combine in February. There are also regional combines for players who did not get invited to the NFL event. The purpose of these combines is to test the athletes for strength, speed, agility and positions skills.

Then comes the draft, a seven-round player selection process in which each team, in accordance with a pre-designated order, chooses their players. This 250-player selection process leaves many undrafted athletes to establish impermanent arrangements with interested teams. However, all of the multimillion dollar contracts go to the drafted players.

It is not easy to reflect on the downside when a great opportunity seems to beckon. For young men considering life as a professional football player, it is nonetheless important to consider the difficulty of being chosen and that life in the NFL is usually for a very short period of time. The attention of young men should remain focused on academic achievement or the development of technical skills. That might be all to sustain you in the long run.