Since 1990, 479 underclassmen have applied for the draft, and 332 of them were actually drafted. Seventy percent got selected, which doesn't sound bad until you stop and think about the 30 percent who gave up the opportunity for a college degree and landed up with a rookie minimum contract ... or no contract at all. Only 131 were selected in the first round.
I can see the rationale these young men considered when they left school. In my opinion, only 27 percent of the underclassmen who declared for the draft since 1990 made a good decision about their football careers.
But forget football for a second. All of these 479 young people quit on their education. In my 10 years in the NFL, I didn't see many of them return for a degree. They all talk about returning to school some day, but without a scholarship, the study halls and the tutoring they had when on the college football team, it is unrealistic to think it will ever happen.
Here are some numbers to ponder: A college graduate who never makes a living in the NFL will get cut, go home and on average make over $600,000 more money over his chosen career than the guy without a degree who gets cut. These players are abandoning a free college education to go pro even though the chances of lasting four years in the NFL is less than 20 percent.