NFL Draft Impact on College Teams

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By Ashley Thompson

The college football off season is full of drama, with many top players deciding to leave Alabama and Auburn early to jump to the NFL.

Signing bonuses, endorsement deals and hefty contracts make leaving college early easy for some athletes. But is there any incentive to finish out the four years before turning pro?

Former Alabama and NFL cornerback Mike Washington played four years in college before getting drafted in the third round. He says the money in pro sports today makes it difficult for young athletes to say NO to the draft.

"Third round, fourth round, fifth round, second round was probably getting paid the same thing back in those days," he says. "Which was not anything compared to what these guys get and so you know, if somebody offers you 32 million dollars to come play some football, you need to go."

Alabama State University Head Football Coach Reggie Barlow also played college football four years before getting drafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars. But he says he would not discourage student athletes from leaving early if they had an opportunity.

"Probably 100 percent of these student athletes that sign scholarships that come here, the ultimate goal for them is to obviously make it to the NFL," he says.

But do athletes hurt their college teams when they declare for the draft early? Sports Analyst John Longshore says not for top-ranked programs, like Auburn and Alabama.

"These two programs are very high profile," he explains. "They've got a lot of great athletes, a lot of depth and they're going to be able to fill these sports. And it's very attractive to these recruits when they see, wow they're churning out a lot of players to the NFL."

And while there's been debate over paying college athletes, Washington says that's not necessarily an incentive to stay.

"One of the coaches was talking about paying them 200 a month and I think that would be a good idea but I don't think there is anything you can actually do to stop them from leaving."

All three who weighed in on this story say they do encourages athletes to go back to school and earn their degrees once they are finished playing.

 

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