Why should we have to go to class if we came here to play FOOTBALL, we ain’t come to play SCHOOL, classes are POINTLESS!!!!!
—Cardale Jones, Twitter: October 5, 2012
It’s everyone’s dream to play in the NFL, but at this point in my life I think it is best for me to stay in school and get my degree.
-Cardale Jones, January 15th 2015
After being thrust into action after season injuries to Heisman trophy candidates Braxton Miller and J.T. Barrett, Cardale Jones led Ohio State to their 8th National Championship victory dominating the Oregon Ducks 42-20. After his improbable rise to prominence, Jones had the opportunity to enter the NFL Draft. Some pundits believed Jones could have been drafted as high as the first round. But Jones decided to return to school and complete his degree, saying it was the most important priority in his life. This shows Jones’s maturity in realizing what most black collegiate athletes and many other African-American males who are diligently working for a collegiate scholarship that they hope will lead to a professional career and millions of dollars have not; education will take them further than athletics.
It is widely acknowledged by many that college football and basketball are in minor league systems for the NFL and NBA, respectively. As a result, there are innumerable young black men who do not treat the student portion of their student-athlete status with the time, effort, and attention it warrants. Unfortunately, many of these young men consider college as a spring board to the NBA or NFL. Cardale Jones’ 2012 comment highlights the tendency of many young men to view their enrollment in higher education institutions as a means to improving their athletic abilities, not increasing their mental power. They fail to recognize it as an unprecedented opportunity to obtain a first class education free of charge. These young men do not realize that the prospects of a long, illustrious athletic career are statistically slim, if not nearly impossible.
To support my assertion let’s look at a few statistics:
- There are over 90 thousand collegiate football players who play at various levels. Of that ninety thousand only 254 players are drafted in the annual NFL draft.
- The average NFL career span is less than three years.
- There are nearly eighteen thousand collegiate basketball players. Of those athletes, only 46 are drafted; approximately one in 75 players, or 1.2 percent.
- The average NBA career is less than 5 years.
Simply put, the chance that a college athlete, let alone an aspiring high school athlete, will have a lengthy professional career is minuscule. These young men would seemingly have a better chance of winning the lottery than becoming a professional athletics.
Cardale Jones’s maturity is something that should be applauded in the African American community. The fact that he is bypassing the opportunity to make millions of dollars to finish his degree is an example that many other young African American male athletes should follow. Because if he, god forbid, has a debilitating injury that ends his career he will have something tangible to ensure that he will be able to take care of himself and his family.
©Manhood, Race, and Culture 2015