In collegiate athletics, education sometimes tends to come secondhand. Athletic representatives make sure to say something like, “It’s student, then athlete. Education comes first.”
To a lot of people, I am sure they feel this way too. It seems that sports are what motivate athletes to get to and through college, which is fine. We all have our muse.
Specifically in baseball, my issue is when the extremely talented athletes are in high school. There is often debate over whether or not they should apply to college and earn a scholarship or train to be drafted and go pro.
If you are good enough, you will be sought after and will see your name pop up on draft day. Those who get drafted out of high school are big names who play in a professional league long enough to secure a stable future for themselves and their family.
Take Mike Trout for example. He graduated high school in 2009 and was drafted in the first round of the MLB draft by the Los Angeles Angels. Ten years later he is still with them and signed the largest contract in sports history at $426 million.
Trout was set for life after his first year with the Angels. Others aren’t as lucky.
Players who get drafted out of high school miss out on an education. They are taking a chance on themselves in hopes of being successful in the major leagues. If they fail and aren’t making those starting positions or receive a career-ending injury, what do they do, just go home? They don’t have a degree and probably can’t get a decent job but getting a late start and going to college is always an option.
Last summer, No. 1 draft pick Brady Aiken agreed to a $6.5 million contract out of high school with the Houston Astros. After the draft, they found an abnormality in his elbow. The Astros hesitated and lowered his contract amount. Aiken declined the offer and skipped out of the major league. Luckily, he is young and still has a lot of options open to him.
When players are drafted out of college, they have their degree to fall back on. Some may see college as a waste of time if they are exceptionally talented, but others see a degree as security if they aren’t.
Come on, only 5.6% of high school baseball players eventually make it to the MLB, according to Bleacher Report.
It could be the paranoia in me coming out — I always have a backup plan. For most of these athletes, school is theirs.