Losing Your Lunch: Take the Money and Run

Hello Followers.  Hope you’re having a great week.

Today, I continue my solo album-esque series called “Losing Your Lunch.” The name of the game:  Write as much nonsense as possible in 20 minutes, paste it onto the Penguin (Bloguin) Platform….

And fire the stuff into cyberspace…

Today, I take a quick peak at a current football issue that should be instructive to all of us moving forward.   Read on.

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Followers, when it comes to WSU, one thing is clear:  Whenever we have an underclassmen who has a really great Junior year, they head to the Pros.  We saw it first with Rosey—who went #1 in the 1989 Supplemental Draft.  From there, Bledsoe and Leaf followed.

Two years back, Klay Thompson took his league scoring title to becoming a Lottery Pick in the NBA draft.

And while the jury is still out on how good that 1995 team might have been had Bledsoe stayed, I think there’s little doubt as to how good Ken Bone’s Cougars would have been last year had Klay (and probably Casto) stayed to play along with a Brock Motum kid that was ready to break out.    They would have danced.

And really, that’s kind of where the trap comes in:  When a star player’s “big decision” coincides with a returning nucleus of players who figure to be pretty darn good.   Whenever such an event occurs, we all hear virtually the same talking points from the home fan base.

“(insert name)  just isn’t ready yet for the next level.”

“(insert name)  draft stock will only improve with another year of seasoning.”

“If (insert name)  cares more about his school than himself, he’ll stay.”

(insert name)  needs to understand that you’re only in college once.  The pros will always be there.”

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Over the past few years, we’ve seen these same types of lines/arguments come up in spades when it comes to underclassmen quarterbacks–such as when  Jake Locker decided to stay for his senior year when leaving after his junior year would have made him a top 3 pick (many had him slated as #1). 

While Locker wound up being taken with the 8th pick in the 1st round the next year, his decision to stay meant that he entered the league under a different collective bargaining agreement. The result:  Jake lost between 20 and 40 MILLION dollars because he stayed.  And while Jake says that the money doesn’t matter to him, the “new economy” coupled with what we’re seeing about the mental and brain health of football players suggests the money should have mattered.  In fact, it should have mattered a lot.

And now we are seeing the same type of deal with a Mr. Matt Barkley. 

As announced yesterday, Barkley’s injured shoulder has rendered him unable to participate in the NFL combine.   For those of you who don’t remember, Barkley was slated as a top 3 pick last year.  Now, following a disappointing and injury plagued season—one which saw the Trojans begin the year ranked 1 and finish unranked—Barkley looks like a late first round pick AT BEST.  Most think he’s second round material.    Again, MILLIONS of dollars have potentially been lost to him and his family as a result of his decision to “enjoy the college experience” for one more year.

The conclusion in all of this is simple:  Those who are ready to jump to the pros need to do so as soon as they are able.  Coaches should support that and so should fans.  I’ve said before that I thought it was a crime when Sark and Kiffin got up there and claimed that their kids were making good decisions, when in fact, the decisions they were making were risky at best, catostrophic at worst.

So, followers, if for some reason Mr. Conor Halliday goes out and throws for 5,000 yards during his junior campaign in Mike Leach's Air Raid, there will be many out there who will look at our roster, the number of returning players, and will beseech him to return for what could be a legendary senior campaign.  But don’t you be one of them. (and please keep me from being one of them either!)

For all of these kids, let’s all remember that, all else equal, it’s best for these kids to take the money and run.

That’s all I got for today. The clock just hit 21 minutes, and I’ve lost my lunch once again.

Go Cougs!

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