Is It Really Cool to Stay in School?
Sullinger and Luck Take Risks by Returning
Originally Aired: Tuesday, March 29, 2011. This is a part of the 93-Second Sports Shot series. 93-Second Sports Shots air weekday evenings at 6pm.
It appears Ohio St. superstar freshman Jared Sullinger will return for his sophomore season after all. Sullinger's dad confirmed the freshman's announcement to return to Ohio St. next year. The Buckeye was projected in various mock drafts to go in the top 5. His decision comes several months after Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck, the likely number 1 pick in the upcoming NFL Draft, chose to stay in school for another year. Both essentially declined millions of dollars, risking that that money will still be there for them a year from now.
It's admirable to see top athletes stay in school, although Sullinger probably will not end up staying at Ohio St. for four years. Nonetheless, you can't help but wonder if Luck and Sullinger are hurting themselves by staying in school. You can't make much more money next year than you would as a top 3 or 4 draft pick right now. Matt Leinart several years ago stayed in school when he could have been the top pick in the NFL Draft, only to fall to number 10 after his senior season. That being said, staying in school sends a good message and is good for the fan because it improves the quality of both the college and professional games.
It will be interesting to see if other top college players in future years follow in Luck and Sullinger's footsteps. I suspect the answer will be no, especially if, as is very likely, one or both are picked much lower in next year's draft than they would have been in this year's. Both also come from relatively well-off families, making it easier for them to stay in school. Nonetheless, we can only hope their stocks rise next year, and both are rewarded for getting more education and improving their skills.