Luck to Stay at Stanford

So reports ESPN:  Andrew Luck staying at Stanford

"I am committed to earning my degree in architectural design from Stanford University and am on track to accomplish this at the completion of the spring quarter of 2012," Luck said in a statement.

If that is what he wants to do, it is certainly his right and I wish him well.  Certainly the college professor in me applauds his decision to finish his education.

However, he was basically a lock for the #1 overall pick (and if he didn’t want to play for Carolina, there is always the Eli Manning/John Elway model to pursue), and it is impossible to be a in a better position than that (there is nowhere to go but down, just ask Matt Leinart).  Further, the new CBA may put a rookie cap into place.  As such, I am puzzled by the move.

FILED UNDER: Quick Takes, Sports
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. Franklin says:

    Football’s not forever, and apparently money isn’t his primary motivation in life. Good for him.

  2. mantis says:

    Good for him, indeed. What if he were injured in the first season and unable to play again? Then he’d be a poor, has-been college football star with no college degree selling cars somewhere or something.

    A quote from his father to ESPN:

    “Call him old school,” Oliver Luck said. “He comes from a faction of people who believe you go to college to pursue your degree.”

    Damn right.

  3. sam says:

    “As such, I am puzzled by the move.”

    I’m puzzled that someone like that would be an NFL draft pick today.

  4. What if he were injured in the first season and unable to play again? Then he’d be a poor, has-been college football star with no college degree selling cars somewhere or something.

    You do realize that last year’s overall 1st pick, QB Sam Bradford had a contract that guaranteed him $50 million and that Luck would have likely received a similar deal this year, but that in 2012 the guaranteed money will very likely be considerably lower than that.

    I am guessing that with $50 million in the bank he would have been able to go back to school should he have gotten hurt in his first year.

  5. mantis says:

    You do realize that last year’s overall 1st pick, QB Sam Bradford had a contract that guaranteed him $50 million and that Luck would have likely received a similar deal this year, but that in 2012 the guaranteed money will very likely be considerably lower than that.

    Ok, I admit I don’t follow the NFL (or sports generally) very closely, but do teams seriously guarantee such salaries regardless of performance, injury, etc.? If he were to be injured in his first NFL game and unable to ever play again, would he really have a contract that still guaranteed him $50 million (or thereabouts)?

  6. @Mantis:

    Yes, had Luck gone to the NFL he would have almost certainly have been the #1 overall pick. If he got the same deal (and they tend to go up a bit each year) as QB Sam Bradford (who was picked #1 overall by the St. Louis Rams in 2010), he would have signed a $78 million deal, $50 million of which would have been guaranteed. There are often some accounting gimmicks that mean that the number would be perhaps lower, but even with that in mind, we are talking instant wealth that he would have retained even if injured.

    Further, the NFL is about to renegotiate its collective bargaining agreement, a major component of which is the rookie salary scale. It is likely that future rookies will make less than current one, meaning that if Luck is in a similar position next year, that he may receive $10 of millions less than he might get this year.

    Further, on the injury scenario, if he gets badly injured in college this year, he will have ruined any chance at an NFL career. Or, if he plays poorly, he might drop in the draft rankings.

    A few years ago, USC QB Matt Leinart was projected to be the top pick in the draft, but he stayed in college. His draft stock fell and the difference in contract between where he was picked and where he would have been picked ended up costing him, IIRC, at least $10 million.

    So again: I find the decision puzzling. If that is what he wants to do, more power to him, but still.

    I highly value education, but if one of my polisci students comes to my office tomorrow and tells me that they have been offered a job that will guarantee them millions of dollars if they quite school now (and forgo or postpone their degrees) I will advise them to take the job and worry about their BA later.

  7. Dave says:

    If Luck really cared about education he’d hit the NFL, take the $50 mil, finish his degree during the offseason, then donate 10% of his income to Stanford for some historical sciencey thinking facility or something.

  8. mantis says:

    Well, being less ignorant about the situation than I was before, I now find the decision puzzling as well.

    And I think NFL teams take some damned big risks in signing new players with such contracts.

    Thanks for clearing it up for me, Steven. I no doubt could have just looked it up myself, so I appreciate you taking the time to disabuse me of my incorrect assumptions.

  9. @Mantis:

    No problem. Overall it speaks to the massive amounts of money that NFL teams make.

    But yes, it is a lot of risk and that is partly why the rookie salaries are likely to go down, although they will stilll be remarkably high.

  10. tom p says:

    Blaine Gabbert at #1!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ( MizzoU )

    Seriously, I don’t understand Luck’s thinking here.

  11. Nightrider says:

    If one of us missed on on $10 million, that would be a tragic life changing big deal. But if you’re going to make tens or even hundreds of millions soon, then you’re going to have more money than you could possibly need. The purpose of having so much money is so you can do whatever you want. Luck wants to live the life of a college student for another year. And maybe he’ll take out an insurance policy from Lloyd’s that assures he’ll be a multi-millionaire either way.

  12. Davebo says:

    “You do realize that last year’s overall 1st pick, QB Sam Bradford had a contract that guaranteed him $50 million and that Luck would have likely received a similar deal this year, but that in 2012 the guaranteed money will very likely be considerably lower than that.”

    You do realize that though he might have been drafted #1 overall he couldn’t be signed by a team until the new CBA was approved and at that point he would be signed under the terms of that agreement.

  13. You do realize that though he might have been drafted #1 overall he couldn’t be signed by a team until the new CBA was approved and at that point he would be signed under the terms of that agreement.

    That is not as I understand it (and certainly is not the way it is being reported).

    There is currently no cap (hasn’t been all year) and these teams will have to sign these players to contracts to get them into minicamps (and training camp, for that matter). As such, the any new rookie scale will not accrue to this draft, as said scale does not exist.

  14. @Davebo: It looks like you are correct about the rookies and the CBA.

    Of course, even under new rules, the #1 overall pick will be an instant mulit-millionaire, but the numbers are unlikely to be as high as what Bradford got.