By Matthew Barnes, Contributing Writer
If you are unfamiliar with the name Josh Rosen, that’s okay, because this star quarterback at UCLA has the potential to become a household name this upcoming season.
CBS Sports lists him as the third-ranked quarterback prospect for the 2018 NFL Draft, due to his long arm and solid frame. However, he is currently facing controversy for challenging the fact that college athletes must attend class like any other student.
In a recent interview with Bleacher Report, Rosen said, “Look, football and school don’t go together. Trying to do both is like trying to do two full-time jobs. There are guys who have no business being in school, but they’re here because this is the path to the NFL.”
He went on to say, ”Human beings don’t belong in school with our [student athlete] schedules,” and that universities should help them more, instead of just finding ways to keep them eligible.
Now I don’t mean to sound harsh, but I truly do not feel sorry for Rosen. As a matter of fact, I think college athletes should feel highly lucky that they have school as a back-up plan.
According to an NCAA poll updated in March 2017, only two percent of college football players make the NFL. However, ESPN analyst Mike Golic claimed that 85 percent of college football players think they are going to make the league. Now, imagine all the 18-year-old students whose only career plan is to be the next Tom Brady. Imagine them not having to pursue a degree, but just playing their sport.
Maybe they end up in the 98 percent who don’t make it. Now they have two options: enroll back at a university to pursue a degree, or continue trying to make the league while bringing in little to no income. If they do enroll in school, all the athletic scholarships they received will likely be gone, and they will be severely in debt due to student loans.
Rosen will likely be in that one percent that makes it, so it would seem easy for him to say these statements knowing he will probably not use his economics degree after college. But what about a second-string player, or a star player who suffers a career-ending injury that puts him out of the sport? Their degree could be all they have to lean on. Athletes need a back-up plan, because their field of work is one of the most competitive there is.
To be honest, they are put in an ideal position to succeed. According to the NCAA’s website, in order to uphold collegiate eligibility at the Division 1 level, athletes must maintain at least a 2.0 GPA in required courses. It is not unreasonable to expect C-level work out of college athletes. In addition, there are so many tutoring services that guide them to the finish line. According to their website, Rosen’s school, UCLA, actually has a Peer Tutoring Program tailored towards athletes getting assistance from fellow students.
Also, many athletes come to school on huge scholarships, so if their dreams don’t pan out they will at least be debt-free. As a college student, those benefits sound amazing.
The main thing that bothers me about these statements is how entitled they sound. Does Rosen realize how much practice and energy goes into being in marching band, or maintaining a musical scholarship such as the orchestra? According to a study by Georgetown’s Center of Education, more than 70 percent of college students are working while enrolled, with about 25 percent working full-time. Maybe someone should tell Rosen this.
Athletes aren’t the only students who are stressed at juggling life’s responsibilities; most college students feel that way, but complain less.
I want athletes to be treated well. But Josh Rosen needs to realize that the term is college-athlete. If you want to just be an athlete, play arena football. Get the silver spoon out of your mouth and stop expecting colleges to abandon their rules and regulations so you have to do less work. Life is work, and that’s something we all need to accept at some point.