The surprising big news coming out of Stanford yesterday was about Andrew Luck staying at Stanford (and not Jim Harbaugh leaving). Luck surprised a lot of people with his decision to remain at Stanford for his senior year, even though he would have likely been the #1 pick of the 2011 NFL draft. Luck’s move is unprecedented, as nearly every college football player projected as a high professional pick has bypassed his senior year.
While there are many people calling Luck crazy for bypassing the immediate NFL money in exchange for another year of college ball (and risk for injury), Luck’s decision is quite refreshing, actually. Assuming he is staying at Stanford for the reasons he has stated (to finish the courses needed for his architecture degree), you can’t help but admire him. In these days of players, coaches, and entire athletic programs under great scrutiny for violations and questionable decision making, it’s hard to find fault with a guy who prioritizes his education over playing football on Sundays. Good for you, Andrew Luck.
It takes more than you might think to make a decision like this – with everyone in the world assuming he was going to the league, we can only imagine how many people have asked Luck about the nature of his decision to postpone the windfall of money the NFL has to offer. Luck’s decision to remain loyal to Stanford, while the world tells him he should leave, requires leadership, confidence, and conviction.
Rarely in life do we see human beings leave “money on the table” in life and postpone big paydays when they don’t have to. Even if Luck doesn’t need the money, most college athletes play their sports with the hopes that they will one day be good enough to play as a professional. To postpone this opportunity is virtually unheard of when you think about it, as almost every student athlete before Luck has quickly taken the money rather than stayed in school.
Some people have already voiced their concerns about the risks Luck faces getting injured next year, potentially jeopardizing his future NFL career (and millions of dollars). Usually I would feel the same way, but with Luck he will soon earn his architecture degree from one of the best colleges in the country in Stanford – making him very marketable future employee. Add to his future degree the remarkable character he has already shown in making the decision to return to his school and fellow teammates, and I think most people will agree that Andrew Luck is going to land on his feet in the future – both on and off the field.