In a Bleacher Report interview published Tuesday, UCLA QB Josh Rosen made waves for one quote in particular. He was speaking at length about the inherent conflicts between playing major college football and being a full-time student, and he said:
Look, football and school don't go together. They just don't. 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. There's no other way. Then there's the other side that says raise the SAT eligibility requirements. OK, raise the SAT requirement at Alabama and see what kind of team they have. You lose athletes and then the product on the field suffers.
Some people have pulled out the Alabama portion of that quote and interpreted it as Rosen saying, more or less, “Look at these dumb Bama kids.” That doesn’t appear to be what he’s saying, though, when you zoom out and read it in context.
However, one fellow QB has joined the debate by referencing his own time as a college star:
You might recall that time Cardale Jones stirred up a commotion in 2012, when he was a long way from seeing the field, by tweeting the following:
Note the Instagram hashtag there. Jones got drafted and came back to finish his degree at Ohio State this spring. He’s turned his football talent into a college degree and a pro salary, and that’s excellent.
Many players don’t end up with either of those, though, and it’s not always about personal initiative, despite what some outsiders think.
Rosen has a point about the structure of the pre-NFL career path being weirdly tied to academia. Jones has a point about the benefits that are available for those who are able to make both work. It’s probably best to listen to both athletes, no matter which angle the rest of us are inclined toward.