A Gator goes pro too early

Published: Saturday, January 15, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 14, 2005 at 9:49 p.m.
It was very disheartening to read that Channing Crowder is going to declare early for the NFL draft. I understand that it is the goal of most players to make it to the NFL and make millions of dollars. However, no one ever seems to consider all of the other consequences of leaving early.
First of all, it sends a message to children that it is OK to quit school early as long as money is involved.
Also, in most careers, you must obtain a college degree before you can become a professional. When will professional sports fall in line and demand that their athletes have a college degree before they can play at the professional level?
Third, it is disappointing and possibly costly to the universities and coaches that believed in these players and agreed to bring them into their programs to begin with. Coaches build their teams based upon positions. By leaving early, these players put huge holes in their coaches' rosters.
In 1997, the Gators might have had another shot at a national championship had Reidel Anthony and Ike Hilliard come back for their senior season. I am sure the University of Florida, as well as retail stores that carry Gator products, would have benefited from the monies that come with winning a second championship.
I hate to say it because he went to Tennessee, but my hat goes off to Peyton Manning, as well as players like Jason White of Oklahoma, for coming back their senior year and finishing what they promised on national signing day.
Mike Degory, thank you for being a true Gator and committing to return your senior year. I look forward to seeing you on the field next year. Go Gators!
Trey Wilhelm, Gainesville

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