Professional / Student Athletes
Are the professional athletes who play for our NFL teams (and other professional sports) really former student athletes or did they just attend school on dollars paid by others, including taxpayers and other students?
What kind of an education did, and do, these players actually get? What do they learn beside how to be better athletes? Do they attend the same classes other students attend, or do they attend classes especially set up for student athletes?
Many of them never graduate.
Los Angeles is currently in the hunt for an NFL franchise to call its own. Personally, I think our two current “professional” football teams are sufficient, but what do I know? In the running are three teams which used to call Los Angeles home: the San Diego Chargers, the Oakland Raiders and the Saint Louis Rams. Why we would want any of these back again is beyond me.
I ventured to the San Diego Chargers website and looked to see if I could find out anything about the education their players received while in college. After all, if you had a team composed entirely, or almost entirely, of college graduates, wouldn’t you want to brag about it?
The only place I could find any information about the education of the people in the Charger organization was their Media Guide. As you might expect those in charge of the organization and its finances were highly educated. The players . . . not so much.
Following is a list of coaches and players and their college majors and degrees. I may have missed a few but the list below contains the information I found while looking at the Media Guide rather than watching football.
Maybe you’ll come to the same conclusion about “student” athletes I did.
San Diego Chargers
General Manager — Tom Telesco — John Carrol University, 1995, degree in business management
Head Coach — Mike McCoy — University of Utah “graduated”
Asst — John Pagano — Mesa State, degree in business marketing
Asst — Frank Reich — Maryland, graduation and degree not mentioned
Asst — Kevin Spencer — He earned his bachelor’s degree from Springfield College and a Master’s from Cortland State.
Asst — Joe D’Alessandris — Bachelor and Masters from Western Carolina University
Asst — Fred Graves — Utah, degree in business
Asst — Don Johnson — Butler Community College and Jersey City State, no degree mentioned
Asst — Kent Johnston — graduated from Stephen F. Austin University and he earned a master’s in physical education from Alabama
Asst — Pete Metzelaars — Wabash College, degree in economics
Asst — Ron Milus — University of Washington, graduation and degree not mentioned
Asst — Mike Nolan — University of Oregon, graduation and degree not mentioned, “Nolan began his coaching career in 1981 as a graduate assistant at Oregon.”
Asst — Nick Sirianni — Mount Union, graduation and degree not mentioned
Asst — Ollie Wilson — Springfield College, BA, MA in physical education
Asst — Craig Aukerman — University of Findlay, degree in elementary education
Asst — Andrew Dees — Syracuse, degree in child and family studies
Asst — Bobby King — UTEP, graduation and degree not mentioned
Asst — Rick Lyle — Missouri, degree in parks, recreation and tourism
Asst — Greg Williams — North Carolina, degree in sociology
Asst — Shane Steichen — UNLV, degree in journalism and media studies
Asst — Chris Shula — bachelor degree from Miami of Ohio and masters in education from Oklahoma
Asst — Mark Ridgley — Pittsburgh, degree in economics, masters in education from Central Michigan
Jahleel Addae — Central Michigan, major/degree not mentioned
Keenan Allen — University of California, African-American studies major, degree not mentioned
Jerry Attaochu — Georgia Tech, science, technology and culture major, degree not mentioned
Joe Barksdale — LSU, general studies major, degree not mentioned
Donald Brown — Connecticut, exercise science degree
Donald Butler — Washington, construction management and business major, degree not mentioned
Ryan Carrethers — Arkansas State, interdisciplinary studies degree
Kellen Clemens — Oregon, business administration degree
Kavell Conner — Clemson, sociology degree
Richard Crawford — SMU, major and degree not mentioned
Chris Davis — Auburn, public administration degree
Greg Ducre — Washington, sociology major, degree not mentioned
King Dunlap — Auburn, adult education degree
Brandon Flowers — Virginia Tech, sociology major, degree not mentioned
Malcom Floyd — Wyoming, health sciences major, degree not mentioned
D. J. Fluker — Alabama, health studies degree
Orlando Franklin — Miami, psychology degree
Antonio Gates — Kent State, general studies major, degree not mentioned
Ladarius Green — Louisiana-Lafayette, degree in finance
Chris Hairston — Clemson, management major, degree not mentioned
Melvin Ingram — South Carolina, degree in African-American studies
Dontrelle Inman — Virginia, digital art major, degree not mentioned
David Johnson — Arkansas State, degree in physical therapy
Stevie Johnson — Kentucky, sociology major, degree not mentioned
Jacoby Jones — Lane College, Tenn., interdisciplinary studies major, degree not mentioned
Cordarro Law — coaching education major, degree not mentioned
Sean Lissemore — William & Mary, kinesiology major, degree not mentioned
Corey Liuget — Illinois, sociology major, degree not mentioned
Ricardo Mathews — Cincinnati, criminal justice major, degree not mentioned
Kyle Miller — Mount Union, health and physical education major, degree not mentioned
Nick Novak — Maryland, degree in kinesiology
Branden Oliver — Buffalo, completed last two classes for a degree in sociology
Tenny Palepoi — Utah, degree in sociology
David Paulson — Oregon, business major, degree not mentioned
Austin Pettis — Boise State, communications major, degree not mentioned
John Phillips — Virginia — degree in sociology
Kendall Reyes — Connecticut, degree in communications
Philip Rivers — North Carolina State, degree in business
Patrick Robinson — Florida State, social science major, degree not mentioned
Trevor Robinson — Notre Dame, management/consulting major, degree not mentioned
Lowell Rose — Tulsa, communications major, degree not mentioned
Mike Scifres — Western Illinois, communications and broadcasting degree
Brad Sorensen — Southern Utah, economics major, degree not mentioned
Damion Square — Alabama, major and degree not mentioned
Darrell Stuckey — Kansas, degree in communications
Manti Te’o — Notre Dame, graphic design degree
Johnnie Troutman — Penn State, African and African-American studies degree
Mitch Unrein — Wyoming, criminal justice degree
Jason Verrett — Texas Christian, sports broadcasting major, degree not mentioned
Chris Watt — Notre Dame, marketing degree
Eric Weddle — Utah, special education major, degree not mentioned
Kenny Wiggins — Fresno State, communications major, degree not mentioned
Steve Williams — California, sociology major, degree not mentioned
Tourek Williams — Florida International, sport and fitness major, degree not mentioned
Jimmy Wilson — Montana, business major, degree not mentioned
Mike Windt — Cincinnati, degree in psychology
Danny Woodhead — Chadron State, math education major, degree not mentioned
Melvin Gordon — Wisconsin, life science communications major, degree not mentioned
Denzel Perryman — Miami, Sociology major, degree not mentioned
Craig Mager — Texas State, physical therapy degree
Kyle Emanuel — North Dakota State, degree in construction management
Darius Philon — Arkansas, enrolled in college of arts and science, degree not mentioned
The list goes on, but I got tired after the sixty or so above. I may have spelled a name or two incorrectly or missed a degree or two, but on the whole I believe the data is correct–at least, as it was laid out in the Media Guide.
I realize that in today’s world we treat entertainers, and professional athletes are only entertainers, in a manner that is different from how we treat others. I do not, however, believe that we should give them or their organizations a free ride. If they go to tax-supported schools, they should take real classes designed to give them a real education–in something other than the sport they wish to play. College should not be a taxpayer supported minor league for the NFL or the NBA.
They should get an education that will prepare them for life, not just a couple of good years in the professional leagues before they are worn out and tossed away.
Perhaps this article would be instructive–The cost of a career: NFL players and bankruptcy