Should He Stay or Should He Go? The Case For Braxton Miller Leaving
By Tony Gerdeman
COLUMBUS, Ohio — To stay or go? When it comes to a college athlete making a decision about staying in school or turning professional, there is a vat of factors that are involved, and what might be important to one person may not be important to another. Buckeye quarterback Braxton Miller is now weighing his own options on whether or not to enter the NFL Draft, and what will be the ultimate decider is anybody's guess – but that won't keep anybody from speculating.
Photo by Dan Harker
One common procedure for prospects is to write down pros and cons for leaving. Then once they've tabulated their findings, most ask for their mother's blessing for whatever decision they've come to. For Miller, the pros and cons for staying or leaving are his alone, but if we put ourselves in his shoes, we can maybe gain a better understanding of his thought process.
Pros of Leaving
1. Get paid to play football. Most anybody who has ever played college football has done so with a desire to continue playing professionally. That doesn't mean the majority is good enough to do so, but if you are, who wouldn't want to realize that dream as quickly as possible? Especially if you can help your family out by doing it.
2. No more school. Think what you want of this, but how many of you wanted to go to more school in your lives? School is a pain for normal people, so just imagine what it's like for college athletes and their time requirements. Do you think it was fun preparing for a Big Ten Championship during Finals Week?
3. Be financially set for the distant future. Even if he is a seventh-round pick, Miller's initial contact would be around four years and $2.2 million. Now, that wouldn't feature much of a signing bonus, but his base salary over those four years would range from $420,000 up to $690,000 in his final year. That contract wouldn't be guaranteed, but as long as he's on the roster, he'll be getting paid. If he's a third-round pick, you're looking at a deal worth $500,000 - $800,000 more over the life of the contract, with a mid-six figure signing bonus.
4. Injury concerns. It only takes one injury to ruin everything for a football player, and considering the money involved with quarterbacks, and the number of hits they take, this is an absolutely legitimate concern. Don't discount the injuries that Miller has suffered through in his career. If the NFL has always been a goal – and we can only assume that it has been – each one of those injuries has probably taken a toll mentally.
5. Money. Sure, we've already mentioned money quite a bit, but considering the dollar figures being talked about, it really cannot be stressed enough. Nobody leaves for the NFL in spite of the money. Really, why does anybody go to college in the first place – to find a job that pays better than the one you had in high school. Money is always the weightiest factor when a player decides to leave, and there is nothing selfish about it. Oftentimes, it can be selfish to turn that money away and actually return to school.
Right now, to say that Miller would be “wise” to return would be judgmental, especially considering the positives involved with leaving. Outsiders might not think it would be smart to leave at this point, but they come from a position of doubt, while Miller comes from a position of belief. He obviously believes that he can play in the NFL, or else he wouldn't even be considering entering the draft a year early.
Even if he isn't ready yet, if he leaves, he'll be one year closer to his second contract, and if he proves to be worthy after year four, then that is when he can begin to cash in.
Braxton Miller has a life-changing decision to make, and he will need to make it by January 15. Buckeye fans are certainly hopeful that his decision will be to return. Miller and his family, however, are hoping that his decision is the proper one.
The Case to Stay - By Tony Gerdeman
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