Why College is Still Important for Future Pro Athletes

Why College is Still Important for Future Pro Athletes


All of us kids that played sports growing up dreamed of making it to the big leagues. Baseball, basketball, football, soccer… Come on, you know you did! You imagined how cool it would be to step out into the stadium, getting a rush from hearing the thousands of screaming fans.

Let’s not forget dreaming about the mega-mansion for a crib and all those pimped out rides we’d own.

Then there’s the reality…

A Career in Football

Imagine spending your whole life working towards a career in football. You start playing in Pop Warner or other youth leagues at 5 years old. From there forward, pretty much through your whole entire school life… Kindergarten to elementary school, to middle school, to high school, to college… You’ll live, play, eat, sleep and dream football.

If you’re lucky – extremely lucky – like winning the lottery lucky… You might make it to a professional team in the NFL.

What are the Odds?

To make it to the NFL from college, only 1.5% of college football players make it to the pros. Even that doesn’t mean you actually play, you’ll just make the roster. Want to bypass college ball and make the jump from high school straight to the pros? The odds are only 0.2%.

How Long is the Ride?

Once upon a time it averaged about 5 years. Between 2008-2014 the length has dropped to a tad above half that.

According to an article by the Wall Street Journal in 2016, the average career length of an NFL player has dropped to approximately 2.66 years.


We can get all starry-eyed at the enormous sums top pro football players are bringing home, but starter salaries are less impressive. In fact, football players make less money than athletes from other major pro sports. According to Forbes, for the 2015 season the average NFL salary was 2.1 million.

What about other pro sports?


The average length of a major-league baseball career is around 5.6 years. The average salary for 2016 was 4.4 million.


A loop-shooting career in the NBA only last about 4.8 years on average. The average salary for the NBA for the 2016-17 season was 6.2 million.


The career length of handling a puck in the NHL averages 5.6 years. The average NHL salary for the 2015-16 season was 2.9 million.


The average career length in the MLS is approximately 2.5 years. The average salary for the 2016 season was $308,969.

Why being a pro athlete might suck?

Obviously, the odds are highly against along career. Your career may only last a season or two. It’s going to be a very brief ride.

If your earnings are on the low end, 300 K to 2 million – it’s not enough to retire on. It’s not like you’re going to be set for life. Your agent, legal team and other people around you are going to siphon a lot of that money right off the top, so your net after expenses and taxes is going to be a lot lower.

So kids… Put a lot of focus on whatever major you elect in college. Learn it well and become good at it. That’s going to be your real career after you finish sports. You’re definitely going to need something else to fall back on!