Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

18 Oct 2005

Matt Leinart's Big Score

Josh Levin of Slate argues that Matt Leinart will be a failure as an NFL quarterback. "Leinart looks more like Jason White or Danny Wuerffel—a gutsy Heisman winner who doesn't have the physical ability to succeed when the guys on defense get bigger and faster." I respectfully disagree. Personally, I'll take pocket presence, decision-making skills, and the ability to thread a perfect fade pass on fourth-and-8 to save an undefeated season over a stronger arm and shifty scrambling.

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 18 Oct 2005

57 comments, Last at 19 Oct 2005, 2:10pm by Pat


by B (not verified) :: Tue, 10/18/2005 - 11:33am

Parcells diciple designs a defense to slow down a high-powered offense by controlling the time of possession, game, which was projected to be a blowout, ends up decided by a field-goal. Conclusion, opposing QB not ready for NFL. Somebody page the Hall of Fame, we need to revoke Jim Kelley's membership.

by Pat (not verified) :: Tue, 10/18/2005 - 11:35am

The stupid thing, of course, is that Leinart is an absolute lock for the top QB in the draft. Which means, like the immortal Leaf, Couch, and Akili Smith, that his finances are pretty darned safe even if he does end up sucking as an NFL quarterback. So the vast majority of this article is pretty much crap: Leinart might not be celebrating? Why, because he'll probably get at least $20M handed to him next year? Yah, that'd make me cry.

by big_adventure (not verified) :: Tue, 10/18/2005 - 11:40am

I think this is why Slate is a(llegedly) a news and cultural information site, and not a sports site. Don't get me wrong, I've seen Lienart play, and give him a 30% chance at best of being a very good or better NFL QB, but that's because the game is HARD at the pro levels, and many, many "can't miss" pro prospects do, in fact, miss.

Reggie Bush, for example, is a player who I think is less likely to be worth a high pick next April. This guy doubtless has massive talent and incredible quickness - playing in the PAC-10, against USC's schedule. When USC has typically played good teams, LenDale White has done the heavy lifting, not Bush. Bush is electrifying, but can he handle the load of an every-down back? He never has and never has had to. USC never really has played a team with top speed, who would be able to take away the break-aways from Bush. Perhaps he can handle it - his upside is then Tiki Barber, I guess. If not, well, he's going to be an awfully expensive kick-returner or, worse, a regular visitor to the trainer's office and/or surgeon's table.

Despite the fact that I don't really care for USC, I hope both of these guys can succeed at the next level - because exciting players in the NFL makes for exciting games. But the memories of guys like Peter Warrick come up for Bush - players who absolutely dominated college competition but discovered that their 3 step advantages dried up quickly in the NFL, and didn't have what else it took to become stars.

I would certainly disagree with Levin - I think Leinart will definitely "make it" in the NFL, even if he never becomes a star or better. Top pick, followed by at least a 10 year career of average or above performances seems right, with at least the potential to become a great player. I'm less sold on Bush, though he certainly tantalizes with his potential.


by S Zielinski (not verified) :: Tue, 10/18/2005 - 11:49am

Matt Leinart = Tommy Maddox

by Tarrant (not verified) :: Tue, 10/18/2005 - 11:54am

Every time a top quarterback goes to the draft and is a likely 1st-round pick, columnists only seem to have two opinions:

1. The quarterback is going to be an incarnation of Manning, Favre, Brady, Marino, Montana, Elway and Jesus Christ Himself wrapped up into one body.

2. The quarterback is going to be an incarnation of Ryan Leaf, Akili Smith, and Danny Weurffel wrapped up into one body.

Saying that someone seems like they'll be a solid, but not spectacular, quarterback doesn't sound particularly sexy in a column.

Whatever the odds are of a 1st round QB succeeding, I'd give him about those odds. He has pocket presence, and a great mind for the game going for him, however, I'm not sure about his mobility or ability to take hits (in recent weeks a gameplan of "Hit Leinart early and hard, even if you take penalties, so he gets wobbly the rest of the game" has seemed to work for opponents).

You really never know whether a college QB will do well in the NFL, regardless of their performance. Palmer has turned into a pretty good QB for the Bengals, and I recall the same types of columns about him too.


by James, London (not verified) :: Tue, 10/18/2005 - 11:55am

As a Brit, what offends (but doesn't suprise) me is his academic record. This guy has a scholarship worth tens of thousands to go to BALLROOM DANCING CLASSES? Surely it's time to change the rules (or enforce the existing ones).

If Matt Leinart cannot be arsed to do meaningful study (or anyone else), the throw him out of college and let him take his chances in the NFL. Then use his scholarship to fund someone deserving.

End of Rant.

by pawnking (not verified) :: Tue, 10/18/2005 - 12:03pm

I haven't seen USC go up against a really fast defense all year. I wonder how they will do.

by Tarrant (not verified) :: Tue, 10/18/2005 - 12:04pm


I believe Mr. Leinart, being in his 5th year of school, has already finished all of the coursework requirements for his academic degree at the University (which is all the NCAA asks a player to do), and thus is free to take any class he wants.

This isn't much different from non-football-playing seniors that have finished most of their courses and end up taking things like Art History or Astronomy for Non-Scientists as credit/no credit in their final semesters.


by Sophandros (not verified) :: Tue, 10/18/2005 - 12:08pm

The real Wuerrfel Part Deaux was drafted last year, and wants to be traded from San Diego.

Regarding Bush, people said similar things about Warrick Dunn, Tiki Barber, and other "smallish" backs.

by James, London (not verified) :: Tue, 10/18/2005 - 12:10pm


Thanks for the response. I hadn't realised he was in his 5th year.

Does he still get a scholarship for that year? If so then I think my point stands. If he can graduate then should, and free up the scholarship dollars for more deserving cases.

If he no longer gets a scholarship then I like my humble pie with double cream...

by MDS (not verified) :: Tue, 10/18/2005 - 12:13pm

James, he still gets a scholarship, including room and board money that he uses for his off-campus apartment. Is it corrupt? Sure. Is American college football itself corrupt? Of course. Now please stop reminding me of it. I want to enjoy my Saturdays.

by Sophandros (not verified) :: Tue, 10/18/2005 - 12:17pm


The American College Football system is corrupt. The only truly amateur sports on this side of the pond are intramurals and club sports. Heck, even club sports are becoming more and more professional, but that's another discussion for another time (for reference, see USA Rugby Super League...).

by princeton73 (not verified) :: Tue, 10/18/2005 - 12:17pm

Regarding Bush, people said similar things about Warrick Dunn, Tiki Barber, and other “smallish� backs.

but yhat's the point--if Bush turns out to be "only" as good as Tiki Barber, he'll likely be thought of as a disappointment, whether that's fair or not

as for whether Leinhart is a Manning or a Leaf, I can't believe no one's mentioned the most important factor which will determine that, viz, WHO drafts him

by Tarrant (not verified) :: Tue, 10/18/2005 - 12:20pm

I believe he's still on scholarship, although I have to say that I, too, as an undergraduate on an academic scholarship, took History of Ancient Roman Civilization as a pass/fail course the second semester of my senior year, along with Jogging (yes, around a track) and "Silicon Wafer Processing in a Cleanroom Environment", the latter of which was the only technical/useful course I took that semester. Senioritis, dude! Catch it!

That said, athletic (unlike academic) scholarships cover more than just your classes - they cover room and board, there's a food allowance, a small stipend, etc. I think there's also things that have to do with medical treatment and such, and contractual obligations by the school toward the player (and vice versa) that are included in an athletic scholarship, so there's no way he would play without one (and they'd only be giving the scholarship to another football player anyway).


by Sophandros (not verified) :: Tue, 10/18/2005 - 12:23pm


I wish I went to your University.


True, I took the minimum number of classes that I needed in the second semester of my senior year, and I took one of the Pass/Fail, but JOGGING???

It seems that I missed out on extra party time in school...

by Tarrant (not verified) :: Tue, 10/18/2005 - 12:28pm

And yes, as MDS points out, all of "amateur" (ha ha) college football in the US, at least at the Division I level, is corrupt. There is no BCS conference/equivalent school out there, and that includes the Notre Dames and Stanfords and such of the world, that aren't breaking the rules willfully every single day, and with abandon.

From sliding the standards (even a little), to laughably easy majors and classes, to 24/7 "course tutoring", to a little extra money here and there, to extra "recruiting perks" (those sorority girl 'recruiting coordinators' assigned to most potential recruits at schools to, um, 'show them around personally', may as well be called 'sorostitutes') to "no work" summer jobs, it happens, everyone knows it happens, and anyone that thinks it doesn't is fooling themselves.

Once in a while the NCAA goes on a crusade (or a school really messes up and it gets public) and a school gets caught, there's probation, a few scholarships are cut, maybe an athletic director or president is fired, and then it starts up again immediately.


by MJK (not verified) :: Tue, 10/18/2005 - 12:29pm

Wow, JOGGING hit's a new level in senioritis. I thought I was bad for taking Tennis and Piano my senior year...

by James. London (not verified) :: Tue, 10/18/2005 - 12:29pm

I really should have gone to a US uni. Here in the UK my BSc was 3 years, and no Ballroom dancing or Jogging options in sight. “Silicon Wafer Processing in a Cleanroom Environment" sounds like fun, but we didn't have that either.

by Tarrant (not verified) :: Tue, 10/18/2005 - 12:31pm

Note that Jogging was a 1-unit course. There are numerous courses in the physical education department offered at the campus, all of which are 1-unit (the 1-unit charge offsets any costs that might exist for the course, such as for the instructor). We're not talking 4-units here. The course existed only for improving health and such.


by Tarrant (not verified) :: Tue, 10/18/2005 - 12:33pm

Well that's why, James.

A B.Sc. here usually takes 4 years at most univeristies, which gives you time for some 'fun' classes, particularly the second semester of your senior year :) If you're on scholarship, more the better.

The silicon wafer processing class was fun, but was a good amount of work (that was a class for my major).


by Todd S. (not verified) :: Tue, 10/18/2005 - 12:43pm

Am I the only one who thinks Reggie Bush's upside is Marshall Faulk? (Same color college unis and everything!)

by Andrew (not verified) :: Tue, 10/18/2005 - 12:45pm


That's nothing!

A friend told me of buddies back home in South Carolina who took classes in surfing!

by Pat (not verified) :: Tue, 10/18/2005 - 1:38pm

I took a class in movie watching. Beat that.

I don't see how it's a big deal. I graduated with a degree in physics and astronomy and astrophysics, and I almost ended up with a final semester where I simply needed to take one class, any class. I ended up taking graduate classes to speed up my postdoc program, but it really, really is not a big deal that Leinart's only taking ballroom dancing.

Besides, ballroom dancing is not an easy class. Coming from one who's taken it. Especially if he breaks up with his girlfriend in the middle of it. Bad idea.

by Nate (not verified) :: Tue, 10/18/2005 - 1:40pm

I took bowling and golf my last semester (along with database management systems and operating systems), and this was at a top 5 engineering school (I think it's top five?).

My grades weren't stellar that semester.

by johonny (not verified) :: Tue, 10/18/2005 - 1:45pm

Matt Leinart = Miami # 1 pick

by ABW (not verified) :: Tue, 10/18/2005 - 2:02pm

HAH! Jogging? That requires actual effort. At Oberlin, we had something called the Experimental College(ExCo, as it was more popularly known). They were 1-credit classes taught by ANYONE - a professor, a student, even just some random dude off the street not affiliated with the college in any other way. There were some restrictions on what could be a class, but not much - I taught Ultimate Frisbee one semester, there was a guy from the town who taught Esperanto and similarly useless pursuits. A friend of mine taught "Cultural Criticism in Popular Media" or something like that - yes, that means we sat around in his apartment and watched the Simpsons for credit. Extra-curricular activities during class were not only tolerated but actively encouraged and participated in by the "professor".

by Cal Fan (not verified) :: Tue, 10/18/2005 - 2:07pm

regarding the "waste" of a scholarship on leinhart, consider this: leinhart staying in school results in usc still being a national title contender which leads to better tv coverage, greater probability of bowl cash, and better recruiting (which improves chances of repeating the cycle in future years). i haven't even mentioned ticket sales, which help not just the football program, but also other athletics as usc, including intramurals...

so tell me, would a scholarship to an astrophysics major instead improve the overall quality of life for a random usc student, alum, etc.?

by Pat (not verified) :: Tue, 10/18/2005 - 2:11pm

Hey, you have no idea how much fun we astrophysics kids can be.

by Fnor (not verified) :: Tue, 10/18/2005 - 3:15pm

The problem with the whole system is that when the academic side of the school tries to assert itself, it gets smacked around by the sports base.

I did my undergrad at OSU, at one of the top Japanese programs in the country, along with seriously underrated CSE and English programs. I learned stuff in English that my wife didn't learn at Cornell. I had hands-on hardware engineering experience that was, if not equal, but close to what my friend at RIT got.

But no, OSU is a party school where football reigns supreme.

What really needs to be done to clean up college sports is not for a bunch of rules commissions and people writing articles, it's those schools' administrations standing up and realizing that their reputation as a university might not make them as much money in TV rights and such, but it'll help them immensely when these students can go get a great job on their big-shot university's name and give some of it back. OSU is pretty destitute. The top schools in the country (including the Ivy Leagues) have endowments in the hundreds of millions. So even from an economic perspective, being a top academic school seems to be better than a top athletic school.

Once people realize that loads of boosters giving money into their leaky and corrupt sports program isn't as profitable, you'd see a huge turnaround in the amount of leeway these programs are given, and there would be no room for ethical errors, because a school's reputation is based just as much on ethics as academic performance.

Notre Dame seems to be a good nod towards this sort of thing, though as it's been noted they bend the rules too. It seems more a "what we have to do to have a chance" decision than a "win at any costs" decision, however. There's a book by an IU Professor on the subject, but his and the book's name escape me at the moment.

Sorry about the length.

by pcs (not verified) :: Tue, 10/18/2005 - 3:15pm

What I get from Levin's article is that Leinart doesn't have the skill set to succeed in the NFL, but that, more important, he doesn't deserve to succeed in the NFL because he's a calculating phony and a callow slacker. Levin knows Leinart has essentially graduated. Why does he deftly avoid saying so? Because the aim isn't so much to say Leinart is a bad QB as it is to say he's a bad person.

by Pat (not verified) :: Tue, 10/18/2005 - 3:33pm


Speaking as someone who's 300 yards from Ohio Stadium, but who went to Penn State, I have to agree with you that OSU's far, far gone. But not all Division I-A colleges are that bad. Penn State, and, for that matter, State College itself, owes a good fraction of its existence to the athletic program.

And the result is that the head coach has donated more than $4 million back to the university, and the local school district is basically the best in the state both in academics and in athletics.

Yah, I'm a bit proud, but I can easily understand people being frustrated with college corruption around Columbus. Especially after the previous year.

by Pat (not verified) :: Tue, 10/18/2005 - 3:35pm

And, by the way, I will again say: ballroom dancing is not an easy class. Especially if you take it with a significant other. Very dangerous.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 10/18/2005 - 3:37pm

I do think the upside to Bush is Marshall Faulk, but I have no idea where to place those odds. Hopefully, USC will play a fast, physical defense
in their bowl game, and thus shed more light on the matter.

Any opinions here on how Maroney from Minnesota will transition to the NFL? Sometimes I think he is just the product of an extremely good zone-blocking scheme, and extremely good zone-blocking execution. Very few college offense have mastered this, and thus very few college defenses stop it very well. On the other hand, he does make people miss, has beefed up to 220 pounds, and doesn't seem to be caught from behind.

by Ima Pseudonym (not verified) :: Tue, 10/18/2005 - 3:50pm

This doesn't touch Cal Fan's point (once the money on athletics has been spent, giving the scholarship to a physics student isn't going to help the school as much), but here is a recent attempt to debunk the myth that money spent on college athletics is made up for by higher alumni giving/a better applicant pool.

It seems to me that both the college and the athletes would be better served by a system in which the athletes are given scholarships they can use in future years (after they don't get drafted, or ruin their knee) when they will have the time and the motivation to actually get something out of their free education.

by Pat (not verified) :: Tue, 10/18/2005 - 3:54pm


If he gets drafted by Denver, he'll make a gigantic splash (and probably get traded the next year). If not, he'll struggle for several years until he gets picked up by Denver. :)

Seriously, though, he honestly looks like a very good fit to Denver's offense. The only problem is that Denver has a plethora of running backs, although they do trade several each year.

Someone should figure out exactly how much "draft profit" Denver tends to make each year just from the running back trade on its own. It's downright silly.

by Pat (not verified) :: Tue, 10/18/2005 - 4:02pm


Actually, I think a much better method is to only fund athletic activities with money that comes from athletic activities (or supporters). If you do that, you can't really argue it, as it's self-supporting, and it's feeding free money into the university as a whole.

And I still really, really disagree with the statement that athletes who receive scholarships don't get anything out of their education. Some don't. But a huge fraction of them do. The national average for Division IA football players who graduate is something a little over 50%.

In my mind, it's worth giving an education to the 50% who waste it just so that the 50% who don't waste it get one.

by Fnor (not verified) :: Tue, 10/18/2005 - 4:23pm

I would also like to clarify my position in that I fully support scholarships for athletes, not just because of the reason Pat gave, but also because it is a great way for underpriveleged kids to get a break. A poor kid from the inner city where education isn't valued might not get into a lot of schools without that leg up, so I think that's a great service.

I only wish that the student-athletes would take their boon a bit more seriously.

Pat: You live in Columbus? Strange that never came up... I just moved to Chicago from there this March. Maybe we can go and have a drink next time I'm in town.

by mactbone (not verified) :: Tue, 10/18/2005 - 4:54pm

A couple of thoughts:

Most schools pour money into their athletic programs to keep them afloat, I sincerely doubt most athletic programs could sustain themselves especially when the cost of facilities is involved.

I understand that athletics raises the level of conciousness that a school has in high school kids' minds and see that as one of the big plusses for a university.

However, I really think that a school is better off having engineering/physics/etc. majors go through the school (IF there was an either/or choice) not just because of whatever money they might donate to the school but because of the research grants and job opportunities they create. Not to mention the attention an astronaut or other "hero professional" can bring to a school.

I appreciate athletics and understand the entertainment and "school spirit" values but it's never made sense why there is such an entitlement given to the people who are associated with it. I still can't fathom the arguments for paying college players - especially considering the scholarship is worth $8,000 a school year for in-state and $24,000 for out-of-state. I wish I could've made that kind of money over six months.

by Boulder (not verified) :: Tue, 10/18/2005 - 6:02pm

Aaron says "I respectfully disagree. Personally, I’ll take pocket presence, decision-making skills, and the ability to thread a perfect fade pass on fourth-and-8 to save an undefeated season over a stronger arm and shifty scrambling." I agree with him, however, those types of college QBs are not always successful either. Look at Ken Dorsey from Miami a few years ago. Had all those attributes in spades. What separates Leinart from guys like that to warrant a higher draft pick?

by Pat (not verified) :: Tue, 10/18/2005 - 6:07pm


Yah, I think I mentioned it before. :) I moved here from Penn State after my advisor moved here. I'm from eastern PA, so hence my Eagles fandom and my preference for PSU.

Also, a brief note: just from an organizational point of view, Ohio State is an awful university. They're simply years behind other major universities in terms of beauracratic efficiency. In my mind, this has a ton to do with certain things like NCAA violations, etc. The organization and formality around here is simply awful.

by Pat (not verified) :: Tue, 10/18/2005 - 6:20pm


Regarding cost of facilities, if you're including the cost of facilities in your "cost of academic programs" bit, that's complete crap. Facilities are facilities, they should be paid for by the university. I've been in Ohio Stadium about 10 times in the past few months, and only once was for a game. Ditto for Beaver Stadium. And when you talk about basketball facilities, jeez - I don't know how any major university would survive without one.

I'm suggesting the ticket revenue and TV revenue fund athletic scholarships. do that, I don't see how anyone can complain about athletes loafing around. If all they do is take as few classes as possible, that's great for the university, because it means that all the students who are going to class are getting more for their money.

by MDS (not verified) :: Tue, 10/18/2005 - 6:34pm

Welcome to Chicago, Fnor. Last year we had an FO get-together in Chicago. Perhaps we can do it again this year.

by Fnor (not verified) :: Tue, 10/18/2005 - 6:42pm

Agreed. Holbrooke is kind of a lame duck, but she's not really the problem. The school is a bit of a mess, which is a shame because in my time as a student and as a researcher there, I met some really brilliant professors. The biggest problem is that they're still bogged down in that stupid semester/quarter debate. It'll never end, and it'll waste just as much time in the years to come as it has to date.

Thanks, that'd be cool. All I really do now is go to class, court, study, and throw interceptions in flag football games....

by Sean D. (not verified) :: Tue, 10/18/2005 - 7:17pm

I don't think a lot of people here have watched a lot of QBs whose names are being thrown around.

Leinert has a much better physical makeup than Dorsey, Wuerfful, or White. He's taller and heavier.

Leinert has the pocket presence to avoid the sack and also progress through receivers. Dorsey, Wuerfful, Leaf, White, Smith did not have that.

In addition Leinert can make the throws he needs to make and can bring his team back. Did anyone ever see White try to bring back the Sooners? It was pretty pathetic. Dorsey was almost never behind and usually his "big" plays were to wide open receivers. Wuerfful played a system that does not translate to the NFL. Leaf had attitude and injury problems. Smith was never given a shot.

There are a lot of attributes that separate these guys.

P.S. Maroney looks to me like Tomlinson did in college.

Faulk went to SDSU wear he wore Red and Black, whereas Bush goes to USC where he wears red and gold.

by HLF (not verified) :: Tue, 10/18/2005 - 7:33pm

I agree with #34 completely -- the scholarship, if we really cared about the kids getting their educations, would be good for four or five years of education, room, and board at any time that particular athelete wished to take advantage of it. If he wanted to play college ball for three years and not take a class, that would be fine, but he's have a four year education he could fall back on (and take seriously) when his pro career flamed out or never began.

Hopeless Lions Fan,

by David A. (not verified) :: Tue, 10/18/2005 - 7:55pm

I've also thought a lot of the same things Levin mentions. This Notre Dame game might be the first time he's really been challenged. Does the Cal game from 2003 count? Questions about Leinart still remain: Does that mean that his team is so incredibly good that it masks his deficiencies? Or does it mean that he really is so much better than the competition and would step right in to the NFL? How much "poise" can one display when the team is so much better than any possible opponent? If he wasn't confident with White, Bush, Jarrett, and that line, then what could he be confident in? I think his upside is in Byron Leftwich territory (albeit with not as much arm strength), but I can't imagine he'd ever be any worse than Scott Mitchell.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 10/18/2005 - 9:13pm

Well, Sean, I'd really enjoy seeing Maroney have Tomlinson-like success in the future, since he's been so much fun to watch in college. Anybody who thinks running dominated offenses are boring hasn't watched the Gophers play, where every toss sweep, with center and guard pulling, is a candidate to go the distance.

by LnGrrrR (not verified) :: Tue, 10/18/2005 - 9:41pm

Matt SHOULD HAVE taken ballet...that way it will help him avoid all the sacks he'll get playing on whatever carpy team drafts him :D

by Stiller Fan in Cle (not verified) :: Tue, 10/18/2005 - 9:54pm

If you want to watch pure collegiate sports, take a trip to your local D-III university. They might get a bit of an admissions preference, but for the most part they play basically for nothing. There's even underrehearsed marching bands filled with people that have majors other than music...In other words, you probably don't want to watch pure collegiate athletics. (To Oberlin guy: Case beat you by a FG!)

College P.E. is basically a way to force the CS and CE majors that only play Halo out of their rooms for awhile...

Finally, I honestly don't see how anyone outside of a professional scout could make heads or tails of the skill people at USC. When any team hits a renaissance like that, everyone looks golden (see Dorsey, Ken and Dayne, Ron).

BTW, Operating Systems is a fun class...I'd recommend it to anyone who enjoys playing in Linux...

by james (not verified) :: Tue, 10/18/2005 - 10:02pm

First thing any qb needs is a top flight wideout. Exceptions are hard to find but McNabb spring to mind as someone who didn't have one.

Without that any team choosing a rook is better off throwing away their draft pick.

After that ability to shake off would be sackers, and ability to lead a comeback are what's important.

The guys that did those things in college are the guys that are successful now. Manning didn't have to lead too many comebacks at Tennessee but learned to. I guess another necessity might be ability to watch tape for hours. I think Alex Smith has this but Receiver?????

That being said I think Leinart can be Palmer if he has a Chad Johnson.

BTW Bush seems to me to be a little bigger, little less speedy version of Warrick Dunn.

by BHW (not verified) :: Tue, 10/18/2005 - 10:04pm

Am I the only one who thinks Reggie Bush’s upside is Marshall Faulk? (Same color college unis and everything!)

Someone already mentioned this, but since when are red & yellow the same as red & black?

Also, I know it's not unique to Leinart, but the fact that he's playing a college sport while not being a student in any sense of the word, and everyone's just okay with this, well ... that strikes me as a sign of a national sickness. I guess I need wash out some of that idealism about amateur sports.

Unrelatedly, if the Broncos get Leinart, I'm becoming a Steelers fan.

by Pat (not verified) :: Tue, 10/18/2005 - 10:28pm

while not being a student in any sense of the word

A: Again, ballroom dancing is not an easy class. Especially with a significant other. Trust me.

B: He's definitely not the first person to tack on fluff classes to stay in college an extra semester.

by mactbone (not verified) :: Tue, 10/18/2005 - 11:17pm

re A: Neither is Wine Appreciation at Purdue from what I've heard, but since it doesn't affect his graduation why should he care how hard it is?

re B: I didn't realize it was OK to get a scholarship while taking less than 15 credit hours and having already graduated. Especially when the scholarship pays for an apartment in LA.

I know a lot of college athletes are great guys - hell I studied with a 6'7" lineman for my German class and found out that he was a talented artist but that doesn't excuse the screwed up priorities at state institutions for learning. I never went to Ross-Ade while I was a student and only visited Mackey Arena once. I spent countless hours in HEAV, LAEB/BEER, STEW, Elliot, heck I even took a couple of exams in the old gym! A football stadium is not suitable for many functions that a campus has - I can see the argument for a basketball arena being multi-purpose, but football stadiums aren't conducive to many activities other than football and marching and at least you can always march on a street.

I still like rooting for college teams, but I don't delude myself into thinking they're a major asset for any school.

by james (not verified) :: Wed, 10/19/2005 - 12:11am

As someone who played scholarship ball and later gave up that scholarship to be a regular student at a different school I can see both sides of this argument.

Most scholarship athletes earn every penny that they are "given". The schools do not give away money for free and must be getting plenty in return. Most of the student who complain about what scholarship athletes get for free would buckle under the pressure, time requirements, and the ugliness of cutthroat competition.

Students who work alot harder than most of the athletes get no appreciation for their work and get treated like second class citizens. That gets very frustrating for the group of students who are the reason why the school even exists.

The school could exist without football but could not exist without students.

However, its a good lesson to learn for kids. No matter how great a student one is, he can't get 20 million strangers to watch him parade around with the school logo on tv. This world is all about what you can do for whom. Sad to say but its true. Student is getting more out of school. School is getting more out of the athlete. Who do you think the school should accomodate?

I disagree about giving money to "real" students so that they will be able to give more money back to the school. More times than not, a college degree is not the reason why alums become rich enough to give back. Neither are scholarship funds to athletes. I will say that colleges who seek that kind of "reimbursement" should go about choosing more ambitious people(students or athletes) who may later, correctly or not, see the college as the catalyst to their wealth.

Anyone who has been to UNC and seen what Jordan has given back, or who has seen Virginia Tech Campus and the building with Vick's name on it can see that athletic scholarships sometimes recover that money as much as from future rich "regular students"

by Sophandros (not verified) :: Wed, 10/19/2005 - 11:03am

As someone who's school recently underwent a "review" of college athletics, something this is going unsaid here is that at many schools, the athletic department and the rest of the school are virtually separate entities when it comes to funding. There's the General Fund and the athletic fund, and thus two different endownments. That's why a school like Rice, with an endownment of over $3 billion (that's right, with a "b") doesn't spend that money on sports.

FWIW, my alma mater didn't have PE.

by Pat (not verified) :: Wed, 10/19/2005 - 2:00pm


A: If he fails, he doesn't graduate. He's 2 credits shy of graduating. Those 2 credits could be in anything. He chose ballroom dancing.

B: Dunno, my scholarship just said if I'm full time, I get full scholarship. If I'm part time, I get enough to cover those costs. Looked the same to me.

by Pat (not verified) :: Wed, 10/19/2005 - 2:10pm

And regarding the stadium argument: it might have something to do with the fact that you were only a student there. My wife was an employee at PSU and OSU, and a ton of functions are held in the stadium just because of convenience and size issues, and a lot of those functions have more to do with employees and the local community than with the students.

Or maybe the universities you went to just didn't utilize the stadia properly. I am very serious that in the two universities I've been to, I've been in the stadia more times for non-football related activities than for football games.

In Penn State, the big ones I can think of are the 4th of July fireworks and Trash to Treasure, but there are other ones I'm blanking on.

At OSU, the stadium tends to be used a lot because the basketball center is farther from campus. But regardless, it's used all the time for student functions, employee functions, etc.