Mailbag: Stay in school or chase the money?

Happy Friday.

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To the notes!

Fred from Portland writes: Your comments, re Barlkley, tho probably true, are disapointing. Theoretically, at least, the purpose of college is to gain an education. Your article implies that a good college athelete should go pro at the earliest possible opportunity. In truth, I can't argue with that, but it does imply that the concept of a student athlete, at least in terms of Football and Basketball, is a complete farce. I have long believed that "one and done" has seriously damaged College BB, and now, rather than trying to soften that, you are extending the concept to FB. I believe that athletes who accept college scholarships should be required to stay for 3 years. Incidentally, I believe that Barkley is a superlative qb and in time, his decision to stay, will become merely a footnote.

Ted Miller: Did you know that Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Larry Ellison and Paul Allen entered the High Tech draft before their college eligibility was over?

Fred, let's say you are still in college. And a theater major.

Trey Parker & Matt Stone: Fred, we have a new Broadway musical, "Springtime for Cartman." We want you to star, but we need you now. We'll pay you $1 million and you can live at The Carlyle on us.

Fred: Sorry guys, I can't. I have Spanish in at 8 a.m. tomorrow and my fraternity formal is next weekend.

College is cool. For many, it's the best. It's a first taste of freedom without being free in the worrisome, "I've to pay my bills" sort of way. There's also a potential payoff if you care about your brain and being able to carry on an intelligent conversation at cocktail parties ("The 400 Blows? Oh, you mean, "Les quatre cents coups." Yes, it's wonderful, but my favorite Truffaut film is 'Jules et Jim.'").

It's a good time to learn stuff from smart people that you may or may not use in the real world. The social part of college can be pretty tasty, too.

But the less romantic side of college is career preparation. Most people want a degree because it will lead to a better career. Many athletes go to college to major in football or basketball. The majority of them will realize pretty early on that they need a fall-back plan that will be bolstered by a college diploma.

Let's not forget that the number of football and basketball players that leave early is fairly small. For football, where athletes are required to stay in school three years, a record 73 players entered the 2013 draft early. But that's out of more than 10,000 guys playing FBS college football.

Further, this year's draft had more cautionary tales than Barkley. Only 50 of those early-entries were drafted, leaving 23 probably wishing they had a Spanish class in the morning.

We are only talking about a small handful of NFL prospects leaving their books behind. And they will have ample opportunities to go back and finish their degrees.

My general position on this is pretty simple: If you can join the 1 percent before you turn 25, you should make your move.

And that's whether you play football, write computer code or act.

Daniel from Bend, Ore., writes: Why does it seem like there is such little national talk about Marcus Mariota? His numbers are comparable to Johnny Manziel, while Mariota was pulled from many games at the halftime. Is the quick scoring success of Oregon hurting his chances of being in the national spotlight?

Ted Miller: What do you want? A May Day parade? A graphic novel that will be turned into a blockbuster movie before the season begins?

(There is a rumor than Mariota will play himself in the next "Avengers" movie).

Should we make Monday a special day for our nation to pause and talk about Mariota in order to assuage Daniel's concerns?

Have you seen any list of top 2013 Heisman Trophy candidates that doesn't include Mariota?

He's No. 5 on this one. No. 7 on this one. He's among five listed here. He made the Heisman Pundit's list. Here's another.

The reason Manziel is getting so much hype is... he won the Heisman last year.

Yes, it does hurt Mariota that he wasn't needed to be statistically impressive in very many fourth quarters last year. And, no, Mariota's numbers were't comparable to Manziel's. Manziel led the nation with 393.5 yards of offense per game. Mariota was 43rd with 263.8.

As for his chances, I'd rate them pretty darn good. If Mariota even incrementally improves his 2012 numbers and the Ducks are national title contenders, he at least will be invited to New York for the Heisman Trophy ceremony.

Jimbo from Seattle writes: Very surprised no shout out to Bob Condotta leaving Husky Beat at the Seattle Times after over 15 years covering the Dawgs!

Ted Miller: Jimbo isn't following the Pac-12 blog on Twitter.

For shame.

Bob has long been among the very best college football beat writers in the nation. So now he'll shortly become one of the best NFL beat writers in the nation.

But I'm pouting. His blog made it very easy to find a Huskies link for the Pac-12 blog, even during those dark days of June.

Sam from Nashville writes: Please note that "evaluative" is NOT an English word. The proper word to use is "Evaluation"

Ted Miller: Please note that you are wrong.