The pros and cons of turning professional

first_imgThough the stars of athletics make nowhere near the money gained by their peers in football, boxing, golf, Formula One and the domestic American sports, it’s becoming more tempting for young prospects to make the big move. They’d best beware. It’s not for everyone. Young American high-school sprinters Kaylin Whitney and Candace Hill have recently parlayed their promise into the pros at age 16. Here at home, Jaheel Hyde and Michael O’Hara are both foregoing their last year of high school eligibility to take the pro road. From all reports, both Hyde and O’Hara have tertiary studies built into their plans. That’s smart because there’s no absolute guarantee of a lucrative career in the professional ranks. Injury or loss of form can turn things upside down. Ristananna Tracey left Edwin Allen High School as the second fastest junior 400-metre hurdler of all-time. Sadly, through a combination of circumstances, she has not made progress. Hopefully, her change of training camps to G.C. Foster College will bear fruit, for one whose potential for greatness is still undeniable. IGNORE EDUCATION In a world where proven champions like Norwegian javelin great Andreas Thorkildsen can lose their sponsorship if they lag behind top form, young prospects take a risk when they ignore education. On the other side of the coin is Danielle Williams. She left The Queen’s School as a fine prospect, but not a star. She took the traditional route to college in US scholarship and now she is World Champion. The recent ISSA ruling barring professionals from Boys and Girls Championships forces high school student athletes and their families to decide. Missing Champs is one thing, but missing college is another even more critical decision. If things don’t work out athletically, then the unsuccessful young professional could find himself or herself out on a limb without no income from the sport and no college qualification at 24 or 25. Luckily, today’s world has options. If they prefer, they can stay in Jamaica, where a growing number of tertiary institutions are offering scholarships to student athletes. They can do what Herb McKenley did 1942 and take a US sport scholarship. As Omar McLeod has done recently at the University of Arkansas, student athletes can turn pro early with their sponsors obliged to pay for the remainder of their college tuition. Both routes have produced success, academically and athletically. To be fair, some sportsmen can take the risk to forego college. Usain Bolt and Lebron James are examples of super successful athletes who went pro early and skipped college. However, since no one can be absolutely sure of their athletic future, the best option is to keep academics in the picture.last_img read more

Vanderjagt saves Bettis from blame

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGift Box shows no rust in San Antonio Stakes win at Santa Anita“Of course it crosses your mind,” said Bettis, the fifth-leading rusher in NFL history. “I was on the ground and I just saw people running. I fumbled the football, and that’s a no-no, something I can’t do. I was mad.” The Steelers know Bettis is ready to retire after this season, and it was hard to believe such a great career might end on the blunder of a lifetime. “We score there and the game’s over,” Steelers coach Bill Cowher said. “And you certainly don’t question that.” Luckily for the Steelers, Mike Vanderjagt missed a potential tying 46-yard field goal and the Steelers held on for their biggest playoff upset since a 1984 second-round win at Denver. “It was just deflating,” Wide receiver Hines Ward said. “He rarely fumbles the ball and if this had been his last game, you would have hated to see him go out like that. … I truly believe the man up above had something to do with that.” INDIANAPOLIS – For a moment, Jerome Bettis must have felt exactly like the Oakland Raiders did after the Immaculate Reception in 1972. With the Steelers looking to close out their 21-18 playoff upset of Indianapolis on Sunday, they put the ball in Bettis’ hands at the Colts 2 with 1:20 remaining. There may be no safer hands in football than The Bus’ – he once went 220 consecutive carries without a fumble. But Gary Brackett’s hit loosened the ball and Nick Harper scooped it up and took off in a zigzag pattern toward the Steelers’ goal line. Only quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s ankle tackle at the Colts 42 saved a game-winning score. Think that Bettis didn’t see his career flash before his eyes right then? center_img Or kind of like the Immaculate Reception, right? This would have been an out-of-nowhere loss to match Pittsburgh’s out-of-nowhere playoff win against the Raiders in 1972 on Franco Harris’ miracle catch of a wildly ricocheting Terry Bradshaw pass on what looked to be the Steelers’ last play of the season. Afterward, Bettis was thankful for Roethlisberger’s tackle – and so was Ward, who said, “Ben saved the year for us with the tackle.” He wasn’t being glib, either. The Steelers had their tight end-filled offense on the field, and Roethlisberger was the only player with appreciable speed in their lineup. “I turned to watch him get in the end zone,” Roethlisberger said. “All of a sudden I see the ball just go flying. My first reaction is just to go get it, but I knew I wasn’t going to get there in time, so then it’s let’s try and slow him down. I think I turned him enough times that he got close to me and he couldn’t decide which way to go, so now I just saw his leg and grabbed it, and luckily he went down.” Asked if he considered taking a knee, Roethlisberger said the Colts had three timeouts remaining. “I think the smart play was to give Jerome the ball. I guarantee to you if we got that chance 100 times, we’d do it every time,” he said. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more