Given the general attitude of this site towards him in the past, I'm not sure if I as a guest am allowed to say good thing about Heisman Pundit here, but what the hell: his idea for a "football major," with a few core classes in general subjects, sounds like a pretty damn good one:
Here is the freshman curriculum for a music major at Auburn University:
Core Fine Arts
Granted, the music major must take a group of core classes and I am not advocating that the general classwork be thrown out. But take note that the music major is also taking classes that apply to his particular skill--playing a musical instrument.
Here is what a Football Major curriculum could look like for an Auburn freshman:
Basically, the player would get course credit for the activites he already participates in, plus there would be a special curriculum to educate them on how to be a professional athlete down the road.
Now, I can hear you saying already "But HP, a lot of these guys aren't going to play pro ball. They need something to fall back on."
Well, I can say the same thing for the Auburn cello major. What are the odds that he goes on to play for a major philharmonic? Many music majors end up doing things completely unrelated to their field because, like in any field, only the best make it to the top. The vast majority end up teaching.
For those players who don't make it, there is always teaching and all kinds of related fields, from strength coach, to personal trainer, to agent, to sports marketer, to sports commentator, that a player can get in to.
And a player wouldn't have to major in football. If he was still interested in economics, he could go that route.
But for the player that does have a pro future, he gets to the NFL as a more mature product with a better understanding of how his career works. He would have a clue about everything from contracts to agents, to how to deal with the media, to how to learn various offensive or defensive principles.
Given that so many players, even ones who don't become long-term pros, are going to stay in the game in some capacity because it's what they know and love - like a music major knows and loves music - this proposal makes sense. It's not as if there's no living to be made in sports outside of an NFL uniform.
Of course, this will never, ever happen, not in the productive lifetime of anyone reading this blog, and the many legions of James Gundlachs in the academic world - nice people, certainly, smart, hardworking people, but ones who do not like athletes getting sweat and dirt on the ivory tower, much less actually coming inside of it - will continually ensure this, even if the physical and sports industry training one could get by studying, and then successfully executing at tremendous speeds, the intricacies of the cover three zone blitz from a base nickel set against a trips hi-lo read off of play-action probably matches the social and eventually professional value of, say, a course that asks, "Is Beethoven's Ninth Symphony a marvel of abstract architecture culminating in a gender-free paean to human solidarity, or does it model the process of rape?"
And who wants to argue against that?