When Kyle Allen opted to leave Texas A&M football, there was a belief that it was because freshman quarterback Kyler Murray was ready to take the role of starter, that he was going to bring back the Johnny Manziel-era of exciting football. Additionally, people thought that he would play a vital role in the Aggies baseball team when Nick Banks departed. However, Murray shot that down when he announced that he would transfer out of Texas A&M, While his final destination is still unknown at this time, one of the more popular theories that has been floated around is Murray going to a junior college to play baseball in order to be eligible for the 2016 draft.
Naturally, this has led to plenty of discontent in College Station, both in the football and baseball circles. Murray’s teammates on both teams believe that the former 5-star recruit is yet another example of an entitled student athlete leaving because the pressure, or the money, has gotten to him.
Both Banks, and Aggie lineman German Ifedi have indirectly called out Murray on his so-called entitlement, with Banks even saying that high school athletes have to earn the honor of being a somebody.
<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” lang=”en”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>Doesn’t matter what you did in HS you’re a nobody when you step on to campus. You prove that YOU ARE somebody. Nothing is given you earn it</p>— Nick Banks (@Nick_Banks4) <a href=”https://twitter.com/Nick_Banks4/status/677265000969334784″>December 16, 2015</a></blockquote> //platform.twitter.com/widgets.js
Going past the so-called entitlement theory, is it possible that more and more college baseball players, even high school players, could take this route? Could they commit to a big school, then change their minds before the season starts so that they can get the money they feel they deserve?
We saw this phenomena arise at the end of the 2014 collegiate summer season when highly touted Cal State Fullerton pitcher Phil Bickford left the program to pitch at the College of Southern Nevada. Immediately afterwards, former first overall pick Brady Aiken chose not to attend UCLA and instead, after a long period of deliberation, went to IMG Academy. The same happened with pitchers Mac Marshall and Jacob Nix, who went to Chipola College and the IMG Academy as well. A year later, Bickford was chosen by the San Francisco Giants, and Aiken was chosen by the Cleveland Indians in the first round. Marshall and Nix were top five round picks as well.
While I have no problem with junior college players getting drafted, part of me feels that, from a moral perspective, if a high school baseball player wants to go pro and ends up choosing college, they should at least honor the three year commitment, or in the case of certain players who are draft eligible as sophomores, two years. It doesn’t matter if Kyler Murray was one of the highest rated infield prospects out of high school; he had two choices, go pro out of high school, in which case he likely would have been a high draft pick, or go to college and figure out if he wanted to play baseball or football. The issue with Murray is that he’s a highly touted prospect in both sports, and while it would be difficult to determine if he would have been a first round talent by 2018, he still would have had to have made a choice.
Whatever motivation Murray had to transfer, whether it was football or baseball related, I find his decision lines up perfectly with the baseball offseason and the megacontracts that have already been doled out. Even Jeff Samardzjia, a former college football wide receiver and current second starter, received a 5 year deal worth over $100 million. I don’t believe that Murray thinks he’ll get that type of money out the gate, he’d have to be a very good player with a solid track record to earn that type of contract, but I’m certain that if he is planning on leaving football in order to chase baseball money, he’s thinking of a lucrative signing bonus.
Nobody is telling Murray he can’t leave Texas A&M, but whatever reason he leaves, he’s going to leave a very bitter taste in people’s mouths. If it’s because of the coaching situation at Texas A&M and he wants to play at another school, Murray is going to come off as spoiled and unable to handle pressure. If it’s because he wants to have a quicker path to professional baseball, he’s going to come off as an impatient and entitled, completely focused on the money.
Whatever motivation Murray has, let’s hope that his decision doesn’t influence other kids to do the same thing. If they commit to a major program for college baseball, they should stay there, otherwise, why even commit? Let’s hope that this is just a small phase of young kids that think they are major league ready, the last thing we need is another one-and-done sport.