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“If I wanted to graduate in three years, I’d just get a sociology degree.”

From an interview with a UCLA QB who’s majoring in economics:

Look, football and school don’t go together. They just don’t. Trying to do both is like trying to do two full-time jobs. . . . No one in their right mind should have a football player’s schedule, and go to school. It’s not that some players shouldn’t be in school; it’s just that universities should help them more—instead of just finding ways to keep them eligible.

Any time any player puts into school will take away from the time they could put into football. . . .

But some players do manage to do it, even to graduate in three years. Here’s what the UCLA QB / econ major has to say about that:

If I wanted to graduate in three years, I’d just get a sociology degree.

Ha! But I can’t really laugh too hard. If sociology is a good choice of major for people who can’t handle the rigors of econ, I have a feeling that statistics is a good choice of major for people who can’t handle the rigors of math or CS.

The best part of the interview, though, is this:

I want to get my MBA. I want to create my own business. When I’m finished with football, I want a seamless transition to life and work and what I’ve dreamed about doing all my life. I want to own the world. Every young person should be able to have that dream and the ability to access it. I don’t think that’s too much to ask.

Hey, wait a minute. If everyone gets to “own the world,” who would do the work?? I guess he hasn’t reached that stage in his economics education, where he learns that really is “too much to ask.”

P.S. Commenters convinced me that I missed the point: when the QB said “own the world,” he didn’t literally mean “own,” he just meant something like “feel like you’re on top of the world.” And, sure, no reason why everyone can’t feel that way.

16 Comments

  1. Fantomas says:

    I think it’s more like economics is a good choice of major for people who can’t handle the rigors of math lol. Aslo, in the last quoted paragraph he’s talking about the dream. “The ability to access it” probably means “the opportunity to try and achieve it”.

    • Martha (Smith) says:

      When I was an undergraduate math major, it seemed that the Econ dept courted the students who were in the math honors courses but were not the top ones in those courses (but those courted students seemed to go on in math or CS).

  2. David says:

    I think you’re being a little hard on him. I charitably read him as saying everyone should be allowed the dream, not a guarantee of success.

  3. John Hall says:

    “No one in their right mind should have a football player’s schedule, and go to school. It’s not that some players shouldn’t be in school; it’s just that universities should help them more—instead of just finding ways to keep them eligible.”

    The universities’ first priority should be educating students. If sports are requiring too much of a time commitment, then they should be forced to limit time in sports. There is a prisoner’s dilemma here. Every coach has an incentive to push his players to train and practice as much as possible in order to fill the stands. If one coach cuts back, then his team will likely lose more frequently and he will be out of a job.

    “If sociology is a good choice of major for people who can’t handle the rigors of econ, I have a feeling that statistics is a good choice of major for people who can’t handle the rigors of math or CS.”

    I always found math and programming to be much more straightforward than statistics. Though my math education stops at the undergraduate level and my statistics education goes beyond that. Maybe the rigor of graduate math is greater than the rigor of graduate statistics.

  4. Paul Schäfer says:

    Just because something is harder doesn’t mean it’s more useful. (Regarding the dick measuring contest with respect to rigor)

  5. The things people will say after their brain has suffered a couple of concussions.

  6. “Own” is being used in the sense of “defeat,” or “not be beaten by,” not “possess.” The UCLA student’s comments are very good, by the way; I wish him well!

  7. Kevin Dick says:

    “I guess he hasn’t reached that stage in his economics…”

    No, he just understood the part about life cycle effects and agents with multiple roles: (a) it’s plausible and even relatively common for someone to be a “worker” in the initial part of their career, then an “owner”, then a “worker” again. Or some other combination; (b) you can be an owner and a worker at the same time. Most businesses in the US are small businesses where that’s the case and even if you work for a big company, many people still fund and mentor other businesses.

    Then there’s the whole heterogeniety of preferences thing. He didn’t even say everyone should be a business owner, just that they would have the option. He probably understands that many people would choose not to exercise that option but it’s valuable to provide it.

  8. Jonathan says:

    I think he follows the tone of the day. There’s a Microsoft ad on during the Olympics that talks about how much power you have at your fingertips and which leads up to the idea tag of what you going to do with all that power? So buy Microsoft stuff to do that. The missing part, which is crucial, is that you hearing this need to work hard to be able to harness some of that vast power at your fingertips. There’s a bleeping gigantic difference between having a phone which can access the internet and actually making something or doing something other than accessing the internet because the phone does that. So when this kid says ‘ability to access’ he’s doing the positive speak that avoids the underlying issue. It isn’t that everyone doesn’t have the same access – because some are richer, have both hands, aren’t being beaten by alcholic parents, etc. – and yet ‘ability to access’ is just like the phone at your fingertips without the work necessary to actually do something.

    It’s funny how we elevate stories of over-coming without grasping the meaning of the work required. The Olympics should bring that home: every single sport requires immense levels of dedication to compete at the very top levels. Tara Lipinsky wrote a piece about how USA figure skating failed women’s skating: by not adopting the senior rules for our novices and juniors, we didn’t install a judging system that rewards technical risk over skating a simpler but cleaner program. That left our kids essentially unable to compete at the very top, unless of course the idea is we hope for a dearth of talent elsewhere.

    I assume that if you pinned him down, he’d admit he thinks lots of people just don’t work hard enough, that he’s not the best athlete, that he has other failings but that he works hard in a focused manner toward specific goals with as much intelligent efficiency as he can manage given life’s ups and downs. That’s essentially Tom Brady’s secret: picked nearly last indicates no one thought much of his innate physical abilities, so he carefully works on his throwing mechanics, flexibility, and pocket awareness and mobility, and he studies defensive coaching styles and trends and individual player tendencies. He treats it as a job that’s a craft that can be an art. That he applies this to his diet show the intensity of his effort. Did you see the US team win the cross-country ski relay gold? Have you ever seen more effort expended by any human beings? It was freaking awesome.

    My problem with the popular statement is that it misleads you about the amount of work required. And about the nature of that work. A few can devote themselves to playing games and make a living. True in basketball. True in ice dancing. True in video games. But those people work at those things too. It came easy to LeBron James but he worked at it to make himself LeBron James instead of being another kid whose high school basketball highlights are sitting on the internet.

  9. someone says:

    The more important issue is that college sport has helped destroy undergrad education.

  10. abdulh says:

    the rigor of CS..? lmao

  11. Steve Sailer says:

    The mother of Josh Rosen, the UCLA QB, is a Lippincott, the old money Philadelphia publishing family. His father is a surgeon, I believe.

    I like the kid: he’s got superb passing technique and he’s brave. I fear, though, he’s too naturally skinny to survive in the NFL, though. His parents wanted him to be a tennis star, but once he got control he dumped tennis for football. I suspect his parents were right about which sport would have been best for him.

  12. Tom Davies says:

    ” I have a feeling that statistics is a good choice of major for people who can’t handle the rigors of math or CS.” When I was studying maths and CS long ago, I looked down on stats students, but now that’s the area of maths I wish I knew better.

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