Three seasons in, Myles Gaskin still has one to go with the Huskies
There was no good reason for Myles Gaskin to return for his senior season at the University of Washington.
Wait. That’s not right.
There was no good financial reason for Gaskin to return for his senior season at Washington, which makes his decision that much more significant not just for Washington fans like myself, but people who have written off college football as amoral and exploitative.
And while there are plenty of examples where college football has been both, Gaskin’s experience has been sufficiently enjoyable that he’s choosing to return for a fourth and final season even though there’s very little professional incentive for doing so.
Any improvement in draft position by playing another year in college football would be negligible at this point and more than offset by the potential for injury and impact that would have. And even if Gaskin could improve his draft position by playing his senior year, that’s not as lucrative as it used to be since the implementation of the NFL’s rookie wage scale in 2011. Even if Gaskin were to be drafted higher in 2019 than he would have been picked this year, he would still be entering the league one year older at a position with a notoriously short shelf-life and more importantly would have to wait an additional year until he’s eligible for free agency, which is now where you get the bigger money in the NFL.
Yet Gaskin still chose to come back.
What does that tell you? It tells you that his college football experience has been satisfactory to the point that he’s choosing a fourth season even though there’s very little financial incentive for him to do.
I’m not going to say it’s an example of everything that is right about college football. That would imply that anyone who enters the NFL early is doing it wrong, and I don’t think that’s true. In fact, I think it’s pretty mixed up that the only viable development option for an aspiring football player is to spend at least three years on a college campus while having both his transfer rights and earning potential rigorously curtailed by the NCAA.
But I also like to think that at least some of the 100 or so players on the football team representing the college I attended are enjoying the overall experience. Actually, I like to think most of them are.
College football is not always fair. In fact, I would go so far as saying it’s often not fair, which makes a moment like this particularly enjoyable. Myles Gaskin has enjoyed his three seasons at Washington enough that I’m going to get to watch, witness and applaud him through a senior season I never thought I’d get to see, and I wouldn’t have blamed him for skipping.