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As college athletics are wrapping up for the year, often times I am asked by my clients or peers whether a student-athlete should leave school early for the professional ranks. The answer is never easy and it always depends on various factors. While many student-athletes declare for the draft with the expectation they will be taken in the early-rounds, some get pushed to declare early for financial, academic or other off-field reasons.

In the event that the student-athlete is projected high enough within draft projections, whereby they are a lock to receive guaranteed money for a couple years, I believe a student-athlete can always go back to school or take online classes to fulfill graduation requirements. Devastating injuries happen all the time in sports, and projected career lengths are limited by numerous factors. Therefore, if a student-athlete has the ability to receive guaranteed compensation for a couple years, the economic benefit received during that time frame can help them prepare for their second career once they get done playing.

Steven Olenick is a lawyer, educator, and leading authority on various sports law issues. His work has appeared on Bloomberg, Fox News, Al Jazeera English, MSNBC and has given numerous radio interviews across the nation. He has earned national recognition from such organizations such as Crain’s Business Journal, Athlete’s Quarterly, ESPN, Bloomberg, and the NYU School of Law.

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