Greater Respect for Two-Year Colleges, in the NFL

Advocates of two year colleges often complain that the rest of academia sort of looks down on junior and community colleges since these schools are usually nonselective and often poorly funded. This historically was also true in relation to pro sports. National Football League recruiters, for instance, were often wary of college players who had spent time in two-year schools.

Apparently this is starting to change. According to an article by Chad Reuter at CBS Sports:

NFL Draft prospects who had played at a junior college instead of spending their entire careers at a four-year NCAA or NAIA institution once carried a scarlet letter of sorts in their scouting reports. That’s hardly the case in today’s NFL.

Two former juco stars took Auburn from middle of the SEC pack to a BCS championship last season. Both landed in the top 13 overall selections of the 2011 draft.

The reason for the change is a little unclear. I suspect that in the past the trouble was that scouts weren’t sure they could fully gauge talent without a without a picture of how potential recruits worked over a multi-year period at the same institution. Two-year colleges are not significantly better at helping their students succeed in the NFL, of course, but perhaps technological improvements make it easier for scouts to predict success, even absent college careers in one place.

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer