In a decision that potentially could cost him 40 million dollars, Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck, number 2 in this year's Heisman Trophy vote and the consensus number 1 NFL draft pick had he gone pro this year, has decided to return to Stanford for his redshirt junior year. "I am committed to earning my degree in architectural design from Stanford University and am on track to accomplish this at the completion of the spring quarter of 2012", Luck said in a statement released by the school.
His father, Oliver Luck, the Athletic Director at West Virginia University and an NFL veteran who himself played 4 year of college football, applauded his son's decision:
"This is a win-win for him. He gets to spend another year at Stanford, be part of team that will be highly ranked again next year, finish his degree and enjoy Palo Alto. It's not like the NFL is going anywhere, it's one of the best run leagues in the world. It will still be there when he graduates."
Prior to the announcement of Luck's decision, sports pundits had speculated that economic reality would force Luck into the pros--the NFL is considering implementing a rookie salary cap that if it goes into effect for the 2012 draft could cost Luck tens of millions of dollars. One pundit remarked, "This could be the most expensive architectural design decree in history."
His father Oliver Luck had it right when he said, "It’s a Rorschach test for people’s values system."
In the end, Luck put aside concerns about the salary cap and the risk of declining performance and potential injury in his final year of college football, and even disregarded the imminent loss of his beloved head coach Jim Harbaugh to the San Francisco 49'ers, and went with his heart. He loves Stanford and Palo Alto, loves his team and loves his life as a college student and player. Luck typically made the announcement in a one-sentence statement, without a press conference, hoopla or fan fare.
Way to go, Andrew. Ultimately, G-d willing, you will be a success in the NFL and in architecture or whatever profession or business endeavors you pursue when your playing days are over. In the meantime, Stanford may have lost Jim Harbaugh, but it's not out of Luck.