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Cardinals’ Olsen Pierre talks college — Did Josh Rosen have a point?

(AP Photos)
LISTEN: Olsen Pierre. Cardinals defensive end

UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen was in the news recently for comments that he made about the difficulties of balancing academics with college football.

In a Q&A with Bleacher Report, Rosen — a junior who some say is among the better QBs in D-I football — said “football and school don’t go together.”

“They just don’t,” he told BR. “Trying to do both is like trying to do two full-time jobs. There are guys who have no business being in school, but they’re here because this is the path to the NFL.

“Then there’s the other side that says raise the SAT eligibility requirements. OK, raise the SAT requirement at Alabama and see what kind of team they have.”

The comments have been met with varying feedback.

When Cardinals defensive tackle Olsen Pierre joined 98.7 FM, Arizona Sports Station’s Bickley and Marotta on Wednesday during Cardinals training camp, it just so happened that the subject of school came up.

“I like to draw,” Pierre said. “I used draw really good until college and they made me change my major because it was getting in the way of football.”

Pierre said he was a Liberal Arts major. He’s an alumnus of the University of Miami.

“It was a lot of classes that it had to do with, and then we had morning practices and stuff like that, so I couldn’t really get into it,” Pierre said.

Nonetheless, Pierre gave props to his alma mater.

“At the University of Miami, they helped us a lot with [school],” Pierre said. “They really made sure that school and football was combined. They made sure when it was football time, it’s football. When it’s school, it’s school time. They had the best tutors, the classes were smaller, the teachers were really hands-on.”

But Rosen made at least two general points with his comments: 1) The schedule for student-athletes can be a barrier to getting the education that some athletes might really desire, and 2) School isn’t meant for everyone, athlete or not, but it’s a pre-requisite for the NFL.

Pierre seemed to confirm at least one of Rosen’s points with his remark about changing his major.

Rosen added another dimension to his comments when he was asked a follow-up question in the Bleacher Report Q&A.

“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,” Rosen said.

Imagine a player who spent four years in high school taking non-honors courses and spending most of his time focusing on football and working toward a scholarship. He gets recruited to [fill-in-the-blank D-I school] where a student-athlete success coordinator guides him toward a general studies major. A few years later, he’s cut during training camp from an NFL team that signed him as undrafted free agent. Now he needs a job.

But he has a college education, right? It depends on who you ask.

It’s without question that the opportunity to play D-1 football is rare and coveted. Players who don’t like the deal that’s presented to them don’t have to take it.

But it doesn’t mean Rosen was wrong.

Related Links

Bickley & Marotta

Cardinals Interviews and Podcasts