Arizona Diamondbacks’ T.J. McFarland graduating college this weekend

Jun 2, 2018, 11:25 AM | Updated: 12:05 pm

It took 11 years, but Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher T.J. McFarland is about to graduate college.

This weekend, he will receive a degree in finance from the University of Phoenix.

“It’s taken me a while and I’m very, very proud of the accomplishment of getting a college degree,” he said in a video posted onto the Diamondbacks’ Facebook account.

McFarland first enrolled in college in 2007, shortly after getting drafted by by the Cleveland Indians in the fourth round.

As a 17-year-old, he signed a letter of intent to play at the University of Missouri. The appeal of Major League Baseball was too much for McFarland.

He signed a contract with the Indians, but not before telling his parents he would enroll in college, too.

“I was doing it to keep my promise with my parents,” he said. “They were reluctant to let me forego college.”

McFarland said he received an associates degree in two or three years, but he advanced to the majors, the time commitment of baseball became overwhelming while taking upper-level courses.

He took a break from school. It lasted about two years.

“When I came back I was a lot more mature and was able to set aside some time for school,” McFarland said.

His wife, Jenna McFarland, also helped him get back into education.

“She made me realize that the time I have playing baseball – of course it’s important and it’s my No. 1 priority – it will end at some point,” he said. “So why not prepare for what’s inevitable and get a college degree?”

Jenna surprised him by walking over and sitting down with him in the middle of the video interview.

She gave some perspective from an involved party looking in.

“I think it was always hard, especially in the beginning because it was so new for him and they were traveling all the time,” she said. “(At) the beginning, he just wanted to start feeling like he was in college, and then later on, he really took it seriously and said, ‘I know I’m going to use this for my future.'”

McFarland told a story similar to so many other college graduates – as he completed his general education classes and began taking major-specific classes, he realized he enjoyed his studies.

He’s good with numbers, he said, which led him to choosing a finance major.

It could also keep him in the game beyond his playing career.

“Possibly,” McFarland said. “There’s no way of getting away from the fact that I played baseball so I feel like that’ll probably be the number one thing I’ll use to get another profession”

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