Jaguars star running back is back in school at UCLA this spring, hoping to work towards a history degree that was put on hold by his NFL career. The sight of an NFL star on campus likely leaves some students somewhat giddy, but it's Jones-Drew that has the real adjustment to make.
"So much has changed," Jones-Drew told SI's Jim Trotter. "When I first came back everyone was taking notes on laptops and iPads. They're like, 'I can type faster than I can write.' What? I was the only one in my class to pull out a pencil and notebook. I mean, I'm about to turn 28, but I felt like a dinosaur. I was so behind the times, and everybody was so young. They just looked young."
Along with a great story about Jones-Drew's pursuit of a college degree which he promised his grandmother he would eventually complete, Trotter reveals statistics about the NFL's back to school program.
According to the article, 70 percent of the money available to players going back to school goes unused. Something Jones-Drew was quick to take advantage of. In addition, Jones-Drew told Trotter that the Jaguars offered to pay any additional fees not covered by the league sponsored program.
It's every bit as important for NFL players to get college degrees as any other college student, especially considering the unpredictability of NFL careers. In some cases, athletes have their income cut from millions of dollars to nothing in the span of a week, leaving them with massive payments and nothing to fall back on.
By completing degrees, athletes have some sort of career to fall back on as well as a wealth of applicable knowledge. With a bachelor's degree in history, jobs won't be readily available, but such a degree does teach students to truly think critically and back up that level of thinking with concrete facts. Such skills are applicable in any job setting, including football.
While Maurice Jones-Drew may be back at UCLA to fulfill his promise to his grandmother, he's also becoming a role model for his peers that left college without a degree for greener pastures.