Anyone here ever play a sport professionally?

Submitted by dlcase1708 on July 18th, 2012 at 9:19 AM

I'm sure many here remember Shaq Thompson, one of the most highly-rated safety prospects in the country.  Something I did not know, however, was that he was also drafted by the Boston Red Sox in the 18th round after one year of varsity baseball.  Unfortunately, he has started off his career going 0-for-32, with an amazing 31 strikeouts.  I have no idea how this is possible.  I'm not exactly athletically inclined, but I feel like I might be able to put bat to ball at least twice in 32 at bats.  

Going off that, does anyone here have any experience in playing a sport professionally? I'm curious how things work on the minor league level, for almost any sport, in terms of how the team treats you and what kind of benefits you get.  I always enjoy the stories ESPN puts out, like "Prospect X" or "Player X," where an anonymous athlete shows fans how they are really treated. Link (Insider required).  So if you are/were a professional athlete that has any stories they'd like to share, please do.



July 18th, 2012 at 9:28 AM ^

Yikes, that's pretty bad, since he's probably only playing in a Rookie ball division as well. My guess is probably he did not see many good pitchers in his HS league (not many good breaking balls or pitchers throwing in high 80s or 90s).


July 18th, 2012 at 9:34 AM ^

Hitting a baseball thrown by professional pitchers isn't one of the hardest things to do in all of sport.  I actually think there's a decent chance that you couldn't put the bat on the ball twice if you're given nothing but breaking balls, and high heat.

However, world class athletes are supposed to have superior hand-eye coordination, so this is an incredible stat line.


July 18th, 2012 at 1:48 PM ^

 I used to think I was pretty good at baseball, until I didn't play for a few years. I took my son to a batting cage and stepped into the 90-95 mph cage and proceded to wiff on every pitch. My soul ached for a few days..... I'm lying it still aches after that embarassment. The point is it's hard enough to get the bat on a fastball as an average guy who doesn't play baseball often , let alone when someone is actually trying to strike you out.


July 18th, 2012 at 9:37 AM ^

If he was drafted by the Red Sox, plays on a Red Sox affilliated (minor league) team, then one assumes he has to be compensated by the Sox correct? Yet the article says he's still attending Washington this fall. 

Is the Golf Coast League a glorifed summer AAU type league?


July 18th, 2012 at 9:44 AM ^

I'm not sure exactly how the rules work, but I seem to remember Jeff Samardzjia playing minor league ball with a Cubs affiliate while he was at Notre Dame.  Maybe they defer salary until after college eligibility runs out or something.


July 18th, 2012 at 9:50 AM ^

Well, I know, he can be paid for playing baseball as a professional if he doesn't play NCAA baseball. IIRC Pat White played minor league baseball in the offseason and collected a check, then could play NCAA football. But he wasn't eligible for NCAA Baseball.

If he's playing baseball at Washington, I don't know the loophole off hand


July 18th, 2012 at 9:59 AM ^

He won't be playing baseball at Washington, which the NCAA wouldn't allow. He's just playing football there. See also this article:

Signing with the Red Sox would have no impact on Thompson’s eligibility at the UW. The NCAA allows individuals to play one sport professionally — as [Jake] Locker did with baseball — while still maintaining their eligibility in all other sports. Choosing to sign with Boston would, however, make Thompson officially a walk-on when he arrives at the UW later this year, freeing up another scholarship for the Huskies.


July 18th, 2012 at 10:23 AM ^

I believe Henson did the same thing when he was here. He played baseball in the summers for the Yankees, then came back in the fall for the football season. Many still believe if he had just stuck with 1 sport all the way through, he'd still be in the pros right now for that sport.


July 18th, 2012 at 10:44 AM ^

and he doesn't get the money until after. Jake Locker played for the Angels farm teams. A lot of guys do that. We had one awhile back, I can't remember his name. He ended up playing for the White Sox and Samardzija plays for the Cubs.

oriental andrew

July 18th, 2012 at 11:29 AM ^

I'm no expert, but I think there are a couple of requirements. 

First, you have to be a professional in a different sport from the one you want to play in college.  So minor league baseball and college football is ok. 

Second, you can't earn money from sponsorships, or you will be deemed ineligible for all sports.  This is why Olympic athletes - who are technically amateurs because they're not competing for cash - are still ineligible for college sports, as the vast majority of them make their money through sponsorships/endorsements.  This is also why Jeremy Bloom - Colorado football player and amateur (but sponsored) freestyle skier -  was deemed ineligible to play college football. 

So you can get paid a salary in a different sport, but you can't be sponsored/endorsed in any sport. 

Former baseball players also include Chris Weinke, Dennis Dixon, Ricky Williams, Qunicy Carter, among many others. 


July 18th, 2012 at 5:49 PM ^

Basically right on, except that Olympic athletes are no longer required to be amateurs and many compete in prize-money events. Pros in every sense of the word. Not that it's relevant to your solid post.

The reason sponsorship is a problem is that the sponsor money can be seen to be earned as a result of the athlete's public image, which is often bolstered by their participation in the NCAA governed sport. It may seem picky, but it actually makes a lot of sense. Imagine Terrell Pryor playibg minor league ball to get a Nike "Baseball" sponsorship that happens to be worth $750k/year.


July 18th, 2012 at 9:42 AM ^

I played JUCO football with a O lineman who went to Miami(YTM) then was drafted, I actually think he had more benefits while he was at Miami lol. Still very good friends with him, he said the level of competiton from JUCO to D1 to NFL was mind boggling.


July 18th, 2012 at 11:33 AM ^

I also played on a semi-pro football team out here in LA.  I only played for a year, but it was awesome.

EDIT:  To answer your question, I got no preferential treatment of any kind.  Except that one of our D linemen was a bouncer, so I got to skip the line at The Shore on the weekend.


July 18th, 2012 at 5:01 PM ^

For the Capital City Stealth in Lansing. I start at MIKE and measure out at 6'1" & 230 lbs. with a 4.7 hand timed 40 when I was tired and out of shape. We have 4 games left and only 2 losses. Playing at Edsall field in Detroit Saturday night if anyone wants to come.