Oklahoma’s answer to the question “How do we replace Baker Mayfield?” is to Rent Kyler Murray. Andy Turner reports on a somewhat unusual situation…
College football is of course a sport played by amateur student athletes, but the University of Oklahoma have decided to fill the big hole at QB this season by in effect plugging picking a professional athlete.
That athlete is Kyler Murray, out of Allen (Texas) High School where he was graded as a 5 star recruit, the highest grading awarded by the recruiting agencies. He chose to attend Texas A&M University but it didn’t work out for Murray. He didn’t become first choice QB for then HC Kevin Sumlin and as is his right he decided to transfer to the University of Oklahoma. He played little football his first year as he was on a team led by Baker Mayfield so he would not have expected much playing time anyway.
In 2017, Mayfield won the Heisman, led the Sooners to the College Football play-off semi-final and was then drafted 1st in the 2018 NFL draft, so Murray was seen as having an inside line to follow Mayfield’s path as the Sooners new QB, right?
Not so fast my friend. Murray was an outstanding QB in high school, leading his school to three Texas State championships, but he was also an outstanding baseball player in high school and he continued to play both sports in college.
Earlier this year he was the 9th overall pick of the Oakland A’s in the MLB draft. Murray, a shortstop in high school but playing outfield in college apparently with an impressive combination of speed and power, has agreed a guaranteed contract with A’s which will pay him $5million and allow him one more year as QB for the Sooners.
He sees his long term future in baseball, which makes perfect sense, especially as he is a more dual threat type of QB, more vulnerable to the big hit and less NFL friendly.
The issue here is the seeming hypocrisy of the NCAA (college sports ruling body) regulations.
If Murray had been drafted by an NFL team he couldn’t take money from them and then return to college. Once you are classed as a professional athlete in a sport you cannot compete in that sport at collegiate level, so no baseball for Murray at college level.
His first three games of the season have seen him living up to all the hype, even murmurings of Heisman consideration have been heard, so it’s just a case of enjoy it while it lasts for Oklahoma fans.
There is nothing about this story that makes you in anyway feel bad about Murray. He is taking full advantage of the system as it stands and there has been one other big beneficiary of Murray’s baseball contract, that is head coach Lincoln Riley who has had a big pay rise to ensure that his amateur quarterback is not paid more than him!