The Oakland Athletics are going to allow their first-round pick to play football this season. The team has struck a $5 million deal with outfielder Kyler Murray, according to Jon Heyman of FRS. The 20-year-old Murray is expected to be the Oklahoma Sooners’ quarterback this season.
His status with Oklahoma came into question the instant the Athletics decided to make him the No. 9 selection in the 2018 Major League Baseball Draft.
Shortly after Murray was selected, MLB Network analyst Harold Reynolds said Murray expected to still play football for the Sooners. Many wondered how this would work. Would the Athletics really allow their first-round pick to expose himself to hits on a football field? Would Murray actually choose baseball just as he was about to get his big shot at Oklahoma?
He’ll play two sports
Turns out, the answer to both of those questions is yes. Murray will be able to play one season with Oklahoma before joining the Athletics.
Will the NCAA allow that?
They will. The organization allows players to be professionals in one sport while maintaining their eligibility in another. You may have heard of a guy called Russell Wilson who was drafted by the Colorado Rockies in the middle of his college career. He was allowed to continue playing football, which worked out pretty well for him.
The pay college players debate
Murray is not a paid college athlete. He’s not getting paid by the NCAA or Oklahoma to play football. He’s being paid by the Athletics to play baseball.
Some may try to invoke Murray’s name when discussing whether college players should be paid, but those people are making a dishonest argument. That’s not what’s happening here.
What’s next for Murray?
He’ll do the Bo Jackson thing for one year. He’ll likely start at quarterback for Oklahoma before joining the Athletics to begin his baseball career. After that, the focus will be on baseball full-time.
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