Tough Decision

A good quarterback knows how to make good decisions. Throw deep to a streaking receiver or dump a short pass to the full back? Try to sneak a pass to a covered receiver or hold on for a second longer? Tuck the ball and run for the first down or head out of bounds to stop the clock? Quarterbacks only have split seconds to make the right decision, but every one of them impacts the outcome of the game.

Jimmy Clausen: As the starting quarterback at Notre Dame for the last three years, Clausen has enjoyed a very good college football career. This week, he had to make one more tough decision. Clausen had to decide whether to come back to Notre Dame for his senior year or to enter the NFL Draft.

College: There are many excellent reasons for athletes to finish their college careers. Obviously, getting an education and graduating is at the top of this list. Many athletes who do leave college early for the pros will come back and earn their degree when their playing careers are over. Many high-profile athletes use their time in college as preparation for the pros. Sometimes they just need two or three years to prepare themselves; other times they need all four. Athletes can develop close friendships with teammates, classmates and coaches in college. Staying for a fourth year allows athletes to spend another year with the people close to them.

Pros: Athletes like Jimmy Clausen have spent their whole lives dreaming of playing in the big leagues. They have worked hard throughout high school and college in an effort to achieve this goal. The NFL and other professional sports represent the highest level of competition. It's the best players in the world playing on the biggest stage. Players step up to this level when they are ready to compete, which is sometimes before they play four years in college.

In the end, Clausen decided to become eligible for the NFL Draft and will realize his dream of becoming a pro football player. He has accomplished much at Notre Dame and wants to start the next phase of his career. Clausen thought hard about his decision and consulted with his family and coaches. When athletes make the decision to enter the NFL or other professional leagues, it's important to consider all factors so that they can do what's best for them. Just like on the field.

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