Luck puts education over NFL

January 6, 2011 7:13:17 PM PST
Stanford is in luck! The Cardinal's star quarterback, Andrew Luck, has decided to stay. There was a lot of speculation that, as one of the best quarterbacks in the country, he would quit college and go to the NFL.

Quarterback Andrew Luck led the Stanford Cardinal to a 12-1 season, including an impressive victory over Virginia Tech in the Orange Bowl. The payoff could have been a multi-million-dollar NFL contract, but Luck is staying put. Teammate Terrance Stephens says he's not surprised.

"I don't think it's about the money for him. It can't be because a degree from Stanford is priceless and I think he sees it that way," says Stephens.

Luck pretty much confirmed that in a statement which reads: "I am committed to earning my degree in architectural design from Stanford University and am on track to accomplish this at the completion of the spring quarter in 2012."

People on campus say that one sentence speaks volumes as to who Luck is as a person.

"I think he was the valedictorian of his high school class. I think it's a statement about his character, what he values. So, I think it's awesome," says Stanford women's lacrosse coach Jaime Sellers.

There's no question the quarterback's decision also reflects well on Stanford.

"It's a testament to the university and to the Bay Area for that matter. I mean, this is just not a place you walk away from," says Stanford's assistant women's soccer coach Jay Cooney.

Many say Luck's move provides him the education he wants and only delays that NFL fame and fortune.

"He's like our John Elway and so we're going to watch him succeed at Stanford. I mean, we already just won the Orange Bowl and go into the pros and be awesome there," says student athlete Lindsey Dickerson.

Thanks in large part to Andrew Luck, Stanford is set to finish the season in the top five of the AP poll for the first time since 1940.

The question that remains now is whether coach Jim Harbaugh can resist the lure of the NFL. His players say either way he's given them the tools to move forward.

"It's kind of like a freight train and once you get rolling, that freight train you really can't stop it," says Stephens.

With their quarterback on board, the next stop could be a perfect season.

Luck's decision to stay at Stanford will no doubt have a profound impact on Stanford's football team and of course much more.

ABC7 sports director Larry Beil jokes this move should give a big boost to Stanford's architectural design program.

A lot of people are shocked by this decision, but Luck has been saying for months that he really wanted to stay in school and nobody believed him - until today.

What has people shaking their heads in amazement is that Luck is turning down millions; he might be leaving $40 or $50 million on the table, depending on what happens with the NFL's collective bargaining agreement.

Most NFL insiders believe there will be a lockout in the NFL next season and half the season may be wiped out in a labor dispute, but Andrew's dad, Oliver, said that was not a big factor in the decision.

ABC7 was told Colts great Peyton Manning recently spoke with Luck and said, "Look, you are going to play 10 or 15 years in the NFL. When it's all over, you'll have made $200 million, do whatever makes you happy right now."

And happiness is apparently a degree in architectural design and playing on Saturdays - instead of Sundays for now.