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Skills vary for each student's combine

Feb. 28, 2001

The futures of 300 of college football's best players were partially determined this week at the National Football League combine in Indianapolis. I say 'partially' because many of the top players will wait for individual workout days later in the spring to try and wow scouts under the most comfortable surroundings.

But hearing about who had the fastest 40 meter time or who kicked the longest field goal got me thinking, which, admittedly, is a pretty dangerous thing. Still, the question dawned on me: What if regular students, not just student-athletes, had to go to a combine to determine their draft position for the real world?

The combine for journalism majors, for example, would be pretty straightforward. We're always going to be chasing after our interviews, so our 40-yard dash time would be very important. For those students wishing to cover politics, however, the endurance to stay with the president on three-mile jogs would take center-stage. Additionally, knowing more Associated Press style than the next guy might make the difference between going in the seventh round or getting invited to training camp as a street free agent.

The combine would have to apply to all majors though. So as a public service, here are the rough requirements for a first-round pick in some of the most popular majors at Baylor. Of course, all my findings are based on extensive interviews with real NFL executives.

English major: Identify the author, primary characters and overall theme of 15 great American novels in 30 minutes. Be able to do 10 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press (great American novels are also heavy American novels).

Business major: Have a plan to renegotiate five contracts to get your team under the salary cap. Eyesight of 20-20 is mandatory (small print regarding deferred money and performance bonuses is killer on the baby-blues).

Music major: Be able to whistle Beethoven's first five symphonies. The ability to sing the national anthem a la former Green Bay Packer Esera Tuaolo will also increase your draft value (and give you important leverage in talks for your contract extension).

Premedical major: I know it's not technically a major, but work with me here. In preparation for your days as an intern, premedical students will stay up for 36 consecutive hours playing the game Operation. You'll also have to run endless pass patterns to demonstrate your precision and soft hands (note to would-be surgeons: one dropped pass and you're looking at fourth-round money. Hospitals can't afford your stonehands).

Philosophy major: Write a 50-page thesis on the concept of free agency. What is freedom? Can one ever truly break the bonds of a multi-million dollar contract, or does it serve as nothing more than a set of invisible shackles, designed to subjugate you to the basest and most inhuman desires of your employers, I mean oppressors? (You know -- desires like expecting you to come to camp in-shape and honor your contract for more than two years).

I know there are more majors that need to get to be represented at the new academic combine, but this list will have to do for now. I don't know what you're doing for spring break, but I'm going to brush up on the AP stylebook. The measurements and dimensions section has been killing me since I got here.