Put a Ring on It: Is This the New Class Ring?
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On May 8, 32 college athletes were among the elite to be drafted into the NFL in the first round. One draftee in particular, University of North Carolina tight end Eric Ebron made headlines before the draft even began, by proposing to his girlfriend, Brittany Rountree, a member of the UNC Tarheels basketball team.
Ebron’s proposal marks a growing trend amongst collegiate athletes popping the question with engagement rings as they ascend to the higher echelons of professional sports. Detroit Lions running back Ian Johnson, along with quarterbacks RG3 of the Washington Redskins and Matt Barkley of the Philadelphia Eagles, famously popped the question to their longtime college sweethearts as well. This trend begs the question… is college the place to find a high-priced husband?
In October 2013, Facebook released a report stating that nearly a third of married Facebook users met or married people who attended the same college. A similar study from the American Community survey noted that 71 percent of college graduates married someone with a college degree. Men were more likely to find a woman with a degree as women are the top earners of B.A. degrees in the U.S. The study also indicates that the more education a woman has, the less likely she is to marry someone without a college degree.
But does this mean college will yield a spouse with a multimillion-dollar sports contract? Don’t bet on it. Dating in and of itself can be difficult to manage while carrying a full load of courses. I can’t count the number of times I’ve had to step outside of class to console a student fresh off of a bad fight or breakup with her boyfriend. Dating a college athlete brings on a whole other set of challenges: demanding schedules, campus wide popularity, high levels of scrutiny, travel, and the ever watchful eye of camera phones, and social media, which can change lives in an instant.
Controversial author Susan Patton, who penned the book Marry Smart, suggests that women should spend 75 percent of their time in college looking for a husband in order to shore up their prospects for having a family and sustainable income after graduation. I have learned from years of observation and experience that it is an exercise in futility to try to manage dynamics that are beyond your control. Trying to manipulate someone into marriage or sacrificing study time and tuition dollars, in hopes of being “taken care of” after college, is an unwise course of action. There are no guarantees of a lasting relationship and fame comes at a price.
The best investment of time in college is committing to earning a degree, building meaningful relationships built on mutual love and respect, and walking away with a diploma in one hand and a job offer in the other. If all of that happens to come with a super-sexy athlete worth millions of dollars, who truly loves and respects you, so be it.
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