Editorial: Pigeon Forge's Wil Crowe makes right decision to head off to college
Imagine you're one of the top pitching prospects in the country, a teenager who can throw a fastball in the mid-90s and who already has committed to attend the University of South Carolina. That's one of the top college baseball programs on the country. You led your high school team to the state championship.
Then the Major League baseball draft begins and you are sure to be a choice somewhere of a professional baseball team, mauybe even in the first round. A contract in the range of $1 million could be offered to you.
What do you do? It's a dilemma few of us will face, but it was an issue for Wil Crowe, the 2013 Pigeon Forge High graduate who wants a career in the big leagues, but was not willing to pursue it at any price. In the end Crowe elected to head to Columbia and be a student athlete at the University of South Carolina.
The righthander was eventually selected by the Cleveland Indians in round 31, but that was after he had told some teams interested in him what he would need to eschew South Carolina. What he wanted and what teams were willing to pay just didn't square up for the 18-year-old, and he was not dissuaded to give up his college scholarship.
That is an admirable decision. With advice from his family and an advisor, he weighed his options and elected to go to school. It's the right thing to do, because if he was not comfortable with the money dangled before him, he was right to pass on it. That's easy for us to say, of course, but as good as this young man is, both as an athlete and as a person, he will only get better and more mature in a program that is one of the best in the country, winner of the national championship twice in recent
Crowe drew interest from several clubs in the second and third rounds of the draft. The San Diego Padres offered Crowe slot money of around $800,000 at the No. 69 overall pick, but Crowe had been clear, he says, that it would take more than that to pass on coach Chad Holbrook’s Gamecocks.
“(Then) there were a few teams looking at me to go in the third (round),” Crowe said, “And they may have paid me (enough), but it just didn’t work out.” Again in the 10th round a team showed interest in drafting Crowe and using money they’d saved on earlier picks to reel him in, but a deal couldn’t be reached.
“I’m happy going to South Carolina. ... Even if I’d (been offered) over $1.5 million (to sign), it would have been a tough choice,” Crowe said. “The quickest way to the pros is going to school. I get three years (before being draft eligible), have my degree in my back pocket, and the numbers are with you,” he said, noting the high percentage of drafted college pitchers who make it to the Big Leagues.
It will be fun to watch Wil Crowe develop at South Carolina. When the Gamecocks come to Tennessee he will attract a large crowd of friends and fans from Sevier County. And one day, barring injury, he will realize his dream. He is simply too good not to make it to The Show.