What are the odds?


Now that Nate Wolters has signed with the Milwaukee Bucks, South Dakota State boasts former players that are active in the NBA (Wolters), MLB (Twins pitcher Caleb Thielbar) and NFL (Panthers WR Dale Moss, Cowboys TE Colin Cochart, Colts K Adam Vinatieri). That’s a first in school history. It also figures to be fairly rare nationally.

My first instinct was to see how many other colleges are in the same boast right now, having reps in each of the major American pro sports league that they sponsor. (The Jacks don’t have varsity hockey, only club.) But if such a list exists, the Google machines is unaware of it.

So let’s slice this another way.

In 2012, the NCAA put out a list on the pro probabilities in several sports, including those relevant to this post.  

The odds of going from college to the pros in baseball: 11.6 percent. However, that number is based on how many players get drafted by MLB organizations - making it to the bigs is considerably harder.

Likewise, the football odds pertain to get drafted by an NFL team as a senior in college. Those are at 1.7 percent. That doesn’t specifically apply in this case because Cochart, Moss and Vinatieri were not drafted. Then again, that might decrease their odds of making it.

Hoops has the most difficult road due to small roster size. The odds of getting drafted by an NBA team when done with college: 1.2 percent. This methodology most applies to the Wolters situation as he was both an outgoing senior and a draft pick. 

As for bringing together all of that information to formulate the odds of a school – still in its first decade at the NCAA Division I level - playing a part each of those long shots? I’m not a major math, but common sense tells me the collective number has to be smaller - maybe significantly so - than any of the individual odds. Right? 

Go ahead and tuck this away in the (growing) This May Never Happen Again Folder. Oh, and put a copy in the Things Can Change Quickly Pile because it’s hard to stick in the bigs. Based solely on odds and player ages, SDSU is at least as likely to have fewer top-level pros then more at this time next year. 

Terry Vandrovec also posts regular updates on his Twitter page.