London • Missy Franklin plans to attend college and swim as a collegian, unless, that is, “some horrendous amount of money” leads her to change her mind, her father said here Tuesday.
Dick Franklin said in an informal news conference before his daughter’s attempt at a third Olympic medal that agents and corporate sponsors have approached him about representing his daughter, a senior-to-be at Regis Jesuit High School. Her parents said it’s ultimately her decision but the family is keeping options open.
“Everything’s great and she’s looking forward to a full-ride scholarship, which is a significant financial implication,” Dick said. “But if there were to be some horrendous amount of corporate money thrown at her, then you’d have to sit down with her and say, ‘Honey, I don’t know that you understand what $1 million or $2 million is but that could be your children’s education. That could be your house when you get married.’
“ Then if she goes, ‘Yeah, but you know, I still want to swim for my school,’ then that’s what she’s going to do.”
Dick Franklin is a better judge of pro contracts than most fathers. He was a corporate executive with Reebok and Head and negotiated many endorsement deals. He knows there is no hurry to make a decision.
As a swimmer Missy likely won’t get injured. As a 17-year-old, she’ll likely get faster.
“The money will be there in four years,” he said. “In my experience, most of the corporations will come after her about 18 months, 12 months before the next Olympics. Rio’s 2016 so it would be sometime after her sophomore year (of college). I think they’d come after her with a vengeance to sign her up for Rio.”
It’s unclear how much money Franklin could make in endorsements. She’s considered the new face of American women’s swimming, and her bubbly personality has become enormously popular with fans and media worldwide during these Games.
However, projected endorsement money often isn’t as great once the excitement of the Olympics fade. While corporate sponsorship for top swim stars in recent years has vastly improved, it may not be enough to overcome the allure of swimming in college.
“I don’t know what a horrendous amount of money is,” Dick said. “Right now it’s $200,000-$300,000 and we can trade that off and have a full-ride scholarship from one of America’s finest schools.”
If Franklin went to college but turned professional, she would work out largely alone away from the college team which trains specifically for certain meets.
She enjoyed swimming for Regis Jesuit High as a junior and may swim for it again next season. Everything is magnified at the Olympics and to the Franklins, so is their daughter’s future.
“Dick and I don’t know what this means yet,” said D.A., her mother. “We have no idea what it means in terms of anything. We’re new at this. We’ll have to take a look at things and as I mentioned, the big thing is Missy makes an educated decision. Whatever we figure out, we’ll share with her and figure out what’s best for her.”