- Oklahoma QB drafted in MLB first round
- Signed $4.66 million deal with Oakland A's
- Will return to play football junior year
(CNN)Here's one way to get paid in American college athletics: Go professional in another sport.
That's exactly what University of Oklahoma quarterback and Major League Baseball prospect Kyler Murray did when he signed a $4.66 million deal with the Oakland Athletics this month.
The 21-year-old junior will fight for a starting quarterback spot with the No. 3 ranked Sooners this season before joining the A's in January.
The deal pays Murray nearly the same salary as Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley, who is set to receive $4.8 million this year.
But he's not letting the dollar signs go to his head -- especially when more than 100 of his teammates are living off student-athlete stipends of a few thousand dollars each.
"To me, I'm still broke," Murray told the Chicago Tribune. "I'm not the kind of guy to come up here and blow money."
He added: "They obviously made fun of having money. All that stuff, they make fun of it, but it's all been good. They showed love, supported me through it all, I'm very thankful for that."
Playing for free
By signing a professional contract, Murray lost his eligibility with the Sooners' baseball team, where the outfielder batted .296 with 10 home runs and 10 stolen bases in 51 games last season.
But NCAA rules allow college athletes to play professionally in one sport while maintaining eligibility in others, giving the No. 9 pick in the 2018 MLB draft another year of Division I football.
Murray's unusual situation is an eye-opener in an era where the push to pay college athletes from major programs in some form has gained traction.
As a gifted athlete, Murray will receive little more than a scholarship from the University of Oklahoma, whose football program reaped reported revenues of over $155 million last year
The A's, meanwhile, reportedly received $210 million in revenues last year, while paying over $83 million in salaries.
'I'm ready to go'
The fact that Murray, who stands at 5 feet 10 inches tall, is an undersized quarterback for the NFL could have made for an easy decision to commit to baseball.
MLB contracts are generally fully guaranteed for a career that lasts, on average, 5.6 years, according to a recent study. NFL careers span just 3.3 years on average, according to the NFL Players' Association.
All drafted rookies sign four-year contracts, though guaranteed money is slim outside the first two rounds.
Depending on how his season at Norman, Oklahoma goes, Murray may rethink his commitment to the A's -- and Riley has left the door open for him to return for his senior year.
Should he win the starting quarterback job from Austin Kendall, Murray will succeed last year's Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield, who he shadowed on the Sooners' sideline last season.
Mayfield, the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft, was signed to a four-year $32.7 million deal with the Cleveland Browns.