LaTroy Hawkins, a veteran Major League Baseball pitcher who is now with the Toronto Blue Jays, says kids should understand that "the money you're making now, if you make enough of it, that should last you the rest of your life. Kids don't think like that."
Taking it all in was Christian Covington, a former defensive tackle at Rice University, who was just drafted this year by the Houston Texans.
"I want to be wise," Covington told Cowan. "I want to be wise when it comes to football, I want to be wise when it comes to my financial decisions, and I want to be wise when it comes to my off-field actions as well."
According to league statistics, the average career in the NFL is a little more than three years; Major League Baseball, about five. The NBA is right in the middle.
But planning for that kind of early, early retirement isn't on most rookies' minds.
"You want to spend YOUR money the way YOU want to spend your money," said former high school phenom Kenny Anderson. He was the youngest player in the league when he signed with the New Jersey nets back in 1991. Over the next 14 seasons he earned around $60 million. But now, nearly all of that is gone.
When he made it, his family felt they'd made it, too. And for Kenny, a sense of obligation kicked in.
"My accountant used to laugh at me sometimes; he's like, 'You're not even spending your money. Other people are spending your money!'" said Anderson.
The first thing he bought as a rookie? A house for his mom. Then he started writing checks to his siblings. "I'm giving my sisters and my brothers allowance, you know? They're grown people. Allowance? You know what I mean?"
"How much of an allowance?" asked Cowan.
"You know, $3,000 to $5,000 a month."
His talent, and his salary, made him quite the catch -- and that cost him, too.
"I got eight kids, you know, two divorces, this is my third wife. So a lot of this stuff I did it to myself, far as with my money," Anderson said.
"Some people call it the lottery effect -- they've won the lottery," said Len Middleton, a professor at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. He says a common thread among these athletes is a lack of knowledge: "It's not rocket science; it's not hard to learn. It's just being exposed to it."
So he started a business course tailored for future pro athletes, although any student can enroll.
"They have a choice right now. They're at these crossroads, right? And if they gain this knowledge, they're going to be far better off down the road," Middleton said.
"On a $1.3 million salary, when you factor in all these taxes, this is almost $700,000 comes out of the top, right?"
Subtract the hefty savings needed for a retirement that could start in their late 20s -- and the pot gets a lot smaller.
As Middleton subtracts basic living expenses, it gets worse: "This is what you have left -- $50,000," he said. "Now you see why these guys go broke."
"I was in shock," said Glenn Robinson. "Like, I almost walked out of the class crying. I was like, 'Where did it go?'"