Second Year Aerospace Engineering student here.. maybe I can contribute to this. First of all, don't equate any athlete's desire for success in his/her sport with that of their academics. Understand that people care more about some things than they do about other things, and claiming that they're passion for success is uniformly distributed across all activities is simply too assumptive. In fact, anyone who has ever known a high-level athlete knows that contrary is more than often true. I attend Rutgers University - recent inductee into the Big 10 - and cannot count how many times I've heard of cases in which athletes devise tactics to absolve themselves of college's educational obligations. This is understandable to a degree when considering the enormous egos and expectations established by these athletes. It's hard to regress from the hot-shot high school life when college proposes so many new toys and ways to have fun - in such a case who'd wanna be bogged down by school work? I'm not saying it's reasonable to ignore school work as many athletes do, but it's not difficult to arrive at a set of reasons why they do. As a devoted scientist I hate to bring up anecdotal evidence to support my claim, but I went to school with Johnny Sebastian and Nick Suriano at Bergen Catholic. I'd interviewed Johnny and written an article on him for the HS newspaper. Both were exceedingly talented and hard-working wrestlers, and nonetheless friendly people. But neither were they outstandingly, nor even slightly, considered to be intelligent or hard-working students by their peers, simply because they had neither the time nor patience for school. That's the commitment one must make when participating in such a high-level sport, and such is the reason why I don't advocate that just anyone go into wrestling because it simply won't adequately gauge everyone's natural abilities and desires given the sacrifice required to be just decent at it. Anyhow, we shouldn't assume any greater intelligence of Pico just because he is freakishly good at wrestling and even freakishlierly humble ... on-camera that is. Anyhow, my point has been made there.
Secondly, I don't deny that Pico foregoing HS and College Wrestling in favor of freestyle will greatly strengthen his competitive vibe overseas. In his case, it may be the best option simply because he has proven himself as an international contender before that decision was made public. But the general notion that its always excusable for high-school phenoms to forego a pure high school and college education in favor of homeschooling is flawed, and the defense that one can just pick up a college degree with a side of fries afterwards is dismissive of blatant facts. First of all, quality education is almost always had in the physical presence of teachers and colleagues, in an academic environment that facilitates learning to the highest degree. You simply can't get that at home. I have no doubts(though I don't know for sure) that Pico's course load is greatly lessened because of his more immediate obligations, and that there isn't great emphasis placed on him actually understanding what was taught, as opposed to him just being able to run through the homework in time for practice. I have absolutely no proof of this, but it seems logical considering how truly difficult it would be to balance a full-time high school education, and a full-time wrestling career. Very few are able to handle even just one of the two. To assume that Pico is just as dedicated to education, which serves no direct purpose in the face of his wrestling success. as he is to wrestling is - to me - not the most rational conclusion.
And about that post-wrestling college degree... Do you people understand how difficult is it to obtain a degree in mostly anything? You don't just "quit" wrestling and do something else.. there's undoubtedly a deeply emotional transition one must make from being one of the presumed best in the world at something, to becoming an ordinary everyday average joe. This jarring change in relative popularity has been discussed time and time again on this forum - How certain high school phenoms are unable to perform in college, under the new and unique pressures accompanied by simply not being the best in the room anymore. Adopting the beloved "if you're not the best you're nothing" mentality means risking mental and emotional turbulence in the likely case that you simply won't be as good as you want to be. Think of living under the "the losers are the other people" philosophy of Tom Brands for 4 years, only to realize that you are inevitably one of the others that you trained so hard to punish and defeat all of your life. It must be jarring to say the least. Sure, I come from the biased background of engineering - which is statistically the most difficult major in college - but even lesser difficult fine-arts degrees take immense amounts of work and dedication, without even coupling in the difficulty of obtaining a job nowadays. One of Rutgers' most notoriously difficult undergrad courses is Expository Writing - touting a particularly high failure rate, though I believe the rumors are largely unrepresentative of student's laziness that results in bad grades. Try taking Integral Calculus or Thermodynamics... Anyway, imagine an emotionally jarred former wrestler having to put up with failing multiple papers, being constantly accompanied by that feeling of defeat and loss. You don't simply switch off that "winning" philosophy. It stays with you for a while. And every major has one of those Holy S**t this is hard classes. Now, this can be negated by partnering a lighter college load, with wrestling - as many college's do. And it can produce good results... Look at the Magic Man.. Graduating with a Masters Degree in an easy field, but at least a field nevertheless. But that's the product of balancing academics with athletics - something that HS Phenoms will never get if they skip out on college. My post may be in the running for longest of the year by now - and I have much more to say - but I've been silent much too often in light of this argument.