When some athletes leave college to go pro in their sport, they are often just a few credits short of getting their degree. While they could just move on and not worry about it, many spend the offseason back at their college to finish what they started. Red Wings forward Justin Abdelkader, for example, has been at Michigan State the last couple summers working toward finishing his degree.
With hockey, the offseason doesn't get interrupted very much, allowing for players to spend a semester at college or something like that. With the NFL, however, there usually is never much extended time to go off and do your own thing. After the end of the season there might be a couple months, but before you know it the offseason conditioning program starts and then OTAs and minicamps are held. Aside from a month off before training camp, NFL players rarely have a ton of extended free time, which is why this offseason has been so unique with the lockout.
Players have done a number of different things to pass the time during the workout, but I can't think of anything much better than Detroit Lions defensive end Turk McBride going back to college. According to the Oakland Press' Paula Pasche, McBride needed 16 credits to earn his degree in sociology from the University of Tennessee, and the lockout allowed him to go back and complete it.
While the lockout has certainly been an overall negative thing, it's nice that McBride has made the most of it.