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NFL Reportedly Considering Banning Academically Ineligible Players from Combine

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 25:  NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell speaks at the podium in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 25, 2013 in New York City.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Al Bello/Getty Images
Timothy RappFeatured ColumnistJuly 7, 2013

There's no question the NFL has come under scrutiny of late about the character of its players, especially in the wake of the Aaron Hernandez situation. In response, the league is apparently looking to take measures to ensure higher-quality individuals enter their league. 

And one such proposal, according to Bruce Feldman of CBS, is ensuring that only academically eligible players can attend the NFL Scouting Combine:

There are several issues with this proposal, of course. For one, as Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk pointed out, the league would only be making the pre-draft process more complicated for the teams, who would have to travel to evaluate prospects rather than do so in one place at the combine.  

It would be an inconvenience for teams, especially since academically ineligible players would still be eligible to be drafted. Many of these players would probably be fine with skipping the combine, as pro days are generally more comfortable environments for NFL prospects. 

And it seems a stretch to link players who are academically ineligible to those that will be troublemakers down the road. After all, there have been plenty of academically eligible players to hit the league who have had off-field concerns. 

And what would the guidelines be when determining a player's academic eligibility? As Chris Burke of Sports Illustrated notes, many players basically ignore school anyway after the bowls to prep for the draft:

I can understand the NFL's concern with its image and desire to seek preemptive remedies. But keeping academically ineligible players from the combine not only wouldn't prevent potential troublemakers from entering the league, it would bog up the pre-draft process for all parties involved. 

 

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