Do Schools with Quarter Systems Penalize NFL Draft Selections?

Elyssa GutbrodContributor IMay 22, 2012

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MAY 4: LaVon Brazill #15 and T.Y. Hilton #13 of the Indianapolis Colts look on during a rookie minicamp at the team facility on May 4, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

With the excitement of the 2012 NFL draft behind us, fans can now look forward to organized team activities (OTAs)—the next phase of the young 2012 season.

As always, many new faces were brought into the league with the NFL draft and the subsequent signings of undrafted free agents. With less than three months to go before the preseason kicks off, those rookies will need all of the time they can get with their new teams in order to get up to speed on the next chapter of their lives.

Most teams accomplish the task of helping new players assimilate by throwing minicamps during the early weeks of May. Those camps can make a big difference in getting rookies ready for the team OTAs, many of which will begin this week, by helping put them on the same page as their veteran teammates moving forward.

The rookie minicamps and OTAs are not strictly mandatory, but they do play a vital role in the development of the young men trying to make seamless transitions from college football.

The most common reason for missing these activities is that incoming NFL rookies from colleges that are on an academic quarter system are often unable to attend because of overlap with their academic calendar.

While the vast majority of colleges in the United States honor the traditional semester system where the academic year ends in late April or early May, a handful of schools with NCAA football teams—most notably Stanford University, Ohio State University and Oregon State University—use a less common quarter system. These schools do not officially break for final exams and graduation until much later, often early June.

In the NFL, early June means that the incoming rookies have missed a solid month of team activities.

Andrew Luck, among others, has already missed out on the lions' share of Colts training activities for exactly this reason.

While some players or some positions will be able to make the transition to the NFL more easily than others, the conditioning, team building and learning opportunities provided at these early-season activities can be vital to success for everyone.  

All of the players whose schools use the quarter system are therefore at a disadvantage before they ever set foot on an NFL field, albeit a small one. Quarterbacks, linebackers and other skill players miss out the most by being unable to partake in these activities.

Of course, for those who cannot attend there are surely some concessions made. The playbook can be reviewed from afar and conditioning does not have to be regimented on-site at the field.

What the rookies who are unable to participate in the camps miss out on, though, is twofold. First, they miss the opportunity to begin the types of meaningful on-field relationships with their teammates that can make a subtle difference once the season starts. Second, they miss their first opportunity to officially experience the speed of the NFL.

The players who can attend may not have a significant advantage over those who cannot, but those camps are set up for a reason—they make a positive difference. In the NFL, where any sort of advantage is grabbed onto and milked to its fullest potential, even a small benefit is worth the effort.

What's your take?Get the B/R app to join the conversation

Related

    Offseason's Biggest Loser So Far

    Why the last two weeks have been a disaster for the Bears

    NFL logo
    NFL

    Offseason's Biggest Loser So Far

    Brent Sobleski
    via Bleacher Report

    AFC Exec Blasts Goodell

    Exec calls Goodell’s warning to not criticize NFL draft dates ‘ridiculous and embarrassing’ (SI)

    NFL logo
    NFL

    AFC Exec Blasts Goodell

    Mike Chiari
    via Bleacher Report

    2020's Free Agent Duds 👎

    Predicting whose talent won't be worth the investment

    NFL logo
    NFL

    2020's Free Agent Duds 👎

    Chris Roling
    via Bleacher Report

    NFL Insiders Are Skeptical of 2020 Schedule

    'I don't see how there aren't massive delays up and down the calendar'

    NFL logo
    NFL

    NFL Insiders Are Skeptical of 2020 Schedule

    Mike Freeman
    via Bleacher Report