Nick Saban Questions If NFL Draft Prospects Would Opt Out of Spring CFB Season

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistAugust 18, 2020

Alabama head coach Nick Saban looks on against Arkansas during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 26, 2019, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo/Vasha Hunt)
Vasha Hunt/Associated Press

As a number of conferences weigh the possibility of playing football in the spring, Alabama head coach Nick Saban is wondering if any NFL draft prospects would want to play at that point. 

Appearing on ESPN's Get Up! on Tuesday, Saban talked about "one of the real consequences" of trying to delay the football season (starts at 5:20 mark). 

"If you're a junior or senior, and you have an NFL grade, are you gonna play in the spring?" he said. "Or is that going to sort of become a JV season with a lot of these juniors and seniors opting out and not playing their senior year?"

The Big Ten and Pac-12 announced last week they were postponing fall sports because of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Both conferences said in their announcements they would evaluate options for those sports, including the potential for spring seasons, at a later date. 

The SEC, along with the Big 12 and ACC, is still planning to move forward with a fall season that features conference-only games. 

Several players have already opted out if there is a season, including Miami defensive end Gregory Rousseau and Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons. 

A spring season could make it difficult for draft-eligible prospects to justify playing for their college teams.

In July, Dan Wolken of USA Today reported the NFL said it's not interested in delaying next year's draft if the 2020 college football season takes place in the spring; however, a report from NFL Network's Ian Rapoport this month indicates it may have softened its stance.

The 2021 NFL draft is scheduled to take place from April 29 to May 1 in Cleveland. 

The SEC has released a revised 10-game schedule for this season that begins Sept. 26 and runs through Dec. 5. The SEC Championship Game is scheduled to take place Dec. 19 at Atlanta's Mercedes-Benz Stadium.