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Should The NFL Shun Guys Like Terrell Pryor Who Leave the NCAA Due to Violations?

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Terrell Pryor is anxiously awaiting word on whether he will be eligible for the NFL's supplemental draft

As Terrell Pryor continues to try to make his case for being eligible for Wednesday’s “Supplemental Draft,” ESPN’s Adam Schefter speculates about why the NFL might be putting Pryor through the paces:

But other sources around the league believe that, after all the controversy regarding players who violated the NCAA regulations last year and the pressure Nick Saban and others put on the NFL, the league now is trying to close the door for players who come into the NFL because they violated NCAA regulations. If true, then Pryor would suffer for some of the prior actions of others.

But some believe it is difficult for the NFL to assess the nature of NCAA violations and if it wants to do that, it needs to announce a new policy and apply it prospectively. But then again, it would give NFL commissioner Roger Goodell the type of power he has with the conduct policy, with the final call on his desk, applying his standard of right and wrong.

So the question bears asking…should players who leave NCAA football due to penalties be allowed to enter the NFL?

I say “yes” for a few reasons.

The main reason I say these players should be allowed in is because there’s no way the NFL would apply standards fairly when it comes to NCAA rulings. For example,  players who are penalized by the  NCAA AFTER entering the NFL do not face punishment by the NFL. Unfortunately, the NFL is considering changing that fact. But until they do, punishing only the players who received more “timely” punishment by the NCAA is unfair.

Secondly, the  NCAA isn’t consistent with its own investigations and punishments. By all accounts, NCAA violations, including the ones Pryor was suspended for, are not uncommon. They are, however, spottily investigated. Basing NFL policy on the decisions of an unreliable governing body is heading down the wrong path. It’s not to say that the NCAA should be expected to find every violator, but the instances in which they “discover” violations their record of penalties is inconsistent.

Even more, the  NFL isn’t prone to preventing athletes who have prior arrests-even for violent acts-out of the draft. If the goal is to promote character, this brings us to a debate about who’s character is better? Someone who beat his girlfriend in college or the guy who sold his own jerseys? The NFL shouldn’t head down that road.

Beyond that, there are many cases in which a player would have entered the draft even if not suspended. Not sure if the NFL is more worried about leaving DUE to a suspension or the fact that the player was ever suspended. I can’t imagine the NFL would ever shun a talent like Dez Bryant from entering the draft just because his college career was cut short by suspension regardless of the circumstances.

If Pryor’s eligibility rests upon his NCAA violations, the NFL should not issue a rejection before a policy making all suspended players ineligible is in place. I’ll be interested in the final ruling. The clock is ticking.

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