The NFL will hold its supplemental draft this Wednesday and the biggest name surrounding it has to be Ohio State's former standout QB, Terrelle Pryor. Pryor, you may recall, was the biggest name involved in a scandal that involved players violating NCAA policy and their head coach, Jim Tressel, covering it up in yet another violation. This incident, which at its roots isn't that horrible by normal standards cost Tressel his job, Ohio State every win in 2010, and also cost Pryor his senior season.
While only officially suspended for the first five games, Pryor saw that NCAA findings would eventually cause him to miss the entire season so he went out, hired Drew Rosenhaus as his agent, and declared himself for the NFL.
Only the NFL is saying hold on a minute.
Having ditched his college career after the draft in April, Pryor was hoping that he could participate in the supplemental draft that is being held this week. The problem, however, is that the NFL is hesitating in declaring Pryor eligible. They are struggling with the thought that Pryor, who was not ruled ineligible and chose to exit his collegent career of his own accord, shouldn't be ruled eligible due to a part of the NFL's draft-eligibility rules that say that "expiration of a player's college football eligibility through withdrawal from school, dismissal or signing a professional contract in another football league" does not automatically qualify a player for the NFL.
Pryor's camp, however, is sticking by another part of the same rules that say "Any player who is ineligible for the principal draft but who becomes eligible after such draft and prior to the beginning of the League's next season is not eligible to be signed as a free agent but is eligible for supplemental selection procedure conducted by the Commissioner."
The fate of Pryor's football future lies in the hands of Commissioner Goodell, who reportedly doesn't really want to include Pryor in this draft.
In an effort to sway the Commissioner, Pryor is seeking a face to face meeting and has pressed his former school for a letter to clarify his ineligibility for the entire 2011 season so that he would be eligible for the supplemental draft. Ohio State obliged and banned him from involvement with the program for five years.
Unfortunately, they cited Pryor's failure to cooperate with the NCAA as the reason for his ineligibility, a reason that will not put him in the Commissioner's good graces.
"I have appreciated your willingness in the past to consent to lengthy interviews by the institution and the NCAA, and to provide certain financial records," Smith said in the letter. "I was disappointed to learn from your attorney that as of June 7, 2011, you have chosen not to interview [anymore] with the representatives of the NCAA and the Ohio State University.
"In light of that decision the university must declare you ineligible for intercollegiate competition because you failed to cooperate with the university in violation of NCAA Bylaw 10.1 [which requires, among other things, cooperation and forthright, honest answers]. In addition, due to that failure to cooperate, the university must disassociate you from its athletic program for a period of five years."
While breaking the rules is a bad thing in any light, it should be noted that Pryor is only 21 years old and while age is no excuse, it should be a factor in this case. Just let the kid play, commish, it's not like he did anything that was detrimental to the sport.
We will know within the next 24 hours if Pryor is ruled eligible and hopefully common sense will prevail. Don't count on it but one can hope and I know of one guy who is hoping for just that.
UPDATE: The NFL has postponed the Supplemental Draft until further notice.
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