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College Football: NFL Draft Rules Under Attack

Steve Shoup

The NFL’s draft rules have come under fire, and not for the first time; though, this most recent contention is probably the most serious. According to the NFL, their draft rules have always been purposed towards protecting college football and college football players. Of course, not everyone agrees with the NFL, with critics rising from amongst the college football players themselves, and even NFL betting enthusiasts.

The draft rule in question was adopted in 1990. The idea behind the rule was to ensure that students would have to wait for at least three years after their graduation from high school before they could enter the draft.

And the objective of the NFL in adopting this rule was to keep young men fresh out of high school from engaging in an aggressive game like football with grown men. The lawsuit from Maurice Clarett aims to force early entry into the draft, with Clarett’s supporters suggesting that the NFL’s draft rule goes against the freedoms of the society even while overlooking the foundations of a free market.

The argument is simple enough to understand; no one is suggesting that children should be sent to the NFL to play against grown men. Rather, if someone is at least 18-years-old, then they have the right to vote and even join the military.

That means they have the capacity to try and enter the draft; even more importantly, if there are teams out there that might be willing to recruit them, they the NFL shouldn’t have the power to keep young players from benefiting from such opportunities.

And while there are definite risks involved, an adult of 18 years or older should be able to decide whether or not they are willing to contend with such risks. In other words, all college football players should have the power to control the direction their careers take.

This opposition to the NFL rule has received backing from some notable coaches. One particularly legendary college football coach went so far as to bring NFL players back to college, allowing them to practice against other college football players. The purpose has obviously been to undermine the NFL’s argument that they are simply trying to protect young players from grown NFL players.

Trent Richardson had a tryout for the Chiefs last week. In preparation for the tryout, he went to LSU to practice with a scout team. Trent is as grown a man as they can get. As such, his presence made it possible to show the NFL that grown men and young players could co-exist safely on the field.

Many a player had a chance to tackle Trent, an opportunity many of them will relish. It isn’t clear whether colleges around the country support or oppose the NFL draft rule.

Some have argued that colleges haven’t spoken out against the Draft rule because it works in their favor to keep young players around for as long as possible; they cannot afford to have every talent youngster running off to join the NFL the moment they hit 18.

They need to keep college football populated with enough talent to make the arena entertaining.




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