Stay in school, kids.

The story about the NCAA reconsidering its rule about letting basketball players declare for the NBA draft but allow them the opportunity to return to college under certain conditions with their eligibility intact is interesting for what it says about what the NCAA is struggling to do with its amateurism protocol.

But I wonder how much of an impact it would really have if the policy were extended to football, as SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey has hinted might be under consideration.  Take a look at this chart:

% of student-athletes who declared for NBA draft, but were not selected

  • 2015 – 34.04
  • 2014 – 36.36
  • 2013 – 37.7
  • 2012 – 30.6
  • 2011 – 30.95

% of student-athletes who declared for NFL draft, but were not selected

  • 2015 – 25.6
  • 2014 – 37
  • 2013 – 30
  • 2012 – 18
  • 2011 – 23

In 2014, the percentage of college football players actually declaring early but not being drafted exceeded that of college basketball players, but look what happened this year.  And if you’re wondering why, it’s because the NFL got more persuasive about the odds.

The decrease in players leaving school early for the NFL came a year after the league altered its evaluation process – limiting schools to just five draft-eligible underclassmen it can request evaluations for and altering the information that players receive.

Previously, five different grades were handed out by the NFL Draft Advisory Board: As high as the first round; as high as the second round; as high as the third round; no potential to go in the first three rounds; and no potential to be drafted.

That was cut to three categories this year: first round, second round, and neither – which is the board advising the player to stay in school.

Look, as much as these coaches like to say it’s a rule change that favors the players, it’s really about the rule favoring college coaches, by letting them keep the talent around longer.  The question I have is how much a change by the NCAA would really matter, given the effect education has had.  Let’s face it – it’s not like the NFL needs these kids to come out a year early.  If they don’t, it’s one less year they get paid.


Filed under The NCAA, The NFL Is Your Friend.

11 responses to “Stay in school, kids.

  1. DawgPhan

    I am sure I am not seeing all the angles, but something like the NCAA saying a kid can come back to school if he doesnt take any money is the nuclear option for the NFL. No matter where he gets drafted he can always come back to college without a loss of eligibility. Think you are a 1st round guy and get drafted in the 3rd, go back to school. Undrafted, Go back to school. 1st round, but dont want to go to Cleveland, go back to school.

    At least if the NCAA wants a little leverage against the NFL in some of these matters.


    • DP, great point.

      The problem is most of these guys sign with agents upon declaring. I can’t see agents allowing a kid who signs to return to school, and I can’t imagine a kid signing a contract with an agent for only deferred money. I assume the agents pay for the draft preparation and all that goes along with the process. In practice, this may be difficult in practice without changing the rules of dealing with agents. I don’t think that’s a bridge the NCAA is ready to cross especially considering Kessler’s lawsuit.

      The NCAA’s “amateurism” rules really strip them of any leverage against the NFL and NBA.


      • DawgPhan

        Just depends on what your goal is. Is it to protect these students? Then you can figure out a way for them to get the training they need without taking agent money. Just another recruiting tool. Come to UGA we have the best draft prep coaches in the country for when you are ready to make the move up.


        • Excellent point – I could see that as the next front to be opened on the recruiting front that would beat the hell out of waterfalls and all you can eat bagels and cream cheese.

          That’s an innovation that schools could offer now – call CMR, DP!


    • Bulldog Joe

      How long until we see NCAA programs counter-offering the Jags, Rams, or Bills for a player (above the table)? FSU has already announced its intent to establish a “trust fund” program.


  2. I have to give the NFL credit here. They are telling the potential early entrant we want you to come out if you’re likely to go in the first 2 rounds. They are also saying we would like for you to get that 4th year if you aren’t. Hopefully, student-athletes are taking that advice and will use it to develop their skills further and get closer to getting a degree.

    I’m too lazy to look for the data, but it would be interesting to see the data of the number of underclassmen who declared. I assume it would show a drop in the last year of the number of applicants.


  3. HVL Dawg

    I think a lot of these kids are simply finished with school. Period. They can hang in there with all the academic supports for a couple of years, but at some point they realize that they’ve either got to go pro or move on with whatever life brings. No more reading chapters and writing papers. GPA eligibility stress. They weren’t college material in the first place- not meant as an insult.



    Seems to me the baseball model would work just fine…but the NFL doesn’t want that.


  5. 69Dawg

    I think the NCAA should just take a nuclear option. An individual has 5 while enrolled in college to play 4 years. However, if you are not enrolled during an academic year the clock stops. You are then given until your ? birthday to complete your eligibility. The NCAA should also say they don’t care how much money you make as long as your not enrolled in school. You come out early, sign with an agent, get drafted sign a contract but get cut and are out of professional football, come on back to college and finish your eligibility while you finish your degree. Screw amateurism. I’m still trying to figure out a way that would have let Herschel come back.