Mike Florio of NBC’s Pro Football Talk reports the NFL is considering making academic eligibility a prerequisite for an invitation towards the league’s Scouting Combine. The news, first reported by CBSSport’s Bruce Feldman, is within response to an increasing number of voices criticizing the league because of not taking the academic success of their recruits seriously.
Would adopting such a change result in more players taking their higher education more seriously? Not based on Florio. He explains that banning ineligible players in the Combine will, over time, not improve graduation rates among football prospects but will instead increase recruitment and scouting costs for that teams.
By excluding the players deemed most likely to be drafted from Indianapolis, the NFL would simply be making the scouting process more cumbersome and expensive for its teams. ?The primary benefit of the Scouting Combine originates from bringing all of the top prospects and every one of the teams towards the same place, reducing significantly the costs of the medical review and creating an opportunity to talk to as many players as possible, either via the normal interview rotation or even the loosely-organized (and lesser-known) \”train station\” conversations, which theoretically allows a sufficiently diligent team to join up face time each and every player.
As Florio notes, being ineligible won\’t actually mean that the player can\’t enter the draft, but that he cannot attend the Combine. In all, Florio dismisses the move as a cheap PR ploy made to cater to the fans who are demanding steps be taken to prevent a repeat from the Aaron Hernandez saga.
Hernandez, the previous tight end for that New England Patriots was recently faced with the murder of Odin Lloyd. Although initially considered a first-round draft pick, Hernandez dropped towards the 4th round within the 2010 draft because of character issues along with a number of failed drug tests during his college years prior to being picked through the Patriots.
So while it\’s good that the NFL is considering ways to prevent future Aaron Hernandezes from being employed by NFL teams when they allegedly commit murder or any other mayhem, banning academically ineligible players from the Scouting Combine won\’t do anything whatsoever to accomplish the aim.
Unless the goal would be to generate some P.R. that can make the casual fan think the NFL is serious about the problem. ?If the NFL really is serious about the issue, however, this isn\’t the way to solve it.