2011 NFL Supplemental Draft: Terrelle Pryor Opening Pandora's Box?

The NFL announced six players would be eligible for the 2011 Supplemental Draft. The draft will be held Monday August 22 at 10:00am pacific. The eligible players are:

Torez Jones, DB, Western Carolina
Caleb King, RB, Georgia
Keenan Mace, DE, Lindenwood
Mike McAdoo, DE, North Carolina
Terrelle Pryor, QB, Ohio State
Tracy Wilson, DB, Northern Illinois

The most intriguing name from just a "name" standpoint is Terrelle Pryor. After his troubles at Ohio State, there were questions whether he would be allowed into the supplemental draft. Pryor and agent Drew Rosenhaus ended up cutting a deal with the league in which he is eligible for the draft but he "will be ineligible to practice practice prior to or play in the first five games of the NFL regular season after he signs.  Pryor may be selected in the Supplemental Draft, negotiate and sign a contract with an NFL club, and fully participate in the remainder of the preseason."

The league made this ruling because:

...Pryor made decisions that undermine the integrity of the eligibility rules for the NFL Draft.  Those actions included failing to cooperate with the NCAA and hiring an agent in violation of NCAA rules.  This resulted in Ohio State declaring him ineligible to continue playing college football.  Pryor then applied to enter the NFL after the regular draft.  Pryor had accepted at the end of the 2010 college football season a suspension for the first five games of the 2011 season for violating NCAA rules.

Some members of the NFL Players Association are questioning whether this opens a can of worms for a variety of retroactive NCAA violations. At first I found myself wondering whether under this a player like Frank Gore could be punished for any illegal benefits he might have received at Miami based on the current story (assuming he actually did receive such benefits).

However, upon further review, the NFL PR folks did make a good point:

On Pryor, we are not enforcing NCAA rules. We are upholding our own eligibility rules, which have never been based on the notion that a college player could choose to violate NCAA rules, obtain declaration that he is ineligible for college fb, then enter the NFL draft.

I prefer to take PR statements with a grain of salt, but if this issue is contained to just a situation like Pryor's, then I suppose there is some accuracy to the PR statement. At the same time, I can see why the NFLPA would be at least a little bit troubled by this scenario. Often times the ruling itself is not the problem, but rather the possible variations on the ruling down the road. Even though something like punishing a current veteran (e.g. Frank Gore) seems ridiculous right now, it's hard to tell how far the NFL will take this. Sort of a give them an inch they'll take a mile kind of philosophy.

As for the issue of illegal benefits, that's a whole other issue entirely. People can feel free to discuss that in here, but that takes you so far down the rabbit hole you may never make your way back.

On a side note, do you see the 49ers making a move for any of these players on Monday?

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