The San Francisco 49ers are midway through their offseason workout program, but they will be absent one key figure after rookie minicamp. Their first round pick, defensive end Solomon Thomas, is allowed to participate in rookie minicamp, but then cannot rejoin the team until after Stanford final exams come to an end.
The NFL and NCAA agreed on this rule a long time ago (I don’t recall exactly when). The idea behind it is that players can remain on track for graduation. It is an outdated rule considering the fact that frequently players are no longer attending class in the spring once they begin draft preparations. For most players, this is not a big issue as finals end in May. However, Stanford is on the quarter system, which means their final exams are in June. According to the Stanford academic calendar, finals run June 9-14. The 49ers mandatory minicamp runs June 13-15, so there is a chance he’ll get at least one day in, depending on when his own finals end.
The 49ers have gone through this before. We discussed it last year when Joshua Garnett had to wait until his finals ended at Stanford. If a player has already graduated, the rule does not apply. But Garnett had not, and Thomas has not yet. The one bit of upside is they can take the iPad they are assigned, to which the playbook and practice film is uploaded. It’s not ideal, but it’s better than nothing.