Friday, August 19, 2011

Terrelle Pryor ruling is right on

With the news coming down this week that former Ohio State QB and tattoo connoisseur Terrelle Pryor would be required to serve a five game suspension after (presumably) being taken in the NFL's supplemental draft, many have spoken out both in favor of and against it. The truth, as I see it, is that he absolutely deserves this suspension, even though his transgressions occurred during college.

The primary concerns voiced by those opposed to the ruling are as follows. First, that a player's wrongdoings in college should not affect him after college (those being NCAA violations). And, secondly, that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has been wielding too much power lately, and this is the latest example of him doling out punishments in situations where precedents don't exist.

While the second point might be a bit more reasonable from a general practice standpoint, the first is completely out of order.

Face it. College football is the lifeblood of the NFL. That is where players are groomed, both mentally and physically, for what is the single largest grossing professional sport on the planet. The two are inextricably linked, and what affects one will, in one way or another, affect the other.

Think of how many underclassmen jumped ship on the NCAA last year when it was learned that rookie salaries would likely be lowered (to a reasonable level, by the way) in 2011. Also, consider the rules in place for how long a player must wait after graduating high school before he is allowed to apply for the NFL draft (3 years). Just two examples of how the NFL has already been involved with college football on a fairly direct level.

This latest ruling may, in fact, set a precedent, but think of the precedent that would be set if no action was taken by Goodell, and accepted by the NFLPA. Any player who was projected as a future draft pick would have little other than his own conscience (and we've seen how well that works for some players) to keep him from breaking every NCAA rule under the sun. He would know that, if he did get caught, he could simply just jump ship and be picked up by any team looking for a man of his talents.

Quite honestly, Pryor should have been made to sit out a year. I'm not particularly worried about Ohio State's immediate future, as the program has gotten itself into a plethora (what is a plethora?) of other messes; I certainly don't feel bad for them. But, in general, you have a starting QB who broke some rules, and then gave his word that he would accept punishment and return for his senior season. Then, when more issues arose, he thought he'd just say, "To hell with this," and bolt for the NFL. He, in essence, gets of scot-free, while leaving his former team in a lurch.

If Goodell's suspension of Pryor is opening a can of worms, then not suspending him is opening Pandora's Box.

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