OT- Would you be in favor of undrafted underclassmen having the option to return to school for their final year?

Submitted by Duval Wolverine on May 1st, 2017 at 8:06 AM

Just read an article about how 27 underclassmen who delcared early went undrafted and will now have to fight for a roster spot as a UDFA.  Would you be in favor of undrafted underclassmen having the option to return to school for their final year?  " Arkansas coach Bret Bielema thinks underclassmen who go unpicked should have the option to return to school. "


Candor for Sale

May 1st, 2017 at 8:10 AM ^

Seems like a pretty good idea, but obviously that would throw off teams regarding roster plans. Coaches count on having open spots once players make their decisions to enter the draft. 


May 1st, 2017 at 11:43 AM ^

I for one wouldn't want that option to be made available. Not bc I hate these kids, but bc they generally take the semester off to train for the draft. As long as they remain a college student with a full coarse load, I would have no problem with this, but in reality, no draft entry is going to try to balance the two when they need to work hard on all the skills needed in the draft combine. Furhtermore, kids could theoretically do this after their softmore and junior year. WIthout the mandatory class requirement, it really could prevent them from graduating.

Avon Barksdale

May 1st, 2017 at 8:13 AM ^

But it has incredibly negative consequences much like the new NBA rule. How are you supposed to build a team when you don't know who will actually be on the team in spring? Furthermore, it would be impossible to recruit to 85 scholarships when you might have underclassmen coming back after spring ball every year.

Then you throw in the fact that these kids missed spring practice and you start messing with the cohesiveness of the team. So while this might be advantageous to kids and those who oversign, it probably hurts those schools that play by the rules in recruiting.


May 1st, 2017 at 12:26 PM ^

or it happening every year at every school. Your probably talking about  a dozen kids a year and when that is spread out over 100+ teams I think the schools who have it happen to them would gladly take the player back for another year, rather then just casting him off to maybe not making a team and not having a degree so what do they do now?


May 1st, 2017 at 1:46 PM ^

Fear of being drafted in the 7th round and unable to return to your team vs. another year of experience and hopefully getting drafted in an earlier round and making millions of dollars more?

I Like Burgers

May 1st, 2017 at 7:44 PM ^

Because a lot of the things you mentioned, I'd say no.  Once you declare for the NFL your college playing career is over.  If you allowed any underclassmen that went undrafted to return to college, within a year or two of this system you'd have every single draft eligible player declaring for the NFL.  Since there's no consequences, why wouldn't you?

Not only would that exaccerbate almost every negative problem in CFB, it would would make roster management a nightmare/impossible and kill spring football and offseason development.

What I would like to see happen though is make scholarships full regardless of whether or not you declare for the NFL.  As long as you're in good standing when you declare, if you go undrafted (or even if you get signed as an UDFA and get cut) you still have a scholarship to fall back on to try and make something out of yourself.


May 1st, 2017 at 8:22 AM ^

I like the theory of this idea, but I think it would throw an incredible wrench into roster planning and even recruitiment if you couldn't ascertain until a later date who was actually going to be there and by extension what your needs might be at that point in the cycle. It would seem like it is much easier on colleges if there was some finality in the decision to enter the draft, especially with the scale that this could happen on a football team. It's rough in basketball, but with fewer spots at stake it seems semi-manageable, at least.


May 1st, 2017 at 8:24 AM ^

My only worry will this cause an increase of kids looking for an NFL payday without finishing their degree?  If there is no consequence I think there would be.

CRISPed in the DIAG

May 1st, 2017 at 2:38 PM ^

And sometimes they also just take time off from school and career. They just take time off. I'm not trying to be facetious, but I think some folks love the idea of the "student athlete" until they act like, you know, students. Or everyone else. 


May 1st, 2017 at 10:50 AM ^

Are you arguing that saying, "fine, go try the draft, but you can't come back on a scholarship" does a better job of fostering the student part of student athlete?

Honestly, I don't really think that it's apples to oranges. My job interviews require multiple tests that are rather in depth with hands on portions and studying and all of that. I prep, practice answering and questioning, go over portfolios, etc. etc. Just because some non-athletic-student wants to slack on their interview whereas the athlete is going to train for it doesn't mean the athlete should have that option removed.

On top of this, the draft is voluntary. Go, try out, take on the bit of extra load from winter/conditioning, and if it doesnt work then come back to school. That's certainly better for their academics than straight up cutting their scholly. Letting a student take on an extra load isn't inherently putting them in a bad spot.


May 1st, 2017 at 8:36 AM ^

They should do it like the NHL where anyone can get drafted at 17 and stay in college until they're ready, with a salary cap discount for players who got a 4 year degree. That works out best for just about everyone, since the teams can hold assets longer and players who are NFL-ready don't have to stay in college. An LJ Scott shouldn't have to sit around in a toxic locker room with shitty coaches for two more years because he made a huge mistake in in which school he chose


May 1st, 2017 at 1:01 PM ^

Problem is you're projecting a high school senior's impact at the NFL level. Hockey and football are completely different games in terms of development.

The NFL draft now is kinda a crapshoot. You have first round busts all the time and the GOAT was a 6th round pick. That gets even harder to project when you're looking at high school kids and projecting their skills that far ahead. There's not a 17-18 year old kid alive who is ready for the NFL. Meanwhile you can have 17-18 year old kids lead the league in points in the NHL.


May 1st, 2017 at 8:38 AM ^

The problem is the players should not be able to declare at all.

Let the NFL draft them or not at anytime, and when they are deemed ready, their NFL team will sign them.

Basically the hockey model.


May 1st, 2017 at 8:41 AM ^

But yeah what about guys drafted in the last 10 picks? That isn't a better scenario than going undrafted really. It just seems like such a harsh cutoff.

We are back

May 1st, 2017 at 8:42 AM ^

I think the issue would become too many open scholarships, kids declare in January national signing day is February so what happens when you fill those scholarships?

Blue Ninja

May 1st, 2017 at 8:56 AM ^

Why are we coddling these guys? Yes it sucks that you go out on a limb to be drafted, but they also need to do their homework and make sure that their chances of being drafted are indeed genuine. If I hear I'm likely a 6th or 7th round pick I think I may lean more toward staying put. If they take the chance well that's their choice, that's how life is. Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose by the choices you make. I don't think it's fair to hold college coaches and teams hostage to keeping a scholarship open. If the rules are changed then let them come back without a scholarship or let them be able to go to the college of their choice instead, basically as college free agents. Just my opinion, it may not be right but that's how I feel about it.


May 1st, 2017 at 9:20 AM ^

I guess I just don't understand the general feeling that we shouldn't protect people from getting screwed just because they need to 'learn from their choices' kind of thought.  I mean, it is football, so it's not a huge deal to most of us, but protections aren't like pie.  You don't get less because someone got more.  We have protections against hustlers all the time in our society.  Lawyers, morgatges, insurances, employement, pyramid schemes, etc...there are a lot of ways we as a society put protections in place so people don't get screwed on big things.  If you buy a bad pair of socks, then yes, buyer beware and learn from your mistakes.  If you get house insurance and your house burns down, the insurance company can't be like 'oops, sorry we don't actually have the money to cover you.'  That's a life altering big deal.  So they can't do that.  Entering the draft, by rule, is a once-in-a-lifetime thing.  There should be some protection against a kid getting hustled by agents connected to the NFL that have no personal libility if a kid gets screwed.

However, the re-entering the draft I don't think is the right way.  It just transfers the burden to the college teams.  I really think the NHL model is best way to go; it offers the clearest communication between all parties and makes sure both the player and NFL team are in the same place before decisons are made.  It would make recruiting a bit different for colleges.  I think there might still need to be an min age to get drafted. 


May 1st, 2017 at 12:14 PM ^

To my knowledge these guys aren't "getting screwed," they're taking a chance and that's not working out for them. Now if all these guys are getting told they're likely 3rd rounders and not getting drafted then yeah maybe that needs looked at. If they're being told they're maybe 6-7th round, and are leaving college early for that.. that's on them.


May 1st, 2017 at 11:21 AM ^

Also, this would make it difficult to know how many of each position you are recruiting if you never know who is coming back or not. But these young men need to be accountable for their decisions just like everyone else is supposed to be.


May 1st, 2017 at 8:56 AM ^

You want to leave school early for the real world in order to get paid, fine, but then you have to live with the consequences of that decision. The real world doesn't generally allow you to have it both ways.


May 1st, 2017 at 10:53 AM ^

That just doesn't make sense.  If I wanted to leave UM my junior year to join a start up one of friends was running, but then it failed, guess what?  I could still go back to UM.  There is no rule saying that once you leave school you can't go back.  There's only a rule saying you can't go back to play sports.  The question is why?  Why is there that rule, and how should it be applied, and can it be tweaked are the relevent questions and discussions.