Despite a report from Len Pasquarelli of the Sports Xchange that former Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor is considering legal action to force his way into the supplemental draft, we’re told that the Pryor camp has not yet discussed that option.
Of course, that doesn’t mean it won’t be discussed. Or pursued.
If it’s going to be pursued, it would be wise to pursue it soon. The NFL remains unprotected by the antitrust exemption unless and until the union officially returns. So any player who wants to claim that the draft or the rookie wage scale constitutes an antitrust violation needs to move quickly, before the CBA is finalized and antitrust exemption returns.
And that’s possibly why, as Chris Mortensen of ESPN has reported, the league won’t have an answer as to Pryor’s status until the CBA is finalized. Once the protections against an antitrust exemption are in place, the league can tell Terrelle Pryor to come back in April.
Of course, Pryor’s current problems have little to do with whether the draft violates antitrust laws and more to do with the vague rules of eligibility for the supplemental draft. As NFL spokesman Greg Aiello recently told Alex Marvez of FOXSports.com, “It is for players whose circumstances have changed in an unforeseen way after the regular [college] draft. It is not a mechanism for simply bypassing the regular [draft].”
While it seems a little too easy to secure a spot in the supplemental draft merely by hiring an agent and thus becoming ineligible, Pryor didn’t intentionally bypass the 2011 draft. He left Ohio State after a coaching change that, as of early January, was indeed unforeseen. And, presumably, in order to be able to quit talking to the NCAA about things that possibly would have rendered him ineligible to play college football in 2011.
In Pryor’s case, he easily could have gained admission to the April 2011 draft, since more than three years have passed since he completed high school. Absent evidence that Pryor delayed entry because he thought he’d get a better deal via the supplemental route, there’s no reason to keep him out.
Unless, of course, the NFL is simply trying to score points with the NCAA by putting Pryor on ice for a year.