NFL rules keep Stanford players from working with their teams

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Panthers first-round draft pick Christian McCaffrey and 49ers first-round pick Solomon Thomas would love to be working with their new teams, but the NFL won’t let them.

NFL rules don’t allow rookies to begin participating in offseason work until their schools’ semesters come to an end. For Stanford players like McCaffrey and Thomas, that’s a disadvantage because Stanford stays in session until June. So they’re stuck.

McCaffrey said today on the Dan Patrick Show that he has been talking to the Panthers’ coaches on Skype to try to keep up as best he can. That’s better than nothing, but it’s obviously not the same as actually being at the team facility.

Former Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck faced the same situation in his rookie year, and he said he spent more time studying the Colts’ playbook than his Stanford textbooks, even though he remained enrolled at Stanford.

The NFL put the rule in place because it doesn’t want to look like it’s encouraging college students to drop out in their last semesters, but this rule seems silly. NFL players are grown men who can decide for themselves whether they’d rather prioritize college classes or pro practices. If McCaffrey and Thomas want to get pro coaching now, they should be allowed to do so in person, not just on Skype.

14 responses to “NFL rules keep Stanford players from working with their teams

  1. Do we need this same story every year? Nothing has changed. If anyone want sto participate so bad with their NFL team then they should just drop out. And if a few weeks is going to be so disadvantageous then maybe theu don’t belong in the NFL.

  2. Getting an actual college degree may still be important for some people. Forcing them to drop out of school to play football is ridiculous.

    They choose to go to Stanford for a reason. Let them have some pride in their future alma mater.

  3. Its a nice rule for players that WANT to finish school. Then they don’t have to look like they arent committed to their new team because they chose school

  4. NFL players are grown men who can decide for themselves whether they’d rather prioritize college classes or pro practices….

    It is painfully clear that many NFL players never took advantage of their free college education, and did not even bother to attend classes while they were enrolled.

    Kids from Stanford do always come across as players who attended classes in school.

  5. This is a good rule. It doesn’t force the players to graduate, they can drop out if they want. As you said, they’re grown men.

    But you never know when having the degree can be important for a player. This rule gives them the chance to finish their degree.

    If the rule wasn’t there, the pressure for the players to drop out and join their teams would be immense, and a lot of players would lose the chance to finish their free education.

  6. …NFL players are grown men who can decide for themselves …

    And a review of the police blotter supports this in what manner?

    College graduates are still relatively young and VERY inexperienced in living life. It only takes one emotional moment to seriously damage or destroy years of hard work. In addition to the points made above by FlashPatterson (about not having to appear uncommitted) and whywerule (“cuz we am da mos rule”) it’s not a bad idea to enforce a little guidance now and then. Especially when the temptation to jump for big money looms large.

  7. Virtually everyone in undergrad would quit school immediately if offered a position in a company making NFL rookie money.

  8. Care to elaborate on the other universities impacted by this rule? Or are we expected to believe it’s only Stanford players that are missing rookie workouts?

  9. You people don’t understand anything, do you?

    1) MDS focused on Stanford because they had 2 players taken in the top 8. The rule is that draftees cannot participate until the current school term ends. The vast majority of schools are on the semester calendar and everything is done by the first week of May. Some, like Stanford, are on the quarter calendar and will still be in session for another month or so.

    2) The rule applies whether you are taking classes or not. Luck was still taking classes during this “blackout period.” McCaffrey decided to drop out. Despite that, he’s still prohibited from practicing with the Panthers. How can anyone possibly think this makes sense?

    I’ve been saying this for years – this is an unnecessary, asinine, ignorant rule that is based in some fantasy land completely unrelated to the real world. Doesn’t matter when the school term ends. Once you declare for the draft and hire an agent, you are no longer bound to collegiate obligation whatsoever.

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