Solomon Thomas frustrated by “extremely annoying” NFL rule

AP

Solomon Thomas was the third overall pick in this year’s NFL draft, and he was eager to get to work with the 49ers right away. But NFL rules put an obstacle in his way.

The league doesn’t allow any rookie to participate in practices until his school year is complete. That’s true whether the player is still a student or not, and in the case of Thomas, it restricts him for long after the draft: Thomas went to Stanford, which stays in session until June, which means he was on the outside looking in when the 49ers were having Organized Team Activities.

Thomas said on PFT Live that he hated being kept away from his team’s practices, and he noted that the rule hurts undrafted rookies even worse than it hurts him — Thomas knows his roster spot is assured, but undrafted players are missing valuable opportunities to show what they can do, opportunities that won’t come back.

“It was so frustrating,” Thomas said. “It was extremely annoying. The rule doesn’t make sense. I really hope they take it out for other athletes that have to go through it, especially those who weren’t draft picks because that hurts them even more, they can’t even show off at OTAs. So that hurts them even more. So I really hope they take this rule away and just let the guys go.”

The NFL says its rule is designed to keep players from dropping out of college, but players should be allowed to make that decision for themselves. If Thomas and other rookies want to get on the field with their teams, the league shouldn’t stop them.

42 responses to “Solomon Thomas frustrated by “extremely annoying” NFL rule

  1. NFL ought to hope that Mr.McCaffrey’s upstart NCAA-alternative league takes root and fluorishes… as a governing body the NCAAF is a farce and is ripe for implosion. NFL gains NOTHING with this misguided rule, regardless of its intent.

  2. The rule is yet another example of the collusion between the NFL and NCAAF. The NFL gets a free farm system out of the deal, and the NCAAF gets “free” labor and saves face by having the “student athlete” complete his/her full academic year. If the issue is a contractual obligation within the scholarship, then simply allow the athlete a choice of paying back the scholarship money should they forgo their last semester. Easy.

  3. Add this to the UCLA Quarterbacks comments from yesterday. I agree with both these young intelligent “student athletes” NCAA needs to wake up!!

  4. You know what else what is frustrating? My Bears giving up three draft picks to move up one spot.

  5. These guys can’t even speak proper English or read and the NFL worries about them finishing college? They need to worry about how some of them made it into college

  6. What you guys are failing to see is that without this rule NFL teams will put pressure on these rookies, especially those undrafted, to be at OTA’s. They could essentially force these guys to drop out literally a month prior to graduation. There really is no good outcome. If they finish school the team will say they aren’t dedicated to the team. If anything it should make these athletes think about which school they choose and when those schools get out.

  7. It’s a lip service rule nothing more nothing less. If the NFL cared about guys dropping out of school they would require a 4 year degree to play in the league.

    @Della Street you’re comment is kinda ironic given that the rule this rookie is taking about is one that prevents him from being seen.

  8. Anyone noticed how much a college education costs these days? Especially if you are from out of state? A tuition free college education is not nothing. Graduate with no student loan debt. Pretty nice start to life if you ask me. Arguing that college athletes are not being paid is simply untrue. And these are 19 to 20 year-old kids mostly. They don’t understand that the odds of NFL success are slim to none. You can’t repossess an educated mind. And they get one – not for free. They earn it by playing sports.

  9. It sounds like the rule keeps all of the rookies on an even playing field, right?

    If the rule didn’t exist, the rookies trying to finish their degree would be at a disadvantage compared to the drop outs. It is a lot harder to finish your very last semester of college several years after you completed the first 90% of your degree.

    NFL=Not For Long, so encourage these guys to finish their education. If you are still in college your senior year, that just increases the chances of your NFL career being shorter than those drafted early.

  10. Man, as an NFL player regular people expect you to say nothing negative at all about anything.

    Just set a date instead of the arbitrary ‘when school is officially out of session’ since all schools have different sessions.

  11. Everyone’s goal is to play in the NFL. Maybe he should have played at a different school then that finishes up “early” like most of the schools do. I’m sure he would have been a stud playing at San Jose State University or Cal-State Bakersfield. He didn’t have to play at Stanford.

  12. The real problem is not all schools get done at the same time, and so the OTAs start either too early for schools like Stanford, or Stanford just gets out too late. I want to say it’s the latter. Final exams at Stanford aren’t until June 14?! There’s colleges that have been out for a full month by that point.

  13. Josh Rosen referenced schools who make a mockery of the education system like Alabama and the other SEC schools. The NFL rule was put in place to prevent these “schools” to make an even more mockery of higher education. Also, in a recent poll, a certain political party is making waves when a majority of their supporters say college is necessary. It’s comes to absolutely no surprise that this political party enjoys overwhelming support in SEC territory. No wonder that region is the worst in the nation when it comes to education, obesity, healthcare, GDP, etc.

  14. It actually doesn’t keep the rookies on an even playing field. That’s the point. I understand that they should be encouraged to finish their education. But, they are also being punished for playing/going to schools that have a different system for school terms.

  15. I’m honestly torn. On the one hand it’s obviously the NCAA is trying to continue the pretentious believe that these athletes are there for academic purposes.
    On the other hand.. the moment you make it optional, NFL coaches will lean on every single student to drop out and attend “optional” OTAs… which will inevitably deny some students who doesn’t make the team their diplomas.

    Probably best just to scrap athletic scholarships.

  16. The rule should be adjusted to compensate for player discretion. In some of these cases, a player might have 1 class left to complete, and could easily attend OTA’s while finishing their course work at school.

  17. I believe this is collectively bargained so he should take up it with his union representatives. Claiming it’s the NFL’s fault is inaccurate and uninformed.

  18. If there is a choice what kid is going to finish college…. it will be unspoken rule he has to show up…if he doesn’t then he will look like football isn’t the most important thing. League can’t win either way.

  19. It’s a good rule. One thing the NFL had done right is to be firm about not allowing young men to play in the NFL before they have either physically matured or had a chance to finish college.

    The alternative is the Urban Jungle NBA, where an 18 year old can go play, be a millionaire, and not even be able to drink legally for 3 more years.

  20. Funny that this rule is stupid and Thomas was so concerned with missing OTA’s, but yet he held out and didn’t sign his contract making him miss the first day of training camp.

  21. sellingadream says:
    August 10, 2017 at 10:07 am
    Anyone noticed how much a college education costs these days? Especially if you are from out of state? A tuition free college education is not nothing. Graduate with no student loan debt. Pretty nice start to life if you ask me. Arguing that college athletes are not being paid is simply untrue. And these are 19 to 20 year-old kids mostly. They don’t understand that the odds of NFL success are slim to none. You can’t repossess an educated mind. And they get one – not for free. They earn it by playing sports.

    After paying for college, a very affordable local state college, for 2 children it is somewhat off putting to hear people say that a free education at a D1 school is nothing. This is especially irritating when many of these “graduates” begin to speak and present as if they have never progressed beyond grammar school in the discipline of English. Wasted opportunity.

  22. Easy fix. The first athlete that tells a coach that he is taking Stanford off his list of schools to pick from due to the arcane rules for players entering pro sports the coach and athletic director will raise holy hell and Stanford will get on a semester schedule like everyone else. Stanford has invested to much in their program to lose athletes.
    If I were a rival coach I would use it as a recruiting tool.

  23. Solution: if you are seriously considering the NFL as employment then don’t enroll in the impacted semester (spring). As someone said earlier you can always enroll at a later time if things don’t work out. That said, still a silly rule.

  24. On the surface this is a rule intended to benefit the player.

    What totally undercuts it is players are free to drop out of college and enter the draft after their 3rd year and league doesn’t care squat that they aren’t finishing college and getting a degree.

    Ie; just another bogus NFL rule that does not really give anything to the player and the league lies about the benefits it gives.

  25. Require all rookies to spend an off year between college and NFL. They get drafted right away, stay with the team, practice, everything as usual, but they don’t occupy a roster spot and they get, let’s say, a “ghost year” on their contract, one that doesnt apply to the cap.

    This would eliminate the problem in the article, and it would help a lot of guys get physically and mentally prepared for the NFL game.

    As it stands there is the 3 years out of high school rule. So drop it to 2 and give them this ghost year. It would especially protect QBs from being thrown in too early but I think all players would benefit.

  26. @ nyjets1017 says:

    These guys can’t even speak proper English or read and the NFL worries about them finishing college? They need to worry about how some of them made it into college
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    Well playing professional football doesn’t require it so why does it matter to the NFL? NCAA should be looking into that.

  27. I don’t see any problem here -he made the choice of school – now he deals with the responsibility of that choice – adults must take responsibility.

  28. If you’re eligible for the draft you should be eligible to go to work. These athlete should be allowed to finish but not barred from any participation until they do.

  29. Rules are frustrating and annoying sometimes. I work in this business park that has a 20 mph speed limit. I guess I could get a job somewhere else if it gets too annoying. Hey, didn’t Solomon Thomas’ GM, John Lynch go to Stanford too? I’m sure he knew the rules. Those Stanford guys are pretty smart, you know. Lynch had a good career. He might even get into the HOF. Elway went to Stanford too. I guess the rule didn’t set those guys back too much. Solomon Thomas is an absolute beast. He could end up in Canton too. If he had his way he’d probably want to practice 365 days a year. Someday, one of these Stanford kids might even become the NFL Commissioner. Then they’ll be able to annoy the new rookies. Rules and laws are annoying. But if we did away with them, we wouldn’t need lawyers. Just kidding Mike.

  30. charliecharger says:
    August 10, 2017 at 3:20 pm

    Rules are frustrating and annoying sometimes. I work in this business park that has a 20 mph speed limit. I guess I could get a job somewhere else if it gets too annoying. Hey, didn’t Solomon Thomas’ GM, John Lynch go to Stanford too? I’m sure he knew the rules. Those Stanford guys are pretty smart, you know. Lynch had a good career. He might even get into the HOF. Elway went to Stanford too. I guess the rule didn’t set those guys back too much.
    —————————–

    Probably not, since they didn’t have OTA’s back then.

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