Before the NFL can determine whether draft prospects should be barred from the Scouting Combine or other league-related draft events for certain criminal offenses, the NFL must be able to make that determination. Before the NFL can make that determination, the NFL must be able to investigate the prospect.
Before that can happen, the prospect must provide authorization to the NFL during the Scouting Combine registration process. If the prospect refuses to provide authorization, the prospect’s invitation to participate in the Scouting Combine will be revoked, according to the memo sent on January 25 to all team presidents, General Managers and coaches.
As a practical matter, players will gladly sign whatever paperwork they need to sign in order to participate in the Scouting Combine. Still, the mandatory background check represents yet another thing that is required of players as part of a lengthy preemployment process that, via the Combine, provides plenty of free entertainment and TV content for the NFL.
The new policy applies to all felony or misdemeanor convictions, and it broadly encompasses any conviction “involving violence,” with specific citation to crimes involving the “use of a weapon, domestic violence, sexual offense and/or sexual assault.”
As noted earlier, the NFLPA had no comment on the new policy, which the league implemented unilaterally.
The policy has no impact on the ability of teams to independently evaluate or draft the players who are barred from league-related draft events, either due to the outcome of the background check or the refusal to consent to one.