College football coaches continue to push for a later deadline for underclassmen to declare for early draft eligibility. The subject came up during SEC Media Days on Monday when Arkansas coach Bret Bielema said several coaches advocate moving the “declaration date.”
The NFL sets a mid-January filing date for underclassmen to declare, although they get a 72-hour window to withdraw without losing NCAA eligibility.
“We had more discussions this past spring about what we can do to progressively make this a little better if they do declare themselves [draft eligible], and move back that declaration date,” Bielema said, via Chase Goodbread of NFL.com. “I know Nick [Saban] and several other coaches in our league have proposed moving that date back a little bit to allow our guys to have a better understanding. There are times now where we have a bowl game in January, and a kid feels pressure or is hearing from outside sources that he needs to make a decision sooner than later. Then he makes a decision before the bowl game even takes place. That tells me that A.) he’s not focused on his priorities, and B.) he’s getting information from people who really shouldn’t be gathering and giving information, and it leads to an uninformed decision.”
Saban spoke out about a later NFL declaration deadline before Alabama’s College Football Playoff title game against Clemson. Bielema said a few extra days will make a big difference for college players without impacting the NFL.
“I had a young man two years ago who left early for the draft, didn’t get drafted, and he has the ability to possibly start in the NFL in Year 2. For him to be an undrafted free agent, the money that he lost will never be regained,” Bielema said. “I knew he had the ability, but we were just all in a hurry. We’re in the microwave world where everyone wants things done in 20 seconds, but sometimes it needs to cook for two hours.”