Tua Tagovailoa thinks three-year rule is “fine for me,” but he’d possibly leave if he could

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Humans have an inherent knack for accepting their circumstances when those circumstances can’t be changed. Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa accepts his current circumstances that can’t be changed. If they could be changed, Tua quite possibly would not accept those circumstances.

That’s the vibe the Alabama quarterback created in a recent interview with Zach Gelb of CBS Sports Radio. Here’s Tagovailoa’s take on the rule that makes mandatory a three-year wait following high-school graduation before a player can enter the NFL.

I honestly think that is a good rule,” Tagovailoa said. “I mean, I’d say because when you go the NFL, I mean, you’re playing against grown men. This isn’t something that you need to take lightly. And you’ve got to take into consideration that it’s a job. It’s a job when you go to the NFL, and just being able to stay in college for another year, for me — I mean, being able to hear all these people, these speakers come and talk to us, you know, about how to be accountable for your money. How to be accountable in things you do. You learn so many lessons before you even reach that stage, too, where when things do happen, you’ve heard it from other guys. You have contacts to go to.

“Just little things like that, I mean when you come out of high school and you only play a year in college, I mean, how fast it’s gonna be, it’s gonna be ridiculous. I hear guys who have played in the league that come back that are from Alabama and they say you can’t compare the two. College is definitely a lot different than the NFL, in all aspects, in every aspect. So I think the three years is fine for me.”

It’s fine for him, because he has no choice but to accept it. But what if he had a choice? Would he make the jump despite the litany of concerns that surely have been drilled into him and the rest of his teammates by a head coach who would prefer they continues to stay and play for him as long as possible?

“Well, I’d probably have to sit down and talk with my parents, see what the best decision would be for me to do, and if they would want me to go I would do everything possible to prepare for it,” Tagovailoa said. “There wouldn’t be any other way.”

Since he doesn’t have a choice, that conversation won’t happen. The conversation should be allowed to happen. Each player should be able to make the decision as to whether he wants to go straight to the NFL out of high school, to leave college after one year, or to exit after two.

The notion that college football, the NFL, and the NFLPA are collectively protecting players from themselves masks the reality that they’re actually protecting college football. Adults should have the ability to make their own decisions regarding potential employment, and the 32 NFL teams should have the ability to decide whether to hire them. An artificial rule premised on the idea that 18- or 19-year-olds would be maimed or worse by grown men overlooks the reality that their employers wouldn’t draft them if they weren’t ready and, if they pick them for developmental purposes, they wouldn’t put them into the fray prematurely.

But the NFL doesn’t want to get in the business of making those decisions about unfinished products. The NFL would rather let the college football system take the raw product and make it pro-ready, or not. Otherwise, NFL teams would have to add to their college scouting burden the task of scouting high-school players.

Thus, the free farm system works for the NFL, and the NFL is in no rush to change it. Hiding behind trumped-up notions of concern for the safety of young players ensures that it won’t change.

But it may change, if/when the XFL opens the doors to players ineligible for the NFL — and if/when someone launches an in-season alternate football league that plays on Tuesday and Wednesday nights, and that offers players who can’t yet get paid by the NFL cash money in exchange for their skills, services, and sacrifices.

23 responses to “Tua Tagovailoa thinks three-year rule is “fine for me,” but he’d possibly leave if he could

  1. Well then, why make these guys go to college at all? And then, why stay for your senior year in HS?

  2. I disagree. When we were 18-19 we all made decisions that seemed like a good idea at the time, but in hindsight weren’t in our best interests. They need time to hone their craft, and grow and mature as adults. That said, players who generate immense revenue for their universities should have a share in that revenue beyond tuition, room and board.

  3. Sounds like a smart kid. I’m interested to see how he’s going to do as an NFL QB.

  4. The rule is fine for him. He can make that decision for himself. The problem is the rule prevents others from doing what is best for them. To many think they know what is best for others and want to make their decisions for them.

  5. “The conversation should be allowed to happen. Each player should be able to make the decision as to whether he wants to go straight to the NFL out of high school, to leave college after one year, or to exit after two.”

    You’re nuts. Someone coming out of high school wouldn’t possibly be prepared for the NFL. That’s a recipe for disaster.

  6. In my business, I hire no one under twenty six and require three years minimum of documented experience. No exceptions. My reasons: I put my people at the wheel of $200K trucks hauling hazmat, from fuels to nuclear waste, driving 65 MPH on the roads. That requires consistent, excellent decision making and skill execution to prevent a disaster.

    IMO, the NFL is doing a very similar thing with college athletes, howbeit, for different reasons. They are simply requiring three years of higher level experience before eligibility. Also, what could possibly go wrong with giving an eighteen year old a million bucks? You think there are criminal problems in the NFL now, open that can of worms.

  7. The majority of players drafted by the NHL are not even close to being ready to play in the NHL. The teams get to hold their rights until they are ready. The players can still go to college and play if they want to do so. Some play minor league pro hockey, and some play major juniors and get paid a salary.

    The NFL and NCAA could form an agreement that would allow players to be drafted, hold their rights, and still allow the player to play in the NCAA if that player retains amateur status (ie, no endorsements). Teams would have the ability to choose when they feel the plauer is ready to play in the NFL. Players could choose between the NCAA and the XFL before they sign an NFL deal.

    This would be best for the players.
    But… it wouldn’t be as easy for business in the NFL or NCAA, so it won’t happen.
    The NFL has a free farm system, and the NCAA has billions in revenues while utilizing very cheap labor. They won’t change it unless they are forced to do so.

  8. It’s fine for him, because he has no choice but to accept it.
    =====================================================

    That’s an arrogant and ignorant comment. You want to insinuate he really wouldn’t feel that way if the rule would change because you think your opinion is the only correct one.

  9. Look at high school grads that decide on a baseball career. Some take the college route to further refine there skills. Some may sign with an MLB team directly out of HS. These young men are 17 and 18 years of age. There skill level is major league ready. They start out in the minor leagues and have to work there way up. Many don’t ever make it the the big league.

    The NBA now has the G-Leauge. Many HS players think they can jump to the NBA right from the get go. Most can’t. Many players chose college as the way to go. After 1-3 years in college, many decide to enter the NBA draft. Some get chosen, some don’t. Many of these players are not ready for the NBA. That’s where the G-League comes in. The G-League allow you to refine your skills in hopes of making an NBA roster.

    The NFL has no such training league of it’s own. They rely on college to do the training. After college, you either make an NFL roster, you’re sent packing. You’re labeled not good enough. You can play semi-pro football or go to the CFL and hope to refine your skill when an NFL team take another look. The AAF, unsuccessfully, tried to fill that gap between college and the NFL. They tried to be that training ground for football player that were not quite ready for the NFL.

    I like the idea of having a league for players not ready to join the big leagues. HNL has a series of farm teams, MLB has a system of minor leagues, NBA has the G-League, and soccer has a system of leagues for players to polish their skills. The only professional sport in this country that doesn’t have one is the NFL.

  10. The baseball players skill is not major league ready. 95 percent never make itnto the majors. Ever. Then what. Maybe have a minor league football league like the XFL and the NFL can grab who they want but the kids that screw over their eligibility by going pro early can kiss free college goodbye when or if most of them don’t make it in the NFL. Besides the truly special ones, which one is ready for the rigors or the nfl. Plus college life rules. Why make these kids grow up early.

  11. It’s a good rule. How many players stay for a fifth year and are still busts in the pros? Just because a kid just out of high school thinks he’s entitled because he was the big man on campus doesn’t make it so.

  12. harrisonhits2 says:
    April 13, 2019 at 12:24 pm
    “The conversation should be allowed to happen. Each player should be able to make the decision as to whether he wants to go straight to the NFL out of high school, to leave college after one year, or to exit after two.”

    You’re nuts. Someone coming out of high school wouldn’t possibly be prepared for the NFL. That’s a recipe for disaster.

    ———————–

    If they aren’t ready they can decide to play amateur ball. Not everyone will go pro just like not very player in basketball or baseball goes pro when they can. Each player should decide what is best for him. What is a disaster is a player wearing his body down only to compensate rich people who won’t care about his long term prospects. All other major sports allow their athletes to make their own choice and it hasn’t been a disaster for them. It also wasn’t a disaster when Barry Sanders challenged the 4 year rule.

  13. Amazing how the NCAA completely ignores the fact that Tuas entire family relocated 5000 miles from Hawaii to Alabama and magically landed top paying jobs. Where is the investigation? Did you know Indiana basketball was ruined for years because Kelvin Sampson made phone calls to recruits, yet they don’t dare investigate saban or Duke or UNC for their lives. Absolutely ridiculous.

  14. I agree MOST kids are not ready for any pro league at 18/19 years old. That being said I was old enough to serve my country at 18 and was giving more responsibility then any athlete could ever understand and I (and countless others) did fine. They might not be ready mentally but if you’re old enough to serve your country then you’re old enough to make your own business decision about your future. Let them decide their own fate.

    The only reason they are not allowed to is money coming from them playing for the schools.

  15. An artificial rule premised on the idea that 18- or 19-year-olds would be maimed or worse by grown men overlooks the reality that their employers wouldn’t draft them if they weren’t ready and, if they pick them for developmental purposes, they wouldn’t put them into the fray prematurely

    _____

    These things literally happen every year already…..are you really trying to say they dont?

    Lots of players are thrown to the wolves before being ready. And some of the guys, even juniors and seniors arent ready, they get drafted still. Are you telling me some team won’t take a flyer in the 5-7 round on 18-19 yr old kid they think they see something in?

  16. If you accept a scholarship you should be bound to the terms of that scholarship’s duration. Unless they are giving those out year to year, then not one college scholarship layer should be released until he graduates and finishes his playing days – it is time to either ban scholarships and let these prima donnas do what they want or to bind them to getting their free education.

  17. joker65 says:
    April 13, 2019 at 2:17 pm
    An artificial rule premised on the idea that 18- or 19-year-olds would be maimed or worse by grown men overlooks the reality that their employers wouldn’t draft them if they weren’t ready and, if they pick them for developmental purposes, they wouldn’t put them into the fray prematurely

    _____

    These things literally happen every year already…..are you really trying to say they dont?

    Lots of players are thrown to the wolves before being ready. And some of the guys, even juniors and seniors arent ready, they get drafted still. Are you telling me some team won’t take a flyer in the 5-7 round on 18-19 yr old kid they think they see something in?

    ———————————

    Not if there is someone who can help now. You do know that GMs and coaches don’t stay at a job very long and they don’t look for a 5 year plan on any player that isn’t a QB. Also a 5th rounder would be a free agent before he hit the age 21 allowing your development to walk the door before paying off. Like we see in baseball and basketball, most will play college ball until they are ready. Sure there will be mistakes but that is up for each person to decide.

  18. Carroll Prescott says:
    April 13, 2019 at 2:34 pm
    If you accept a scholarship you should be bound to the terms of that scholarship’s duration. Unless they are giving those out year to year, then not one college scholarship layer should be released until he graduates and finishes his playing days – it is time to either ban scholarships and let these prima donnas do what they want or to bind them to getting their free education.
    ********************************************************
    ********************************************************

    Wow. Should they chain the athletes to pieces of gym equipment to make them workout longer too? Maybe they can get razor wire fences to keep them in the facility against their will?

    You likely have never known anyone who has played Division I sports with this attitude.
    Players are generally required to spend about 20 hours per week practicing, lifting, and in meetings… and that does not even count the amount of travel time they commit to the team. The team can dictate the remainder of an athlete’s schedule for much of the week throughout the year, limiting their ability to see family and friends.
    At many schools, the value of the almighty scholarship is near equal to working a minimum wage job on a per hour basis (when comparing number of hours required to retain their scholarship).

    On top of that, this idea also ignores the fact that the university can fire the coaching staff that recruited the athlete, and a new staff can then completely change the player’s opportunity to play.

    That sounds like a great idea. Why shouldn’t NCAA power 5 schools (and coaching staffs) make millions of dollars, and give them even more control over the athletes who provide them with a cheap labor force?

  19. phunnypharm22 says:
    April 13, 2019 at 7:39 pm

    Players are generally required to spend about 20 hours per week practicing, lifting, and in meetings… and that does not even count the amount of travel time they commit to the team.
    ___________________________________________________

    Actually under NCAA rules during a playing season and while school is in session college players ARE LIMITED TO 20hrs/wk of football activites and that includes game time!

  20. 1phillyphan says:
    April 13, 2019 at 2:12 pm

    They might not be ready mentally but if you’re old enough to serve your country then you’re old enough to make your own business decision about your future.
    __________________________________________________________________

    Fact is you can serve your country at 18 but YOU STILL CAN’T LEGALLY DRINK A BEER UNTIL YOU’RE 21! But most people just don’t get the fact that this NFL rule isn’t made to stop these kids from making their own decisions, it was made to protect the NFL and it’s teams, a MULTI-BILLION DOLLAR BUSINESS and it isn’t going to change anytime soon!

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