Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 2/16/13
Jadeveon Clowney is the top DE in college football and would have been a top 3 pick if allowed to enter the 2013 NFL Draft.  The current NFL rules disallow college players with less than three years in college to enter the draft.  Underclassmen are normally Juniors, but on occasion a red shirt sophomore can enter as an underclassman.Clowney is making noise thanks to outside media sources (myself included) bringing to light the fact he could get injured during his Junior season, which would result in Clowney losing millions, and being a top 3 pick in the 2014 draft.  Not to mention the current need for a player of his stature in the upcoming draft.NFL rules allow a red shirt sophomore to enter, and these rules were made to keep kids from jumping from high school to the NFL, so they could get a college education, versus risking being a washout at the next level and burn their chances at a degree.  This is where I part company with the current NFL logic.First of all, I agree that kids should not be allowed to go from high school to the NFL, but that's where I draw the line.  Once a kid has finished his freshman year, if he's good enough to be drafted as an underclassman, then the door should be open for said player to enter the NFL Draft.  The level of pay these players receive is more than enough to cover a college education should they fizzle out at the next level.  To suggest the kids wont be able to get a college degree is ludicrous.A kid drafted as a sophomore, ala Clowney, would make enough pay to get a new pad for momma while still being able to afford classes at his university during the off-season.  We everyday workers in the real workforce, work full time day jobs and go to school full time, so there's no need to suggest an NFL player cannot do the same.The NFL needs to adopt betters rules to allow underclassmen that have academically completed their freshman year of college to be eligible for the draft.  The owners don't care about anything but wins and losses, and any owner would pony up a big contract right now (Chiefs, Jags, and definitely the Raiders) to select him outright in the upcoming draft.  Other teams would look to trade up into the top 3 to secure his pick.The money Clowney would make off his deal would be more than enough to buy a percentage of the university itself, let alone cover his tuition costs to complete his education.  Even the minimum level of pay for one year in the NFL would be enough to pay for a player to get an undergraduate degree.  The NFL needs to cut the bull and let these kids enter the draft, so long as they have completed one year of college.  If the players are to medically be responsible for themselves, then the same goes for their education.Where does the NFL get the right to say a player must have three years under their belt to be eligible for the draft?  Not every kid that enters the draft has earned a degree.  There are students that are in their third year of school, but don't have an AA or AS under their belt due to loading up on basket weaving classes to get their loans to pay their bills.  What's the difference in that regard?  There is none.  College players are closely scrutinized on their incomes outside of loans, grants, and scholarships.The NFL should adopt new rules to permit anyone with over one year of education to enter the NFL Draft, it's not the NFL's responsibility to make sure these players get a degree, it's the responsibility of said player(s).  It's a sham and borderline discrimination to not allow players with at least one year of college education to enter the NFL Draft.  Roger Goodell can learn a thing or two from David Stern.  The owners are only after wins and losses, so what difference does it really make?
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