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The Clarett Compromise

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I've thought about a possible way out for both sides in the impending legal wrangling over the NFL's eligibility rule. I don't think the NFL would lose, because collective bargaining agreements are not subject to the same anti-trust laws.

In any event, I've thought of a way to head off future challenges, maintain the quality of professional and college football, and provide for the true talents that are NFL ready before they are eligible. And all this can be done while ending the claims of "exploitation" at the hands of the NCAA.

It's what I call the Clarett Compromise:

Let's face it, a scholarship is nice, but if you are an immensely talented football player, that scholarship is of little consolation if you suffer a bad injury. In the end, the school made millions selling your jersey and marketing your image but you end up with the hope that you can keep your scholarship despite not being able to play again.

This is one fear that probably prompts many to want a successful challenge to the NFL rule. Even if they don't get immediate playing time, it is likely a few players would be picked on potential alone and take up roster spots that veterans would have had and this will lower the quality of both the NFL and college games.

What I propose is simple.

--Institute a "Considerations Draft" that would enable a player to submit his name for entry into an ALTERNATE draft. These college players or potential college players will be drafted by an NFL team. Yet, they will have the ability to remain in college while being paid a yearly salary and will have a separate insurance policy in case of injury. The salary will be quite small, but enough to cover basic needs and be a good pool of money.

In return for being drafted, he waives his right to enter into the standard NFL draft, but he is protected while in school. After finishing his time in college(or arena league or NFL Europe--ill get to that in a minute) he must sign with the team that drafted him in this alternate draft. There will be a standard contract decided by a)a third party evaluator of where he would have gone in the draft or B) by a simple one-year deal with renegotiations at the end of the term(but he is not a free agent at this time)

--The NFL will then open up NFL Europe to its considered players who are not qualified or do not want to go to college. The Arena League will also agree to respect an NFL team's rights over a player and when his time is up, he can be "brought up" by his NFL team.

--Because of the restrictions on players who are drafted in the alternate style, many will forego that opportunity and wait until they are truly eligible for the NFL and hope to aim for a bigger contract from the rookie pool.

--The number of players that will be alternate-draftees will be quite small. But it will form the basis of a system that protects the guy who is ready or almost ready, while he plays his time in college or elsewhere. But the system has a trade-off of security for future gain. This will enable that the numbers will never go too high to interfere with the current contract and rookie pools.

--In the case of a guy who is a "considered player" he might break out in his first year in the NFL and will be able to renegotiate his deal after 1-2 years, rather than wait for the standard rookie 4-5 year deal to expire. But this will keep salaries down, as even a "breakout" year will not command the type of dollars that 1)Unproven rookies get in the first round or 2)that a player that is "underpaid" for 4-5 years will earn.

--This will also allow for a new avenue of player scouting and development, as teams will be looking to use 2-3 picks in a "considerations" draft on potential steals that no one can claim when the player is ready for the NFL.

--A player will have a chance to develop in college or one of the other leagues, but will be insured in case of injury and will get enough money from yearly salary/stipend to save a little and perhaps plan for life after football by going to class, if he ends up not making the NFL. This will eliminate some of the inevitable sob stories that came with the NBA system of guys coming out with no safety net and never being able to head back to school.

let me know what you think..I know it's long

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I agree Clarett is not the best one to be bringing this challenge, but imagine a Herschel Walker or Bo Jackson type bringing this suit. I'm just thinking of a way to resolve the entire situation, not just eligibility requirements, but the way in which players risk being injured and sacrificing money and their career with little compensation.

I think this proposal helps alleviate some of that risk while encouraging them to stay in school, or at least develop in some other league.

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