“I believe it is a fair conclusion that he intentionally took steps to ensure that he would be declared ineligible for further college play and would be able to enter the NFL via the supplemental draft,” Commissioner Goodell. “Taken as a whole, I found that this conduct was tantamount to a deliberate manipulation of our eligibility rules in a way that distorts the underlying principles and calls into question the integrity of those rules.”
Terrelle Pryor declared himself a professional and gave up his final season with the Buckeyes after being suspended for five games by the NCAA for trading memorabilia for cash and tattoos at a Columbus, Ohio, tattoo parlor. Mr. Pryor was originally barred from entering the professional ranks through the supplemental draft, but Commissioner Goodell eventually approved his request, with the proviso that he sit out five games, a proviso that both Pryor and his agent agreed to and previously stated that they would not oppose.
That being said, Pryor and his agent appealed the Commissioner’s decision – even though they originally agree to it – and Goodell heard the young Quarterback’s appeal on September 15, 2011 during a hearing that lasted 80 minutes. (Members of the NFLPA executive committee had pushed for the union to appeal the suspension.)
Commissioner Goodell said Pryor left Ohio State “in order to avoid the consequences of his conduct while in college — conduct to which he had admitted and for which he had accepted a suspension — and to hasten the day when he could pursue a potentially lucrative professional career in the NFL. In my judgment, allowing players to secure their own ineligibility for college play in order to avoid previously determined disciplinary consequences for admitted conduct reflects poorly not on college football — which acted to discipline the transgressor — but on the NFL, by making it into a sanctuary where a player cannot only avoid the consequences of his conduct, but be paid for doing so.”
Pryor may be activated by the Raiders after their game at Houston on October 9, 2011.
I don’t often agree with the Commissioner’s rulings, but he made the right call in this case.