Jadeveon Clowney has sparked a heated debate with his superior ability on the field. Just a sophomore, the South Carolina defensive end would likely go first overall if he were eligible for the 2013 NFL Draft. Being a year away from eligibility, NFL fans are already salivating about him in anticipation of the 2014 NFL Draft, especially the seemingly eternal bottom-dwellers who will compete for the first overall selection next year. Some have suggested that Jadeveon Clowney should sit out the 2013 college football season to protect himself and his draft stock. Clowney has inquired about a $5 million insurance policy. The situation has caused some to call the three-year rule imposed by the NFL on players seeking eligibility for the NFL Draft into question.
The first issue to discuss in the Jadeveon Clowney debate is the rule that players must be three years removed from their high school graduation prior to entering the NFL and look to get into the 2013 NFL Draft. The most scathing attack on the rule was written by Michael Silver of Yahoo! Sports:
"Secondly, it's a self-serving and greedy attempt to preserve what is essentially a free farm system for the NFL – and a corrupt and hypocritical college-football machine that pays off coaches and administrators while exploiting the labor of its elite athletes."
Someone doesn't like the NCAA. The NFL certainly does benefit from the feeder system that is college football. But so do the vast majority of players that end up in the NFL. More importantly, and truthfully the NFL's main concern, the product on the field benefits from players with collegiate experience. That means fans benefit from the rule as well.
If you need confirmation of that, look at the NBA. The success rate of high school entrants into the league was miniscule. Many players that went directly from high school to the pros ended up rotting on the bench. That hurt not only their development as a basketball player, but it also crippled the teams that took them early in the draft. NFL teams miss now with the current system supplying tons of college game film of prospects playing against high quality competition. The chances of teams getting sold on a one year wonder greatly increase without delayed eligibility. That will hurt the product on the field.
That's the NFL's main concern: putting the best product on the field. It may put a prospect in a difficult situation once every few years, but that is an exceedingly rare exception. Beyond that, the three year rule was collectively bargained. That's right – the players currently in the NFL agreed to the rule.
Some have suggested that Jadeveon Clowney should sit out the 2013 season. That would be a huge mistake, and one that sends a bad message to NFL teams. It would be the ultimate "me" move, one that would essentially abandon hi teammates at South Carolina, whom he has played alongside for two seasons already. Some could look at it and wonder how he will approach a season when he's due to become a free agent if he were to go that route.
It looks like Jadeveon Clowney is taking the right approach. Someone from his support system has reached out to Coastal Advisors LLC about a $5 million insurance policy. If Clowney were to suffer a major injury that ends his playing career. With another semester of free education under his belt at that point, he could finish out his remaining credits and move on with a padded bank account in the event of such an injury.
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