Back on December 8, 2011, I suggested that the inaugural NFLPA Collegiate Bowl may have an eligibility issue. The issue is that the game will showcase the top draft eligible collegiate football players from across the country, including underclassman who have declared for the NFL Draft. At the time that I published the post, I had heard that at least one NFL team Personnel Director said that teams received a letter earlier in 2011 informing them that they are not permitted to attend games that include underclassmen. On January 9, 2012, the Associated Press confirmed my belief. The NFL will not allow team scouts to attend the game. But even though no NFL scouts will be at the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl, that does not mean that those same scouts will refuse to view the film after the game is concluded.
The NFL’s decision is an interesting one. Underclassmen have until January 15 to declare for the Draft and until January 18 to withdraw their names. The NFLPA Collegiate Bowl will not take place until January 21. Thus, the concern that scouts will be in person watching players who still have student-athlete eligibility is moot. But a rule is a rule, and the NFL has put its foot down.