If college football moves to the spring, what happens with the draft?
When the possibility of college football being moved to the spring was merely that, the NFL reportedly wasn’t interested in moving the draft. As possibility becomes probability, and potentially certainty, the NFL may what to rethink its initial position.
Although the draft has become one of the league’s major offseason tentpoles, it makes no sense to require teams to scout college football players who are still playing college football. Also, some of the best players will skip a spring season if the draft remains in late April. A delayed draft could persuade more players to play a delayed 2020 season, giving the stewards of play-for-no-pay football access to their best available talent.
That’s an important consideration for the NFL. College football is, has been, and always will be the NFL’s free farm system. If college football wants the NFL to delay the draft in order to accommodate a delayed 2020 season, the league may not be quick to dismiss the possibility.
Yes, the NFL would need to get the NFL Players Association to agree to a later draft. In theory, the NFLPA would have no reason to consent to a delayed draft. As a practical matter, the union would have no reason to refuse it.
The biggest challenge could come from certainty of scheduling. If the major conferences bump to the spring, if the NFL moves the draft to June or July, and then if college football eventually can’t happen in the spring, the NFL will have delayed its draft for no reason.
Ultimately, it’s a possibility that, like everything else related to the pandemic, raises more questions than it answers.