Juniors Might Still Be Jumping Blindly to the NFL

Back in late October, SI broke the story of a fight for film going on between the NFL and XOS Technologies. As a quick refresher, XOS is in charge of digitizing film for eight conferences, including the SEC, Pac-10, Big 12, Mid-American, WAC and Sun Belt. (Eric Berry, pictured right, is a junior and might have a hard time getting a proper evaluation.) Now XOS wants what is reportedly $20-$30 million for film the NFL used to receive for nothing.

As you might expect, this is a price bump that the NFL isn't taking lightly. And so roughly five weeks ago, the two sides were apparently at a stand-still. At issue is the evaluation of juniors looking to jump to the NFL next season, a group that is expected to be bigger than usual thanks to a potential work stoppage looming in the future for the league.

The whole thing is going to be a mess, but it sounds like there's some little tiny light at the end of the tunnel in this dispute, according to SportsBusiness Daily:

⇥⇥⇥Pac-10 Commissioner Larry Scott said, “I expect that an agreement will be in place once our regular season concludes this weekend and the video will be available to the NFL. ... I met with (NFL Commissioner) Roger Goodell two weeks ago and we had a meeting of the minds on the NFL’s appropriate use of coaching video, for scouting and evaluation. Our people are in the process of finalizing a one-year agreement.” SEC Associate Commissioner for Media Relations Charles Bloom said in an e-mail the conference instructed its institutions during a conference call earlier this week to share video as they have done in the past.

That's all well and good, but SBD points out the other major issue: Even if agreements are reached, will there be enough time to evaluate what should be a larger-than-usual group of curious juniors? Requests for evaluation will be accepted through Jan. 4, but the deadline to get out is Jan. 15. Considering, in the past, game tape would usually come to teams after the first few regular season games, the NFL is already way behind on this year's evaluations and information gathering.

Just a hunch, but I'm guessing for the first time in a while you're going to see some wildly inconsistent mock drafts when comparing the usual suspects. A lot of these people depend on conversations with NFL personnel, and if they are armed with fractions of the usual information, the mocks might be further from the real thing than usual. I'm sure they'll all come to some sort of hivemind consensus by the draft, but for these early months, don't be surprised if they're all over the map.

And from the players' perspective, how furious would you be? As a source in the SBD story says, it's not unlike someone holding up your transcript and possibly costing you your future livelihood. When athletes make the "schools and conferences don't care about us" argument, this story should be toward the front of their thesis.

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This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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