Terrelle Pryor is eligible for the NFL supplemental draft. On Thursday morning, the NFL ruled Pryor's circumstances had changed, a prerequisite for entry into the draft, and allow him in. But there's a catch. Before stepping foot into the NFL, Pryor is suspended for five games; the punishment he received at Ohio State will come with him to the NFL.
The transfer of Pryor's suspension would seem to boil down to the NFL's fear of setting a dangerous precedent. By letting Pryor in, the NFL would open the door for other athletes to nefariously make themselves eligible for the supplemental draft by breaking an NCAA rule that would make them ineligible in the college ranks. However, in attempting to create a deterrent for players who may consider making an end-run around supplemental draft eligibility rules, the NFL set a different, but still dangerous, precedent.
There's something slimy about the NFL enforcing the rules of the NCAA. Pryor broke an NCAA rule by exchanging memorabilia for tattoos, yet there's no NFL rule against it. And with the NFL reaching into the NCAA and enforcing a rule, the lines between the two organizations -- as well as amateurism and the professional ranks -- are blurred even further.
Pryor can do nothing to fight back. He's left in limbo, in yet another situation where he has to accept the punishment and move on. Fight the suspension and Pryor becomes untouchable, quickly finding himself stone-walled in NFL circles.
It's a bit ironic considering how the suspension came about in the first place -- Pryor and others were allowed to play in the Sugar Bowl, as long as they promised to come back and serve their suspension the following season. At the time, had he decided to leave, skipping the bowl game and his senior season, he wouldn't be in this situation. He's not a victim by any means, but the whole situation reeks of the NFL trying to make an example of him in an effort to preserve the status quo.