“My first proposal is that we put this” go or stay “decision in the hands of the individual and his family, not in the form of an NFL, NFLPA or NCAA rule while allowing the player to return to college football if he does. not signed, “Harbaugh wrote in an open letter to the football community on Thursday.
Currently, players are ineligible until three regular NFL seasons have started and ended after graduating from high school or graduating from the class they entered high school with, whichever comes first.
“The proposal described above would allow the individual to pursue his dream as a student and as a professional athlete in the time that best suits his interests of his own free will and his own abilities,” said wrote Harbaugh.
A policy in the collective agreement – which runs throughout the 2030 season – between the NFL and the players’ union prohibits players who have completed only their first or second year in college from being drafted. This rule has not been challenged for almost 17 years. The league and union, however, have shown no tendency to revise the rule.
“We have great respect for Coach Harbaugh and we appreciate his advice,” said NFL spokesperson Brian McCarthy.
Former Ohio State ball carrier Maurice Clarett sued the NFL in 2003, shortly after being suspended for receiving additional benefits and deceiving investigators to challenge it.
Clarett was found eligible for the 2004 draft by a US district judge in New York, but a federal court of appeal stayed the decision and the United States Supreme Court refused to intervene. In 2005, the Denver Broncos drafted Clarett in the third round, cut him before the season, and he did not play in the NFL.
Former Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, drafted fifth overall by Miami last month, said at the NFL recruiting meeting that he agreed with the policy.
“I think the three-year rule is good,” he said earlier this year in Indianapolis. “It’s different with basketball and baseball, I would say, only because now you’re hit by guys like that. men. They have to feed their families. They also try to make a living. Gaining as much experience, gaining as much knowledge as possible from your coaches is probably the best thing. “
Harbaugh is also proposing a rule change that would allow undrafted players who do not sign with a league team to return to college competition if they remain academically eligible and do not receive money from an agent.
He also suggests that schools cover the cost of graduating for a player who leaves school before graduating to enter the draft and stay in the league.
If a student-athlete leaves after their first year or fourth season, as proposed by Harbaugh, they will be entitled to one year of their continuing education paid for by the school. If the player went pro after his second or third year at college, Harbaugh suggested he would be eligible for two more years of training.
Harbaugh’s proposals also include “expanding the rules,” to allow student-athletes and their families to seek advice from lawyers and agents without being paid.
He also suggests eliminating the red shirts rule by giving all football players five years to participate. He wants coaches to be allowed to add more than 25 freshmen and transfers each year.
Harbaugh had previously argued for a possible change to the NCAA rule that would allow all student-athletes to transfer once without spending a season.
A former NFL quarterback, Harbaugh returned to school in 2015 where he was a star after being 44-19-1 as coach of the San Francisco 49ers and winning the 2012 NFC Championship.
Harbaugh thanked his father, Jack, a former football coach; Sporting Director Warde Manuel and School President Mark Schlissel for discussing his ideas with him.
“These opinions are mine and are not necessarily those of the University of Michigan,” wrote Harbaugh.
AP football writers Barry Wilner and Arnie Stapleton contributed to this report.
Follow Larry Lage on https://twitter.com/larrylage
More AP college football: https://twitter.com/Collegefootball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25