NFL's latest mess is Bernie Kosar's fault
The NFL has postponed the supplemental draft because no one can decide if Terrelle Pryor is eligible, which begs the question, why does someone have to be 'eligible' for the draft? Why not just let anyone in that missed the first draft?
In 1985, there were no underclassmen in the NFL draft. A player could only be drafted if he had either finished his four years of college eligibility or had graduated. Miami Hurricanes quarterback Bernie Kosar had two years of eligibility remaining, but graduated early and announced that he would enter the draft. He also announced that he wanted to play for his hometown team, the Browns.
The Bills had the #1 overall pick and signed DE Bruce Smith several weeks before the draft. The Vikings sent a couple of picks to the Oilers to move from #3 to #2 to take Kosar. The same day that the Vikings traded up, so did the Browns sending 4 picks, including 1st rounders in '85 and '86, to the Bills for the 1st overall pick in the supplemental draft. This was still several weeks before the regular draft and, in theory, no one knew who would be in the supplemental draft. But the Browns did know, they were told by Kosar's agent that he would skip the regular draft if the Browns could get the first pick in the supplemental draft. After the April 15th deadline, Kosar's agent announced that they had missed the filing deadline and that he would go in the supplemental draft. Commissioner Rozelle extended the deadline by a day. Kosar still didn't file.
The Vikings, of course, cried foul. The commissioner met with all 4 teams involved, Bills, Browns, Vikings and Oilers, and eventually ruled that no rules had been broken and Kosar was free to wait until the supplemental draft. There was clearly evidence of collusion between Kosar and the Browns and still time to force Kosar to enter the regular draft or sit out a year, so why did Rozelle rule in his favor? 1985 was the height of the USFL's raid on college players. Herschel Walker and Doug Flutie had already signed with the USFL. I'm sure that the threat of Kosar jumping to the new league played a large part in the decision to allow him to handpick his team.
After the 1985 debacle the NFL made a rule that picks in the supplemental draft couldn't be traded for picks in the regular draft. They also created a peudo-lottery for the supplemental draft, no longer awarding picks in the same order as the regular draft. But those rule changes didn't quite solve the problem. In 1987 Brian Bosworth skipped the regular draft because he didn't want to play for the Colts or Bills, who had the top 2 picks. A flurry of 'missed the deadline' players in the late 80's (Steve Walsh, Timm Rosenbach, Bobby Humphrey, Rob Moore) led to the current rule, only players who had planned to attend college, but couldn't for various reasons (academically ineligible, failed drug test, kicked off team) are eligible for the supplemental draft.
So where does that leave Terrelle Pryor? Since 2003, 8 players have been taken in the supplemental draft. 5 were academically ineligible, 1 was kicked off his team, 1 tested positive for a banned substance and 1, BYU RB Harvey Unga, left school voluntarily after violating the schools honor code. Pryor, like Unga, left school voluntarily. So is the NFL now in the business of deciding what is an acceptable reason for leaving school? If he hadn't announced his intention to go to the NFL and had instead just quit going to classes, he would be in this draft without question. So if the NFL keeps Terrelle Pryor out, are they forcing kids to get kicked out of school if they want to be drafted? If they let him in, are they opening the door for players to use the supplemental draft to manipulate the system?