Nick Saban explains the difficulties in allowing undrafted players an opportunity to return to school
The 2019 NFL Draft came and went with an incredibly high number of early entrants not hearing their name called at all. In total, 49 of the 144 underclassmen from the draft pool went undrafted.
Some have suggested that college football should adopt a rule similar to the one college basketball will be using for the first time this year in which undrafted players that compete in the NBA Combine will be allowed to return to school — even if they sign with an agent.
During a recent appearance at the Team Focus event from Mobile, Nick Saban was asked to share his thoughts on if college football should adopt a similar rule. Based on his response, he would likely not support such a rule for football initially due to issues that it would create between the winter conditioning and spring football.
“If we’re going to have this many people go out for the draft (early), that’s obviously a solution that some people should look at,” Saban said in a YouTube video posted by AL.com. “If that were the case in football, how many guys would go out for the draft? You kiss spring practice goodbye. You wouldn’t know what kind of team or who would be on your team for the next year. How would you know how many guys you could recruit if you don’t know how many guys are coming back to the team? I think when you have smaller numbers, that’s a little easier to manage.”
On the other hand, Saban suggested that if the rule helps the players, he would support it.
“But I do think that this is from player’s perspective, this is not from a coach’s perspective. There’s one thing that I think all us coaches, every coach I know is all about the players, they want what’s best for the players,” Saban added. “And when you have 140 some guys going out for the draft, 49 guys don’t get drafted, and a significant number of guys get drafted in the last couple rounds from that group — which means they probably won’t be on a squad in three years. You have a lot of people having failed careers or no degree and that’s not really a good combination for them and their success in the future.”
It’s a complicated issue but at least Saban is trying to review it from all sides before potentially discussing it at the upcoming SEC spring meetings.