Third-round pick Taylor Price wasn’t. And undrafted free-agent Buddy Farnham’s status would seemingly be put in peril too (more on that in a minute).
It’s not exactly earth-shattering news — given that these rules have been in place and affected teams for years — but because those two players’ alma maters (Ohio U. and Brown) are still in session, and NFL rules dictate that rookies can’t report until after finals are complete, the status of both Price and Farnham is up for question. If you think you’ve heard this before, you probably have …
Players from my alma mater, Ohio State, get hit with this every year, because our school is on academic quarters (Ohio U is too), and that means graduation isn’t until the middle of June. It was actually considered a fairly big thing back in 2006, when five Buckeyes (A.J. Hawk, Donte Whitner, Santonio Holmes, Bobby Carpenter, Nick Mangold) were drafted in the first round. And it also hits players from other quarter-system schools like Washington, Oregon, Oregon State, and Stanford.
Anyway, I pointed it out to my buddy and Eagles beat man Geoff Mosher on Twitter Wednesday morning, after Philly draft pick Kurt Coleman turned up missing at OTAs. As it turns out, this rule sideswiped the Patriots, as it did the Eagles and so many others. Kind of standard in the NFL.
But the Patriots were able to dodge one bullet here. While Price was locked in to OU’s quarter system (they’re barely halfway through the term), Brown’s calendar gave Farnham the flexibility to get to Foxborough with the rest of his rookie class. Brown’s commencement isn’t until May 30, but their finals go from May 12-21, and since Farnham’s finishing up classwork and is set to graduate (if he wasn’t in classes, he’d have to wait for finals to end, so staying in school actually helped him), I’m told he was able to get all his exams done before the May 16 rookie reporting date. He’ll walk on May 30 with his classmates.
Still think it’s a silly rule? Be careful, there.
The idea of the rule is to eliminate a potential deterrent for kids to stay in school.
Say you’re one quarter away from graduation when the spring session starts in April, but you know that you’ll have to miss a few weeks of your drafting team’s offseason program if you enroll in classes. Well, then, you might decide to blow off school, and worry about graduating later.
But if you can’t show up until after graduation anyway? You might be more inclined to finish up school, or at least make more progress toward a degree.
At the very least, I think you can say the intentions on this rule are good. After all, most NFL careers don’t last more than a few years, and the league really is doing these kids a favor by encouraging them to set up a life after football.
Anyway, for what it’s worth, here are the graduation dates of the schools of the Patriots’ rookies:
Rutgers — May 16
Arizona — May 15
Florida — May 1
Ohio — June 12
Michigan — May 1
NC State — May 15
Vanderbilt — May 14
Alabama — May 8
Georgia — May 8
Oklahoma State — May 8
Undrafted free agents
Brown — May 30
California (Penn.) University — May 8
Central Michigan — May 8
Illinois — May 16
Mississippi State — May 1
Montana State — May 8
North Dakota State — May 15
Notre Dame — May 16
Villanova — May 16
Price, by the way, can’t show up until after OU’s final day of exams, which is June 11.