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The NFL, the NCAA, and Terrelle Pryor

JEANNETTE, PA - AUGUST 12:  Terrelle Pryor works out at a practice facility on August 12, 2011 in Jeannette, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
JEANNETTE, PA - AUGUST 12: Terrelle Pryor works out at a practice facility on August 12, 2011 in Jeannette, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
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If I may be permitted a bit of time on the soapbox, there's something that rankles me a bit when it comes to players in the NFL and violations that occurred while the players were still in school.

So the NFL has essentially told the NCAA in many situations they won't do anything to a player who's taken improper benefits, was recruited improperly, or anything of the sort... Fine and well, it wasn't their problem, it was the NCAA's problem. Until of course the NFL decides to make it their problem by suspending Terrelle Pryor for five games, essentially upholding the suspension he'd serve with Ohio State.

I understand the main difference between Pryor and most other NFL/NCAA crossover cases is that Pryor is trying to use the NFL as his "escape hatch," so to speak, so on that level I understand the NFL's desire to suspend a player who hasn't even been signed into the league, much less taken a professional snap (depending on how you view college football).

But does that limit the NFL's influence to only instances where they might be viewed as a "way out"? Or is Pryor a player that committed a wrong in college and has to answer for it now? Cause there are plenty of college football players that haven't exactly answered for their college wrongs. For example, Reggie Bush parlayed his Heisman trophy into the #2 overall pick - he had to give up the Heisman, but he was still the #2 pick in the draft and got the massive contract to go with it.

Even if the NFL were interested in helping the NCAA with "post-graduation discipline" as it were, it's hard to punish the player - the guilty party - without punishing the team - an innocent party - and still have it be a punishment. Fine the player? So what. Suspend the player? Sure hurts the player, but also the team, and after the suspension, again, so what. If there is a message to send, it has to be able to stick. I'd even go so far as to simply ban the player and rip up the contract, and if the player was a draft pick of the team, give that team a supplemental pick of the round the player was drafted in. But that doesn't work without reciprocity.

There's still the problem of the enablers in college, the ones that encourage and even provide some of the improper benefits. For the most part, incidents like these center on the schools and the players - and little on the individuals themselves.

And if the NFL isn't interested in helping the NCAA handle its business, what are they saying, that it's okay to behave improperly as long as they don't find out about it until after the draft? If Pryor came out of college originally after his junior year and had been drafted normally instead of trying to use his "escape hatch" and going the supplemental route, would Pryor have been suspended five games in this manner?

Like I said, I understand if the suspension is for jumping to the NFL to duck NCAA punishment, especially because it's the same length as his Ohio State suspension would have been. But there's so many ways to go with the suspension, especially if the NFL were to start using the suspension as a precedent to step up punishing these situations on current NFL players. I just don't see how that would be right on the NFL's part.

Wow, that's a lot of talk for a player that will be lucky to see game action at all this year. What do you think of the NFL's decision to continue with Ohio State's suspension on Pryor?