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Commentary: A gift wrapped pass to the NFL for Terrelle Pryor

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Ohio State has gift wrapped Terrelle Pryor’s going-away present in the form of a punishment.

In the last couple of days Pryor’s journey to the NFL has hit a couple of speed bumps, with his eligibility to a supplemental draft coming into question. The letter of the rule states that a player may only enter a supplemental draft if their situation changes and they are not able to participate in the next season.

Technically, between the deadline to declare for the draft in January and when Pryor left the university on June 8, his situation had not changed. Technically.

When the draft deadline came, Pryor was suspended for the first five games of the 2011 season. At that time the “tat-5” scandal seemed to be under control. Everything was (relatively) normal.

The Buckeyes had won the Sugar Bowl The Sugar Bowl was sucked into the black hole of the sporting world. And compliance problems with head coach Jim Tressel were non-existent. Pryor had a contract with the coach to remain on the Buckeye squad for the 2011 season in exchange to play in the Sugar Bowl for nothing.

While inevitably Pryor still had his doubts about the season, he still had Tressel to fall back on. One thing that is clearly evident from the transcript of Tressel’s interview from the NCAA, it’s that Pryor and Tressel were very close. Pryor depended on the coach for more than just football related issues.

When all hell broke loose on March 8, Tressel received a two-game suspension from the university. A suspension that a short time later was increased to a five-game suspension.

After more and more of the scandal developed, it became clear that the season was not going to be what everyone had thought it was going to be. Then on May 30, Tressel resigned (read: retired) from the university.

I think it’s safe to say Pryor’s situation had changed.

Seemingly following Tressel step for step, Pryor was gone a week later to pursue an NFL career. He had planned to enter a supplemental draft.

The rules for a supplemental draft changed after Cleveland Browns quarterback Bernie Kosar used the supplemental draft to avoid being drafted by the Minnesota Vikings. He was drafted by Cleveland in the supplemental, and since then, the rules for supplemental draft eligibility have tightened.

The rule lists three reasons to let someone enter a supplemental draft: flunking out of school, graduating and deciding to leave and being kicked off the team.

As of earlier today, Pryor did not meet any of these requirements, technically.

Cleverly disguised as a punishment, the university did the best thing for Pryor to help him pursue his NFL dream. They sent him a letter on Tuesday banning him from all athletic facilities for five years, and declared him ineligible from intercollegiate play.

The letter states that this decision was made due to his decision not to talk to NCAA investigators.

“The University must declare you ineligible for intercollegiate competition,” the letter continued. “Due to your failure to cooperate, the University must also disassociate you from its athletic program for a period of five (5) years.”

Sure, he won’t be able to come back to Columbus to workout at OSU’s gym in the off-season. But let’s be honest, why would Pryor ever come back to Columbus?

Whether they will admit it or not, the university might as well have put a bow on that letter to Pryor, as that should be the last step for Pryor to get into the NFL.

Thanks to OSU, expect Pryor to be eligible for a supplemental draft (whenever that may be).

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