The NFL has clarified its eligibility requirements for the draft to allow college players who would’ve played a fourth season during the pandemic-altered 2020 season to be eligible.
In a memo sent to teams that was obtained by The Associated Press on Thursday, the league said the 2020 college football season will be considered a season of participation for all college football student-athletes, including players who opted out, received a redshirt, were academically ineligible or attended schools that canceled or postponed their seasons.
In August, the NCAA granted players a fifth year of eligibility.
A player who entered college in 2017, played three seasons and was still a member of his school’s team in 2020 is automatically eligible for the draft. This includes any players who opted out.
A player who entered college in 2016, red-shirted in one of the next four seasons and was still a member of his school’s team in 2020 is automatically eligible for the draft. This also includes any players who opted out.
A player who entered college in 2017 and already received a redshirt year, has to submit a petition for special eligibility to be eligible for the draft. This requirement also applies to players who entered college in 2018.
The procedures for underclassmen remain the same.
AP Pro Football Writer Barry Wilner contributed to this report.