NFL amends draft eligibility due to pandemic impact

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The official NFL logo is seen on the back of a hat in Los Angeles on July 21, 2020. (Photo by CHRIS DELMAS/AFP via Getty Images)

NEW YORK — 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.

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