When Did the NFL 3-Year Rule Start?

If you’re wondering when the NFL 3-year rule started, you’re not alone. This rule is one of the more confusing aspects of the NFL’s eligibility requirements.

History of the 3-year rule

The three-year rule was a rule created by the National Football League (NFL) that stated that a player could not play in the NFL until three years after they had graduated from high school. This rule was in place from the league’s creation in 1920 until 1974.

The rule was put in place to stop colleges from having an unfair advantage over high schools. The colleges were able to offer players scholarships and other benefits that high schools could not. This made it difficult for high school teams to compete against college teams.

The rule was also seen as a way to protect the players from being exploited by the teams. College players were often signed to contracts that gave the team control over their career. The NFL did not want this to happen to its players.

The rule was changed in 1974 when the NFL and the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) came to an agreement on a new contract. This contract included a clause that allowed players who had been out of high school for three years to enter the NFL draft.

The clause was put in place because of a lawsuit filed by former University of Maryland player John Mackey. Mackey had been drafted by the Baltimore Colts in 1963, but he did not play in the NFL until 1966 because of the three-year rule. He sued the NFL, and the case went all the way to the Supreme Court.

In 1972, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Mackey, and it said that the three-year rule violated federal antitrust laws. This ruling led to the change in 1974, and it has been in effect ever since.

How the 3-year rule has been applied

The three-year rule has been applied inconsistently since it was first instituted in the NFL in 1993. In some cases, players have been eligible for the draft after just two years of college football; in others, they have had to wait three full years. The rule was originally put in place to prevent players from leaving college early and declaring for the draft, but it has had little effect on that front. Players who are considered “generational talents” often declare for the draft after just two years of college, regardless of the rule.

How the 3-year rule has been interpreted

The three-year rule was put in place in 1990, but it has been interpreted differently over time. In 1996, the NFL amended the rule to state that a player must be out of high school for three years before being eligible for the draft.

This means that a player who graduates high school in May of 2016 will not be eligible for the 2019 NFL draft. The rule was put into place to give players time to develop physically and mentally before they enter the professional ranks.

There have been exceptions to the rule, however. In 2014, the NFL granted early entry to two players who had completed their high school eligibility but had not yet been out of high school for three years. The players in question were Jadeveon Clowney and Khalil Mack, who both went on to have successful NFL careers.

Recent changes to the 3-year rule

In 2015, the NFL amended the rule to allow players who had been out of high school for at least three years to be eligible for the draft. The previous rule had required players to be out of high school for at least four years before they could be drafted. The change was made in order to allow more players to enter the league, and it has had a significant impact on the NFL landscape.

Players who would have been ineligible for the draft under the old rules, like Teddy Bridgewater and Jared Goff, were able to enter the league and make an immediate impact. The new rule has also allowed older players who have played in other leagues, like CFL or Arena Football, to enter the NFL and make an impact. This has led to a influx of talent into the league, and it has made the NFL a more competitive and exciting league.

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