NY Giants: 3 looming questions if the 2020 NFL season is cancelled

New York Giants (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images)
New York Giants (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images) /
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New York Giants
Trevor Lawrence (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images) /

2. NCAA eligibility

One of the biggest issues surrounding the immediate future of the National Football League will be focused on how the NCAA will handle eligibility for its collegiate players should the NCAA football season be cancelled in addition to the 2020 NFL season. Although the 2020 NFL draft is going on as planned, this could still have a massive effect on the NY Giants.

If the 2020 NCAA season is cancelled, will players who would have otherwise been eligible to declare for the 2021 NFL Draft be forced to come back to college to play for another year or will they be allowed to enter the NFL Draft as they would have been able to do prior to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and the cancellation of the college season?

The most glaring example of this would be star quarterback Trevor Lawrence from the University of Clemson. Even though the NY Giants are set at QB, his presence as one of the best QB prospects to come out in years looms large in terms of what it could mean for the franchise.

Most draft experts believe Lawrence is a better quarterback prospect than any of the quarterbacks who have declared for the 2020 NFL Draft. However, Lawrence was just a sophomore last season, so he was not eligible to declare for the 2020 Draft but would have been eligible to do so for the 2021 NFL Draft.

If the NCAA decides to cancel the 2020 college football season and determines that due to the cancellation, all players must return for the 2021 college football season in order to receive the eligibility needed to declare for the NFL Draft, the decision would cause massive ripples across both collegiate and professional football.

Mandating that players must return for another season to be eligible to declare for the NFL would almost certainly cause the cancellation of the 2021 NFL Draft, as there would be few players who could declare for the draft that did not already do so prior to the 2020 NFL Draft. At the very least, the 2021 NFL Draft would be significantly reduced due to lack of high-quality prospects and the overall number of collegiate players available.

Additionally, the NCAA would certainly receive legal challenges from players who would have been eligible to declare for the 2021 NFL Draft, due to the financial impact that not being able to declare would present. Imagine if it were mandated that Trevor Lawrence had to return for another season to be eligible to declare and while at Clemson he severely underperformed or was injured seriously enough to negatively impact his draft status. The mandated return in that scenario could cost him tens of millions of dollars.

Conversely, if the NCAA determined that they would allow the cancelled 2020 season to count towards eligibility, then the impact on the National Football League would still remain high. In this scenario, it would be highly probable that the 2021 NFL Draft would continue on normally.

If the 2020 NCAA & NFL seasons were to be cancelled, but the NCAA players were allowed to declare for the 2021 NFL Draft, the implications could be significant. Do the Cincinnati Bengals bet on the probability of a cancellation of the 2020 NFL season and pass on a Joe Burrow in hopes of being able to get Trevor Lawrence in the 2021 NFL Draft? Do the NY Giants decide to get Isaiah Simmons knowing that they would have a good shot at getting offensive tackles Penei Sewell from Oregon or Alex Leatherwood from Alabama in the 2021 NFL Draft?

Teams should be demanding that the league work with the NCAA to get answers on how the eligibility ruling will be handled if, in fact, the NCAA cancels the 2020 college football season. The implications would be huge regardless of what the ruling is. Teams should want to know the answer to this prior to the 2020 NFL Draft.