The handling of Drew Ott's appeal for a fifth year of eligibility is just wrong
A total of 332 players were invited to Indianapolis with hopes of improving their draft stocks in front of NFL eyes. They all either used up their eligibility or they declared early because they believe they’re ready for the next level.
Well, 331 players had that mindset.
Then there’s the mysterious, drawn-out, bang-your-head-against-the-wall case of Drew Ott. The Iowa defensive end has been in limbo about his future for months, and even with the NFL draft just eight weeks away, he remains in limbo.
“Apparently they’ve got to investigate some stuff,” Ott said in Indianapolis. “I think I filled out all the right paperwork.”
On Monday, Iowa provided an update on his situation, but not a decision.
“In regards to the University of Iowa appeal on behalf of Drew Ott, the Big Ten Conference has granted the UI’s request to forward the petition to the NCAA, where a decision will be rendered on his request for an additional year through the Medical Hardship Waiver process.”
In other words, the ball is now in the NCAA’s court to make a decision on whether or not Ott will get his fifth year in Iowa City. So instead of waiting on one governing body to determine his future, he has to wait on another.
Others have noticed the unprecedented set of circumstances.
It's criminal what the NCAA id doing to Drew Ott. Makes me sick. @mind_of_snyder
— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) March 1, 2016
But the question is, why couldn’t this have been decided months ago? As Ott said, all of the necessary paperwork was filed promptly. How long does it take to examine one individual case?
This isn’t about him pleading that he deserves a do-over for an injury-plagued 2015 season. This is about a 22 year-old-kid’s livelihood. The governing parties’ feet-dragging created the ripple effect.
Ott had to prepare for the combine by doing combine-specific drills. Ask any player. Preparing for the combine is different than going through a spring workout program geared towards improving at the collegiate level.
Kirk Ferentz had Ott’s impending situation lingering throughout the recruiting and transfer season. It’s hard to pitch a defensive end graduate transfer when you don’t know if there will be a spot available in his one year of eligibility. It shouldn’t have had a major impact on recruiting, but any highly touted defensive end recruit that was set on playing right away would’ve had to take Ott’s situation into consideration.
It’s silly that those things could be impacted by what should’ve been a black-and-white decision. Why couldn’t one examine Ott’s snap-count — he exceeded the 30 percent threshold — and make a ruling?
The fact that Ott said the NCAA told him they have to “investigate some stuff” makes the situation that much more frustrating. That should’ve been going on in December when Iowa had a three-week break in between the B1G Championship and the Rose Bowl, not as he had to awkwardly pitch himself to NFL front offices.
I’m not going to try and say that Ott should or shouldn’t be eligible to come back. That’s not my call.
But if it was, you can bet that I would’ve made it months ago.