Steelers Rookie WR Markus Wheaton Likely To Miss OTA Sessions Due To NFL Graduation Rules

For the last several seasons, the Pittsburgh Steelers seem to always have a draft pick or two that are forced to miss a few of, if not all of, the OTA sessions due to their schools graduation schedule. As it looks right now, Oregon State wide receiver Markus Wheaton will be the lone draft pick of the 2013 draft class that is in jeopardy of missing time, as NFL rules prohibit draft picks still in college to participate until their school has graduated it’s class.

Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert was a guest today on ESPN 970 Radio and host David Todd asked him if any of the draft picks would miss time this offseason due to their schools exam and graduation schedule.

“They can all come this weekend,” said Colbert. “When they return for the OTA\’s they will be bound by their college obligations first. The only draft pick that it affects would be Markus Wheaton. His graduation date is early in June and if he can show progress, or to the fact that he is on time, sometimes the school will allow him, they would say he satisfied his means. But usually they have to actually, if they are enrolled in school, or even if they\’re not enrolled in school, if their school is still in session, they can\’t report until after the last day of finals.”

Missing time last year because of their school being on the quarters system were guard David DeCastro and tackle Mike Adams, and now it appears that Wheaton is destined to miss OTA time as well. Oregon State is one of the few remaining colleges that uses the quarter system, and according to the school\’s website, finals take place from June 10–14 with graduation taking place on June 15.

The Steelers rookie camp takes place this coming weekend, and as Colbert indicated, Wheaton will be present for that. The Steelers three OTA sessions are scheduled for May 21-23, May 28-30 and June 3-6, so there is a good chance that Wheaton will miss all of those. The Steelers mandatory mini camp is scheduled for June 11-13 and Wheaton should be able to attend that.

Last year, both Adams and DeCastro were able to make the mandatory mini camp after missing all of the OTA sessions.

  • nikgreene

    I understand that they want NFL players to finish college, but this is Wheaton’s job now. Seems pretty silly that a guy can’t come to work. What if he was recruited and hired by a law firm, would they restrict him from coming to a meeting with his new boss if school was still in session?

  • Bill Bob

    LOL so most of these players don’t go to class and never graduate and the college’s make millions on amateur athletics and they are held back from attending the work place were they will be earning a living if good enough.

    Plus they can come out of college after two years and never complete college so it you go by the rule they can never come to a pro football camp.

    This is to protect the players as all rules , If I were the college players i would form a union and get paid for playing in college.

    This would represent at least a 50% increase in the SEC’s per-school take, which could get close to $34 million in 2014-15

    Pay the players

  • Bob Loblaw

    OTA’s strike me as something much more involved than a simple meeting. Not to mention the first two sets occur when many colleges are still in session, and in the middle of the week to boot. If graduation is a concern, missing blocks of time during finals or in the weeks leading to finals isn’t a good idea.

  • dgh57

    What a bummer!! Glad it affects just one player!!!

  • Busforever

    You talk as a fan, or you assume he will be an established player in the league. But the true is, football ”could be” his job. Maybe. He could be cut, he could be injured, he could have a short career, not enough to live the rest of his life without a job. You can always say ”I will finish college after football”, but the more you wait, the harder it is to come back to school. Finish what you started, I think that’s a good lesson to learn. Plus the fact that it’s hard for many young professional athletes to realize what’s good and what’s wrong for them in their new life: to me, the rules do them a favor in the long term.

  • alex

    what part of, i have declared for the NFL draft, does the NFL not understand…

  • Sven_Hunkstrom

    What is the actual purpose for this rule?


    If Mike Wallace can come in and learn a new playbook from the sidelines…I’m sure as hell Markus can, don’t sweat the small stuff, this guy will eclipse Mike easy.

  • joed32

    Better than last year when it was DeCastro and Adams.

  • NW86

    So even minicamp takes place before graduation, right in the middle of finals week. How do you know he will be able to attend minicamp?

  • They are paid…Free Tuition, Room and Board, Books ect. and an opportunity to get a great education to provide for their Families when football is over. Have you priced what it cost to go to College these days?

  • TheBlitz

    If this is clearly and NFL rule, why aren’t NFL teams complying with this rule by scheduling mini-camps after finals ?

    Maybe mini-camp is not that important after all.

  • the nfl has some really stupid rules and this may top the list, at every college and university in the country, about 30 t0 40 percent of every class is no where to be found on graduation ceremony day. Some have already started work and most just go home and get their diploma in the mail, the nfl does somethings right but too often they don’t have a freakin clue.

  • there is not a college in the country that has not or will be very shortly giving their finals, a lot of the students are already heading home, in fact, my neighbors son goes to WASHINGTON U. AND HAS BEEN HOME SINCE LAST WEEK END, TO WORK for HIS DAD’S COMPANY FOR THE REST OF THE MONTH BEFORE HEADING TO d. c. to start work for his Dad’s office there.

  • Bob Loblaw

    There’s plenty of schools that don’t get out the first few weeks of May. If you read the article, you can see his finals take place the week of Jun 10th. If he plans on passing his classes, missing the bulk of three weeks of classes before graduation wouldn’t be a good idea.

  • JDR

    please spare us the bullshit…college football makes more money than the nfl….. nearly everything the crooked ass ncaa does is illegal if they were called something else.
    why and who is this stupid rule for? it does no ones any favors and is basically a pissing contest show of force by the unpaid farm league/info for a price companies

  • JDR

    if he’s been in Pittsburgh working at his new job, before that all star games (?) the combine, pro days… when would any of these new hires had the time or reason to go to cost you money “school”?

  • JDR

    he was drafted, football is his job and he is being paid to go to work

  • JDR

    its just one last whipping by their slavemaster “school”