The NFL will no longer allow players with convictions for domestic violence, sexual assault or weapons offenses to attend the annual scouting combine in Indianapolis.
NFL teams were informed of this policy change in a memo from the NFL’s executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent late last month.
In the memo, obtained by USA TODAY Sports, Vincent wrote that invited prospects would be barred from "any league-related event" if a background check turns up a felony or misdemeanor conviction. Players that refuse to submit to a background check will also be uninvited.
It also means those players would not be invited to the draft.
"It is important for us to remain strongly committed to league values as we demonstrate to our fans, future players, coaches, general managers, and others who support our game that character matters," Vincent wrote in the memo.
The rule is expected to impact only a handful of players each year. More than 300 players attend the combine each February, where they meet with teams, undergo physicals, participate in a variety of on-field tests, including the 40-yard dash, and go through a series of position-specific drills.
Had the rule been in place in 2015, No. 1 overall pick Jameis Winston would have still been allowed to participate in the combine because he was never convicted of sexual assault, despite allegations and a civil lawsuit while at Florida State.
But former Michigan linebacker Frank Clark, who wound up a second-round pick of the Seattle Seahawks, would have been barred. Clark pleaded guilty to a lesser charge after an arrest for a domestic violence incident.
Vincent told teams that players who are barred from the combine will have no restrictions from attending other private workouts, pro days and regional combines.