CLEVELAND — Cleveland isn't typically considered a college football town.
But that doesn't mean that several conferences postponing their 2020 seasons won't affect Northeast Ohio.
As leagues including the Big Ten and Pac-12 have opted to pull the plug on their fall sports seasons with hopes of playing in the spring instead, next year's NFL offseason could look drastically different. That includes the 2021 NFL Draft in Cleveland, which is currently scheduled to take place from April 29-May 1, but could be pushed back to as late as June 2, per the NFL's collective bargaining agreement.
According to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, if college football does pull off a spring season, it's not a matter of "if" but rather "how" the league's offseason will change.
"Just talking to several people involved in the thinking and the planning of what's going to happen in the NFL's very important offseason, first of all, it's going to shift if the majority of college football does play in the spring," Rapoport said on Good Morning Football on Wednesday. "Clearly the NFL Scouting Combine would likely shift and this is something that NFL people I have spoken with are open to doing, again, to accommodate college football and make this work for all sides. Instead of a combine in February, it may be in late-April or maybe in May.
"And then according to the CBA, the NFL could actually move the draft up to and through June 2 without renegotiating things with the NFLPA. That is very much on the radar. If college football goes in the spring, don't be surprised to see the draft in maybe late-May, maybe in June. Again, this is something the NFL wants to make sure it happens. It would be tougher. It might devalue draft picks a little bit because those guys coming in might not be able to contribute right away. But it's all been adjusted in the COVID-19 world, so this is something the NFL is fully willing to deal with."
Of course, it remains to be seen whether or not a spring college football season will even happen. For one, the Big 12, SEC and ACC currently remain intent on playing football this fall, despite the Big Ten and Pac-12's postponements. It also remains unclear whether a spring college football season is even viable, as it would force teams to potentially play two seasons in one calendar year.
Another big question about the spring is whether or not the sport's top players would even participate. And while an adjusted NFL offseason schedule could help alleviate some of those concerns, it's still too soon to know if that will even be necessary.