NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has sent a memo to all 32 teams threatening ``significant discipline'' to anyone caught leaking confidential information gathered on draft prospects to the public.
The Associated Press obtained the memo, which was sent on Wednesday night after reports that LSU defensive back Morris Claiborne allegedly scored poorly on the Wonderlic test. The exam is used by NFL teams to try to gauge a prospect's intelligence, problem-solving ability and cognitive skills.
League rules prohibit officials from disclosing the results, but scores have routinely been leaked for years, both of the very poor and very high variety.
In his memo, Goodell stresses that Wonderlic scores, personal and family histories and drug tests are to be kept strictly confidential.
``You should be reminded that disclosure of inappropriate private or confidential information concerning draft-eligible players is conduct detrimental to the league and will be met with significant discipline when a violation can be established,'' Goodell wrote.
Much of the information is collected at the annual combine in February. But every year, as the draft gets closer, some teams and officials leak certain information in part to possibly influence how the draft plays out. A poor Wonderlic score or a failed drug test could significantly hurt a player's stock and change the perception of that player with the fan base of the team that chooses him.
``Bear in mind that the publicly-disclosed information is frequently inaccurate, incomplete or misleading, and often results from an effort of an individual to advance a self-interested goal,'' Goodell wrote.
``What is lost in the pursuit of that goal is concern for the reputation and well-being of the young men who have worked so hard to reach their own goal of becoming an NFL player and concern for the reputation of the NFL and our game.''
The first round of the NFL draft will be held this year on Thursday, April 26, with the draft continuing through Friday and Saturday. Now that the calendar has turned to April, the smokescreens, negotiations and subterfuge are only expected to heat up.
The players' union, players and some agents have been irked by the lack of discretion in the past, which can be difficult to police. Goodell felt it necessary to send a reminder of the rules that are in place.
``Disclosing this confidential information about draft-eligible players to the public can be extremely damaging to players, clubs, and the league,'' he wrote.