On this date in 1922, representatives from the twenty teams of the American Professional Football Association met in Ohio. They approved two rule changes that would change the face of the sport forever. The first dispelled with the APFA name and replaced it with the title we know today: the National Football League. The second decision was perhaps even more significant, as the newly-christened NFL decided to take a strong stance against paying college football players. Teams faced a $1,000 fine (about $14,000 in 2015 dollars) for a first offense and expulsion from the league for a second, and college athletes who used fake names to play professionally on the side would be banned from the league permanently.
At the time, that was a fairly bold decision by a fledgling organization that didn't have nearly the name recognition or popularity of college football. It would have been understandable - and shrewd - had the NFL decided to discourage this practice publicly without giving teeth to enforcing the rule. Without the infrastructure or history to claim it had the highest level of football in the country, the NFL was arguably benefitting from slightly shady arrangements that put college players onto pro rosters, even temporarily.
So why'd they shut this down? Was it respect for the sanctity of amateurism? Did the NFL fear the wrath of college football powerhouses, angry that their valued players had been exposed to possible injury? Was the NFL just trying to do what it thought was the right thing?
Well, yeah. Once Purdue gets into the drywall, you're screwed.