Analysis: Picking the 2020 class for College Football Hall of Fame

A glance at the list of candidates eligible for selection to the College Football Hall of Fame is likely to produce the following reaction: How is that guy not in yet?

Heisman Trophy winners Rashaan Salaam, Carson Palmer and Eric Crouch are still waiting.

The late Jerome Brown, an anchor on some of Miami’s best teams in the late 1980s, is not in the Hall of Fame — almost 30 years after his death.

Eric Dickerson, half of SMU’s famed Pony Express backfield, is not in yet.

Can that be right?

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The National Football Foundation, which administers Hall of Fame selection, emailed on Monday a ballot to its more than 12,000 members and current hall of famers that includes 76 former major-college stars, another nearly 100 former players who played outside the highest level of Division I and a handful of coaches. The complete list. Members can vote for up to 12 players and two coaches. Results of the voting are given to the NFF’s honors court, headed by two-time Heisman winner Archie Griffin, which makes the final selections.

To be considered, a player must have been a first-team All-America by one of the organizations recognized by the NCAA, such as the AP, The Sporting News or Football Writers of Association of America. The sheer volume of college football players who meet this qualification makes it impossible for the hall to induct worthy candidates in a timely fashion. Players become eligible 10 years after their college careers end and when they are done playing professionally.

There are some unwritten rules. No more than one player from a school per class. Generally, the NFF avoids having a school represented in two straight classes. That eliminates a bunch of players whose schools were represented last year such as Palmer, Texas defensive tackle Kenneth Sims, Notre Dame offensive tackle Aaron Taylor and Oklahoma safety Roy Williams. There is also a character clause, which is a bit nebulous.

The AP’s picks for the class of 2020 includes 12 major-college football players, one from outside the highest-level of Division I and two coaches.