The Buccaneers selected Auburn running back Bo Jackson with the first overall pick in 1986 andoffered him a five-year, $7.6 million contract … which he declined, just as he told Tampa he would do. Jackson insteadaccepted a three-year, $1.067 million deal with MLB’sKansas City Royals.
Jackson had grownupset with Bucs owner Hugh Culverhouse, who invited the running back to take a trip to Tampa on the owner’s plane.When Jackson returned to Auburn, he found out the visit cost him NCAA eligibilityfor baseball season.
“I was (already) thinking about not going to Tampa Bay,” Jackson saidin the ESPN film “You Don’t Know Bo.””This — because the officials at Tampa Bay told me personally, ‘yes, we checked it, (the NCAA)said that it was OK,’ — I think it was all a plot to get me ineligible from baseball because they saw the season that I was having, and they thought that they were going lose me to baseball. (They thought) ‘If we get him declared ineligible, then we got him.’
“I told Hugh Culverhouse, ‘You draft me if you want, you’re going to waste a draft pick.’ I said, ‘I promise you that.'”
Jackson, while playing for the Royals, re-entered the draft the following year and was selected by the Raiders in the seventh round.