Could a PUP list be an assortment of baby doggies selected for a canine beauty pageant? Of course not. If the meaning of the word PUP was even remotely related to our furry friends, then it wouldn’t make it onto the Sportsocratic “What is it… ?” page.
It’s an acronym, of course
As you might have guessed, PUP is an acronym. As we know, Americans love acronyms. American sports administrators and coaches especially love acronyms. So, lets start off with pointing out that PUP is an American sporting term. But what does it mean?
Well I am going to have a crack at explaining it, but, in truth, I am not one hundred percent sure on the details of what PUP means myself so forgive me if the explanation only partially clarifies the matter.
Americans not only love acronyms, they also love rules (and they love rules in sport even more) and the rules that govern PUP lists and reveal the meaning of the term are so detailed and complex that I am not even sure that the sport administrators who use PUP lists fully understand them. My layman’s run down of what a PUP list is and how it is used follows.
US Football officials love rules… and acronyms
The acronym PUP stands for Physically Unable to Perform (play or practice). A professional American (AFL) football team can maintain (in the rules) a roster of 53 players. If a player injures himself prior to the football season he can be placed on a PUP list during pre-season training without being counted as part of the team’s 53-man roster. While on a PUP list the player can attend team meetings and work out at team facilities but he may not participate in any team practice at all without being returned to the active 53-man roster.
It’s a lot more complicated than that, of course. Players can be designated as inactive, active, IR, PUP (regular season), PUP (pre-season) or even NFI but if you want a detailed explanation, go check out Wikipedia. For our purposes its sufficient to say that a PUP list is a way of keeping a player on a team without impacting the approved size of the team’s roster. Got that? Not sure that I have.