New Football League with NFL Heavy Hitters, Offers Paid Alternative for College Players

The debate about whether or not college athletes should be paid continues to grow.  College football is a major sport; the coaches receive millions, the schools even more, but the players could have their eligibility destroyed if they even sell their own signature.  When preparing for the NFL, sitting out for any period of time is a huge no-no, so what are the players who really need money or were disqualified because of one of the NCAA’s many ridiculous rules supposed to do? A group of organizers with deep NFL ties are putting together a new league to offer an alternative.

Pacific Pro Football aims to begin play in 2018 with four teams based in Southern California.  The league was co-founded by Don Yee, Tom Brady’s longtime agent, Ed McCaffrey, a former NFL wide receiver, and Jeff Husvar, a former Fox Sports executive. Its advisory board includes former NFL coach Mike Shanahan; Mike Pereira, the league’s former officiating czar; ESPN reporter Adam Schefter; Jim Steeg, a longtime NFL executive; and veteran political strategist Steve Schmidt.

These are heavy hitters from the NFL who hope to make this league successful and different from others that have tried in the past.  The XFL, United Football League, and others used players who were cut from the NFL.  That system didn’t bode well with viewership, which is a key component in the league’s success.

“Who really wants to watch a league filled with guys who’ve been cut?” said Shanahan.

The Pacific Pro Football league will be limited to athletes who are less than four years removed from high school graduation.  The goal is to give young prospects a professional outlet to prepare for the NFL, said Yee, the league’s CEO.  This league hopes to better prepare players with the same rules, systems, and style as the NFL, which college football doesn’t exactly provide.

All teams will be owned by the league, and the average player salary will be $50,000, Yee said.  The league will initially play a six-to-eight-game season that runs through July and August, concluding just before the NFL and college seasons begin.

The new league hopes to eventually attract the most talented high school graduates possible, but officials expect to initially rely heavily on junior college players or those who have already played a year or two in college football.

Obviously, the success of this league depends on the type of talent they can get.  Although players clearly want to get paid, there’s a huge allure in playing college football.  The sport is watched by millions of people; winning a Heisman trophy, and a national championship is something almost every player aspires to.  For instance, with basketball, Brandon Jennings decided to play overseas before the NBA rather than college ball; this isn’t a road that’s often taken.  Aside from the distance of overseas, many players know that college is the place to be seen, plus the experience of it all.  LeBron James went straight from high school to the NBA but has mentioned how he would like to get the college experience.

Despite all that, the Pacific Pro Football league is definitely something that should exist.  Players should have the option to get paid for their talents and not have everyone else around them profiting while they starve.  As Yee pointed out, almost every other sport provided an outlet for younger athletes to pursue a professional path except for football.

“So in conceiving this idea, it felt like this was the right time to try this venture and to give a lot of developing talent a different option, if that’s what they would like to do,” said Yee.

source: Washington Post