New Developmental Football League

The Washington Post has an article about a new developmental football league starting in 2018.

New summer pro football league aims to offer paid alternative to college football

A group of organizers with deep NFL ties plans to launch a new professional football league, with the ambition of giving promising young players an alternative to college football that offers a salary and instruction they feel is lacking in the college game.

Pacific Pro Football aims to begin play in 2018 with four teams based in Southern California. Unlike many other start-up leagues, its talent pool 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 Don Yee, the league's CEO.

It looks like some people want to skirt the issue of compensating student-athletes and just let them join a minor league right out of high school. Interesting that they want to limit the age of players to only college aged. Would this require a change in NFL draft rules?

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Comments

I predict that this goes as well as every other non-NCAA (if any ever existed), non-NFL affiliated league

Keep in mind that the WNBA exists purely on the backs of the NBA, currently. I wouldn't understimate the ability of NFL franchises to eventually bankroll this...

Apples and Oranges. The WNBA is for completely different athletes. It isn't sending its players to the NBA.

Edit:I'm not questioning each NFL franchises' ability to do this, but rather their willingness to do so.

yeah, i don't see nfl owners ponying up a bunch of money to support a developmental league when they have a free one already

The only thing making this a possibility is the fact that the college game is so different than the pro game. I get the feeling that some NFL execs would like the idea of a development league where you learn pro-style offenses and more complex defenses, as it would mean fewer "projects" on the active roster.

I guess it would also depend on whether this league fed into the draft or if teams could sign free agents from a developmental league team they are bankrolling.

The USFL was highly successful until they tried to compete directly with the NFL. They started out having different season set up. They got into a bidding war for players and tried to go too big too soon. The XFL was for NFL washouts. I would be highly interested to watch a league of the best college players, who aren't in college

I actually like this idea... If there's a market for the kids to get paid, let them go and get paid. I think its a bit ridiculous right now that we have this entire multi-billion dollar organization built where everyone except the kids who are actually playing the game are allowed to make some money. Hey, if it becomes successful at all, maybe that would be the catalyst needed for the college players to start making a salary as well.

Though, in the end, I don't see this being successful.

Don't let this comment take away from the fact that Arkansas blew a 24 point 2nd half lead in the Belk Bowl.
Don't let the Belk Bowl take away from the fact that Matt Ryan blew a 25 point 2nd half lead in the Super Bowl.

That's great until you have a bunch of 22 year old kids who didn't make it to the league and have no real job skills or college education. Maybe then they'd wish they had that $50,000+ piece of paper.

I'm hesitant to turn this into a pay-for-play conversation but it's not like a full ride to a college education, room & board, access to full time dieticians and training staff, and per diem when traveling has no monetary value. Obviously it's no where near what the schools make, but it's not like they are playing for free.

But, depending on how much they get paid, they could still go to college after spending 4 years in this league. Maybe they can take some real classes as well.

"I am awfully proud of the way our team played, the way they prepared, and, ultimately the way they believed."

There are a lot of students playing football in colleges now that would not be at that school otherwise. A developmental league that destroys their amateur status would probably not seeing them go to college at all.

what if the developmental league was structured such that they could take college courses and the league would subsidize their tuition. They wouldn't play under the umbrella of the NCAA and the colleges don't care what you do for a living while working your way through school...

Could be a good reason to do it in SoCal, lots of colleges that may be willing to partner for something like that.

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According to the link in the original post, one of the benefits offered to all players will be free tuition and books to a local community college. There will be no academic requirement but they will recommend that all the players take advantage of it. Small potatoes, but certainly a start, since even an associates' degree is much better than just a high school diploma in this day and age.

Skimmed right over that. Thanks for pointing it out.

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Didn't follow the link, but that is a great advantage for the players that DO want to improve themselves.

Mark Cuban proposed something similar for the NBA's D-League a couple years ago:

[H]e envisions the NBA working with nearby universities to provide straight-out-of-high school players an opportunity to pursue a college education while playing in the D-League.

Cuban suggests guaranteeing college tuition for such players, whether or not they pan out as NBA prospects, as an incentive.

http://www.espn.com/dallas/nba/story/_/id/10538276/mark-cuban-says-nba-d...

And perhaps attend a school that is academically appropriate vs. the one with the football program they liked.

"Those who jump into the void owe no explanation to those who stand and watch."
--unknown

The majority of Americans don't have degrees. It's not the place of football to ensure people get educations, it's to entertain us. Are we really to believe that many college football players may not actually be particularly interested in higher education? And it's not like most of those in that subset get degrees that would be particularly useful. How many communications, kinesiology, and sociology degrees does the economy really have room for anyway?

This is not a dig on football players. Most truly do want the educational rewards of an athletic scholarship, and athletics is a means, sometimes the only means, to achieve their educational goals. But the system has been set up so that many of them are only in school because it's a required step to go pro. This drains resources from the university and costs a great deal of money, all for individuals who may not have chosen that route if given an actual option. College is not for everyone, and creating an alternative football option seems like the best solution all around. Of course, colleges will hate that, because if it's successful, the best players won't necessarily choose college ball, and schools will be forced back to fielding actual amateur teams. Probably also lose a large chunk of money too, and let's not pretend that that's what athletic departments care most about.

Hey, if it becomes successful at all, maybe that would be the catalyst needed for the college players to start making a salary as well.

Actually, I think the opposite would be true. If this D-League succeeds, it'll take away one of the key arguments in favor of paying college players better: that they have no other options if they want to play football. If you think your services are worth more than the tuition, room, board, coaching, training and stipend that a college wants to pay you, then you can go play in the D-League. College would no longer be the only option for a young man with NFL aspirations.

“You got one guy going boom, one guy going whack, and one guy not getting in the endzone.”
― John Madden (describing VT's offense?)

Well that's why I think it would be the catalyst. If it worked and there actually were other legitimate options for players out of high school to pursue other than college football to get prepared for the NFL that starts siphoning off the best players, you know the NCAA will adjust to attract those players to stick with college.

It is my opinion the only reason that players aren't paid now is because they don't have to in order to keep the level of competition high. They hold a monopoly on football players aged 18-21. Once that is disrupted, things will change fast.

Don't let this comment take away from the fact that Arkansas blew a 24 point 2nd half lead in the Belk Bowl.
Don't let the Belk Bowl take away from the fact that Matt Ryan blew a 25 point 2nd half lead in the Super Bowl.

This is true. As soon as the establishment is threatened they will adjust. They certainly have more money than any "developmental league" could muster up, between the boosters and the eyes on TV, so when they inevitably make that transition they'll certainly price such a league out of business..

Itll be like going to UNC minus the money

‘Boy, wake up, we’re going over the mountain,’ and that was code for we’re going to watch Virginia Tech play football today,'

nah, a degree there will actually be meaningful

I don't know. They'd probably go there to play football, and not to play school...

HTHokie93

Unless they offer 3 year contracts I don't see any kid giving up college eligibility when they need to wait 3 years for the NFL anyway.

Although I'm glad the NFL is doing something to address the terrible QB play in the NFL instead of whining that college isn't developing them right for free.

Unless they offer 3 year contracts I don't see any kid giving up college eligibility when they need to wait 3 years for the NFL anyway.

My guess is that the target participant wouldn't be playing in college to begin with due to academics. I can't see the pay there as being any more than the dollar value of a scholarship.

http://www.sbnation.com/2016/12/22/14065006/nfl-spring-developmental-lea...

So lots of football this year.

As first reported by SirusXM NFL Radio, a spring league will be started in April 2017 that will have four teams of veteran free agent players. It will also conduct practices and six games from April 5 through April 26.

Players that are currently on NFL rosters won't be eligible to play in the spring league.

According to ProFootballTalk, the league is not an NFL production, which the league also later confirmed to PFT. It "is being operated by the same individual that ran the FXFL." A memo sent to NFL teams also says that a failure to comply with normal procedures when signing a player in another league "will be deemed conduct detrimental and will subject the offending club, and the responsible club employee(s), to discipline."

The league will be headquartered at The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia.

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

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The league will be headquartered at The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia.

Stop, stop, you already lost my interest.

Obvious question: How will this affect our pursuit/progression of achieving a National Championship win?

#FUENTEenFUEGO
Waho's suck
Uva swallows

Outspoken team cake advocate. Hates terrapins. Resident Macho Man Gif Poster. Distant cousin to Dork Magic.

In terms of recruiting.

#FUENTEenFUEGO
Waho's suck
Uva swallows

If they heavily recruit 3* and 4* recruits from the Mid-Atlantic region we're fucked.

Outspoken team cake advocate. Hates terrapins. Resident Macho Man Gif Poster. Distant cousin to Dork Magic.

I'm imagining that they're going to be going after those athletes that just can't make the cut academically, even by SEC and MAC standards.

I know. I thought I had put enough /s in my last post. It'll be the guys that would go for JUCO or a prep year go there instead. Interestingly enough though, I think that kills any college eligibility they have as they would be paid for their time there, thus basically eliminating their option to get a scholarship and work on a degree.

Outspoken team cake advocate. Hates terrapins. Resident Macho Man Gif Poster. Distant cousin to Dork Magic.

I don't know if that'd remain the case. Getting paid immediately with the opportunity to realize the NFL dream (however they offer the carrot) could really impact CFB recruiting. If it proves out that players actually are making it into NFL contracts, I could easily see the CFB recruiting landscape change drastically, with elite talent going straight for the paycheck and possible NFL afterwards.

On the flip side, the starter league would need to develop to the point that the NFL draft is confident in the players' readiness to perform at the next level. NCAAF is an a pretty comprehensive testing ground for that already.

HTHokie93

NCAAF is an a pretty comprehensive testing ground for that already.

As others have noted, there are key holes that the NFL would benefit by filling with another entity. At the college level, you can have relative success that does not translate to the NFL. GT, for instance, won the ACC playing 1940's era football. Tim Tebow won the Heisman, but didn't translate into an NFL quality QB. Our very own Jake Grove was a highly lauded college lineman, but admits to needing years of development before he could be a good NFL lineman.

In short, a league tailored to playing and training how the NFL does could serve to produce more "ready for prime time" players at lower expense to the NFL than is currently spent trying to transition top college talent to the League.

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Sounds like a potential game-changer either way.

HTHokie93

All I know is that we're definitely losing Drew Harris to this league

The only way I see this surviving is if it partners with the NFL - like the NBA D league or minor league baseball. If not, I suspect it will be like Arena football or one of the other regional leagues.

"I really miss the XFL" - No One Ever

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But where else can i go to see guys with "he hate me" on their jerseys???

Man it still sucks that the Panthers lost the 2003 Super Bowl. Not because they lost, and not because that would have meant the Patriots didn't win (both of which are great reasons in their own right)... No, because I wanted a He Hate Me Super Bowl Champions shirt

Don't let this comment take away from the fact that Arkansas blew a 24 point 2nd half lead in the Belk Bowl.
Don't let the Belk Bowl take away from the fact that Matt Ryan blew a 25 point 2nd half lead in the Super Bowl.

hahaha, man that would've been glorious.

Saw a NFL commish blurb on this a few months ago. My gut reaction is that it would be good. Remove the top 2% of the kids and Alabama/anOSU can't field a team.

I guess I am thinking that maybe the top kids are easiest to identify?

.

I'd rather be at the Rivah.

Gif'r done!

I doubt you see the elite kids going there unless there is a compelling academics reason. The level of competition, visibility and coaching aren't going to be anywhere near what they would get from one of the top level colleges. In addition, they completely miss out on the college experience.

- or a compelling financial reason. Wonder what the pay would be?

.

I'd rather be at the Rivah.

Gif'r done!

I still don't know if that will happen though. We've seen how important family can be in this decision, and I'd be shocked if that many mothers were fine with their sons skipping college with no NFL promise. If these developmental leagues shake to the point where 75-80% of players go pro, I could see it being a thing.

Outspoken team cake advocate. Hates terrapins. Resident Macho Man Gif Poster. Distant cousin to Dork Magic.

I could actually see this taking off.
1. The board has names that bring legitimacy to it. Mike Shanahan to name one.
2. The timing seems to be more favorable this go around, players seem more in tune to any kind of sales pitch that pivots the alternative (college) is exploiting their efforts. Make $50,000 a year working only on football or go to college and make nothing ie. Cardale Jones.
3. The structure seems to be setup differently than past failures by limiting it only to college aged kids and not allowing those who were cut by the NFL.

The part of the article I found really interesting and might hurt JC, is how they talked about a guy looking to transfer 4 year schools and needs to sit out a year. They could go this league route rather than JUCO and have, as they advertise, 'better' coaching.

Your right I misread it:

"I think this is a unique experience for these young men," Shanahan said. "Maybe we're talking about a guy who for some reason didn't make grades or maybe he was at a position with competition and rather than transfer to another school and sit out a year, he now has this option. Or maybe a guy just wants to spend more time with football than he's currently allowed."

Going this route instead of going back to college...still would be interesting if it takes off.

it's true. I mean, how many graduate transfers look for the best school to showcase their talents as an audition for the NFL. These guys aren't looking for a grad degree, actually. I'm sure they would rather get paid to play somewhere IF they could guarantee the same level of exposure (big stinking IF, I know).

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This I'm fine with. I'm not a fan of them grabbing kids right out of high school. I think it would be setting them up for failure if they didn't make it to the NFL.

They need to follow the MLB model as their minor league system is ridiculously successful

I can imagine no more rewarding a career. And any man who may be asked in this century what he did to make his life worthwhile, I think can respond with a good deal of pride and satisfaction:
“I served in the United States Navy"

KCCO

I like this idea as well. Let the NFL draft a kid right out of high school and offer him a contract with the stipulation that they have to play in the D-League for 3 years before they can go pro. If the player doesn't like the contract they can choose to go the college route. Could put the teams in smaller cities to expand the NFL footprint which I think the owners would love.

Come to Blacksburg and see what the Hokie Pokie is really all about

It's successful as long as your not a player making below minimum wage.

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

Join us in the Key Players Club

This feels overdue. No idea if it will succeed but it's a widely held belief that the current NCAA system makes a load off of unpaid athletes. I love my VT football, but am okay with CFB getting diluted and eventually replaced for something that's more fair to the players.

So XFL part 2?

I believe that Don Yee is currently Tom Brady's agent so at least they have people with a solid track record running the show.

I probably would have chosen Texas over California to set this up, but I'm sure there are variables in play that I'm not aware of.

I doubt this will be successful but I am rooting for it. There are several kid playing college football that come from impoverished background and making 50-75k/year would go a long way. Also, if it's successful, it may help to clean up the "bagman" element of college football...I say may, as dipshit boosters would still pony up $200-300k/year for the next Cam Newton to come to their alma mater.

My friend who is another Hokie was part owner in a minor league team in California. The league was a joke and eventually folded.

These leagues try to pop up, but they rarely succeed. It's really tough to compete with a university with a ton of bueatiful facilities and equipment and the national televised games.

Most kids will go to school and the others will go to Juco.

What's
Important
Now

Most kids will go to school and the others will go to Juco.

I like your subtle implication that junior colleges aren't schools. /s

The Orange and Maroon you see, that's fighting on to victory.

Most kids will go to schools with football teams and the others will go to LOLUVa.

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Didn't mean it like that. Great football players want to play for great Universities. JUCO players are just there to get their grades up to be recruited by a great University.

What's
Important
Now

We'll finally see that nearly all of these players have little to no intrinsic value at that age and that the real value lies in the college jersey and helmet they wear.

However I don't think this idea goes far for precisely these same reasons.

Bingo. However I think you're spot on.

One of the key benefits that many drafted by MLB have built into contracts to entice them to sign rather than go to or stay in college is a guarantee of funds for college expenses during or after their baseball playing time. They have to offer something to balance out the minute amount of money most minor leaguers make. Believe last time I looked the average AAA salary for baseball is around $18K a year. For the higher draft picks this is offset with signing bonuses. One big difference here is that baseball is much easier to project success than football when evaluating high school time.

Most minor leaguers are forced to have second out of season jobs to survive, some of those also benefit from free room and board that is arranged by their team either by finding them "foster" homes or in the case of a few, the team either builds or buys what amounts to a motel building to provide room and board.

Few issues I see with this proposed league is the cost if they are estimating paying kids $50k annually. With a 53 man roster that would be $2.65M in just players salary, not including coaches, trainers, equipment, facilities, and other costs. How does a league like this recoup that kind of money? Especially since they likely won't own the facility they are playing in.

Next, how many games will these players be playing in per season? Partly gets back to cost recoup, but also gets into the talent development aspect and making these kids NFL ready. 4 teams? Do they play each team four times? Five times?

What sort of injury program does the league provide? Even the NFL struggles with taking care of players with billions available.

Does the league recoup compensation by way of placement in the NFL with transfer fees? Do agents get involved by compensating the league and then recover those costs from their clients NFL contracts?

How are eligible players evaluated by the NFL? Same combine as those from college? A second combine? Not at all other than scouts at their facilities?

There is talk of the NFL funding this. They tried that with NFL Europe. It failed miserably and estimates from back then was that league cost owners almost a billion dollars. What motivation do they have to put that kind of money at risk again?

Even if they did look at it, how would the cities be selected? What impact to the NFL franchise if they take away ticket sales, merchandise sales, etc from the NFL to support their new local team?

I could probably go on but it's dinner time and would be better off making faces at my kids to get them to eat rather than invest much more into something that has a small success chance considering how these leagues have come and go over the years.

On a brighter note, the Washington Valor start playing in the Arena Football League this year so that should be fun to follow. http://www.washingtonvalor.com

One big difference here is that baseball is much easier to project success than football when evaluating high school time.

I cannot agree. I have 6-7 experiences where the baseball guy was a no miss. Only 1 was a sure shot to the show that made it.

This can go if the owners get behind it.

Where is Click?!

Do the AFL and CFL have the same restrictions on joining as the NFL (three years out of high school)? If so, there might be a legitimate market for this league as an NCAA alternative. If not, I don't see how they're gonna convince kids to skip college and get paid when they already skip the other leagues.