Earlier this year, it was announced that a new football league would be debut during the summer of 2018.
This is a big deal.
This new league would not be competing with the NFL’s stranglehold on Professional Football, but the NCAA’s. The Pacific Pro Football League is a new unique path that college age players can take to reach their goals of playing in the NFL.
Unlike basketball or baseball, American football players only have one way of getting selected to an NFL team, which is to play at least three years in college. We have seen many instances where top high school basketball players forgo their college careers and seek paid playing opportunities overseas. Or top baseball players, who can even be drafted in high school.
Due to the physical nature of the sport, top high school football players put themselves at risk of being injured in college before they can make any money in the professional ranks (if they make it that far).
Don Yee, who is also Tom Brady’s agent, created the Pac Pro Football League so college aged players can make a salary right out of high school while honing their skills and perfecting their craft. The league will be consisted of four teams (50 player roster on each), based in Southern California, and will pay it’s players an average salary of $50,000 to play eight games. After three years once a player is eligible, he may enter the NFL draft.
What I find interesting is that the Pac Pro league plans to be very player based. To reduce injury, some unsafe aspects will be taken out of games, such as kickoff returns. The league also plans to provide players with community college tuition, money for textbooks, and vocational training, so players have more than football to fall back on when their careers are over. According to the NFL Players Association, the average NFL career is about 3.3 years.
Now, from what I understand, neither NFL nor the NCAA has anything to do with the organizational structure of the Pac Pro Football League. It will be interesting to see how they both handle an outside entity stepping in on their territory. I have always believed that the NCAA had too much authority, especially in football. The Pac Pro League breaks up their monopoly and gives players another option to follow their dreams. My only concern is player forfeiting their amateur status by receiving payment. What if they still would like to play at the school of their dreams eventually? Playing in this league would mean they couldn’t.
This will be something to think about as players move forward after their high school careers are complete.
However, for the players who need to support their families, who may already have children, or who live in unsafe environments, this may be a no-brainer. For this reason, I also feel the Pac Pro League will be able to steal some of the best high school talent the country has because they have the option to make a salary while getting coached by former NFL and Division 1 coaches.
Still not convinced? Just watch an NFL draft and hear the stories of many of the nation’s top players who are downright poor seconds before their name is called. I predict the Pac Pro League will produce highly touted NFL players when it is all said and done. Only time will tell.
Malcom X. Bowser is a writer, curator, and founder of Urban X.