Oliver Luck

XFL Not Bound By NFL Draft Eligibility Rules

The XFL won’t compete with the NFL for players, but the league could still gain high-end talent by not being obligated to follow the NFL’s draft-eligibility rules, CEO Oliver Luck told ESPN’s Outside the Lines (Tweet by ESPN’s Kevin Seifert). 

The NFL’s draft rules are well known, as any player who wants to put his name in the pool must be at least three years removed from high school. By not adhering to the long-held practice, the upstart league could be an option for any notable freshman or true sophomore who doesn’t want to wait.

It’s hard to fathom a top quarterback testing the waters, but a high-profile running back trying it out to make the most out of a relatively short professional shelf life is much more feasible. It will definitely be an interesting caveat to watch in the coming years.

In more XFL news, WWE chairman Vince McMahon sold more than three million shares of WWE stock in March with the intention to use the proceeds to fund the new football league, Sports Illustrated’s Dan Gartland writes. The sale netted McMahon just under $272MM.

Obviously, with that type of investment, McMahon is not worried about the failures of the AAF, which recently suspended operations. In response to the league’s folding, the XFL issued a statement (Via Pro Football Talk):

“We have said all along the success or failure of other leagues will have no impact on our ability to deliver high-quality, fast-paced, professional football,” the league owned and operating by Vince McMahon said, via Daniel Kaplan of SportsBusiness Journal. “The XFL is well-funded, we have time before kick-off to execute our business plan, and we will soon announce a national broadcast and cable TV schedule that makes it easy for fans to find our games consistently every weekend when we launch next February. There is no doubt that avid football fans want more and we’re excited to get going in 2020.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

XFL Markets Leaked Ahead Of Impending Announcement

The XFL was expected to make an announcement next week about the locations of its inaugural eight teams, which will begin play in 2020. However, the league inadvertently released the information on its website on Saturday, which was captured in a screenshot by WrestleZone.com and posted on Instagram.

The cities captured in the screenshot are Dallas, Houston, St. Louis, Seattle, Los Angeles, New York, Tampa Bay and Washington D.C., and included phone numbers for each franchise. In addition to the markets, the sites for each team began trickling out shortly after the leak.

The Tampa Bay franchise was confirmed by Thomas Bassinger of The Tampa Bay Times, which called the number associated with the team and received a recorded message from XFL commissioner Oliver Luck stating:

“Hello, this XFL commissioner Oliver Luck. Thanks for calling XFL Tampa Bay. We’re excited to call Raymond James Stadium home when the league launches in 2020, and we appreciate your support.”

Raymond James Stadium, of course, is the current home of the Buccaneers, who declined to comment on the situation.

The Washington franchise will reportedly play its games at Audi Field, Rick Maese of the Washington Post writes. As the league is expected to kick off its 10-week schedule in February 2020, the field will serve both football and soccer for a time due to the stadium’s main tenants, MLS franchise D.C. United, beginning their schedule in March.

The Dallas franchise could potentially wind up playing its home games at Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas Rangers beat reporter Evan Grant writes for the Dallas Morning News. The park will host its final game at the end of the 2019 season, leaving it vacant for a potential XFL team for the following February.

The league has declined comment since the leak.

The original XFL operated in 2001, when World Wrestling Entertainment chairman Vince McMahon partnered with NBC to form the league. The broadcast corporation pulled out after one season and the league folded soon after.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: XFL, 2019 draft, Beal, Seahawks, Carroll

For draftniks and hardcore fans of the NFL, it’s never too early to start looking at next year’s draft. That’s why Matt Miller of Bleacher Report recently broke down who NFL scouts see as the best prospects in 2019. Miller noted scouts are busy “building profiles, researching backgrounds and character and talking to college coaches about top players” before he gave an “early look” at the consensus top 10.

Defensive end Nick Bosa, younger brother of Chargers pass-rusher Joey Bosa, unsurprisingly checks in at number one. Bosa has dominated for Ohio State the past two seasons and is almost a lock to turn pro after his upcoming junior season. A scout told Miller, “I love Nick Bosa. I wasn’t 100 percent sure on Joey coming out (stupid me), but I won’t make that mistake twice. He’s the real deal. Excellent instincts and feel for the quarterback as a young rusher.”

It wouldn’t be at all surprising to hear Roger Goodell call Bosa’s name as the number one overall pick in 2019. After you’ve finished checking out the rest of the list, here’s more from around the football world:

  • Many wondered why Oliver Luck would leave his cushy job as an executive with the NCAA for a seemingly risky position as CEO and Commissioner of the upstart XFL. That question has apparently been answered now that it’s been reported Luck was offered a guaranteed $20MM from the XFL over a period of a few years that has a chance to grow to $30MM depending on the success of the league (Twitter link via the Wall Street Journal’s Rachel Bachman).
  • Western Michigan cornerback Sam Beal, who recently announced his intention to enter the NFL’s 2018 Supplemental Draft, will have his Pro Day on June 28th (Twitter link via Ian Rapoport of NFL Network). Rapoport notes that the event “should be well-attended” by scouts. Adam Schefter of ESPN recently tweeted that Beal could be the highest player selected in the Supplemental Draft since the Browns used a second round pick on Josh Gordon in 2012.
  • In a recent column, Albert Breer of SI.com writes that Seahawks coach Pete Carroll is taking a positive view on the departure of a slew of veteran players from his roster saying Carroll views it as “a chance, at age 66, to sell the bedrock of his program—competition—all over again. It got a little hard, as the above core came to prominence, to keep selling the idea that every spot was up for grabs. It’s not so difficult to sell anymore.”