The new XFL is confident that it can succeed, in large part because of its willingness to take on players who are not yet eligible for the NFL Draft, as ESPN.com’s Kevin Seifert writes. Players who are forced to wait three years until after leaving high school could jump to Vince McMahon‘s football experiment 2.0 to jumpstart their professional career rather than play for free in college while risking injury.
XFL commissioner Oliver Luck estimates that his league will feature somewhere between five and 15 of these players in 2020. To establish a pipeline of young talent, he hopes to work in concert with the NCAA.
“The NCAA would have a pretty good argument,” Luck said, “to be able to say, ‘Hey, you don’t have to go to college to play professional football in the NFL.’ You could spend a year in college and then go to the XFL, and then in a couple of years you could be in the NFL that way.”
From a business perspective, it would be a major boon – the XFL could add players who already have a fan base at a fraction of what they’ll earn at the NFL level. In fact, establishing this pipeline could be the XFL’s only real path to success. Otherwise, the league will have to draw from the outer fringes of the football world to fill out its rosters, which could make it tough for the league to keep fan interest in the long run.
Here’s more from the world of football:
- Speaking of alternative football leagues, Seth Wickersham and Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com took a deep dive into the short-lived Alliance of American Football. The AAF crumbled in the midst of its inaugural season when new investor Tom Dundon decided that the league did not have a path to profitability. As Wickersham and Rothstein write in their must-read investigative piece, the ambitious spring league lacked a common vision among its key figures, resulting in a mess of damaged reputations, bankruptcy, and lawsuits.
- Free agent defensive tackle Tomasi Laulile, who was on the Saints‘ practice squad last season, has been suspended by the NFL for the first two games of the season, veteran NFL reporter Howard Balzer tweets. Laulile re-signed with the club on a reserve/future contract in January, but was waived on May 13.