To become a professional football player in America today, the same route has almost always been taken. After a player graduates high school, he then moves on to play three or four years of football in college, and then he takes his shot at making it into the NFL.
But what if someone does not want to go to school for three more years of their life after high school yet still wants to play professional football? Well there has never truly been a realistic alternative for someone to choose from if they had no desire to play football in college.
At least until now.
Recently, a developmental football league known as Pacific Pro Football was formed in an effort to give high school athletes another option before making an attempt at playing in the NFL. The founders of the league consists of a former NFL head coach in Mike Shanahan, a former NFL player in Ed McCaffery (also the father of Stanford star running back Christian McCaffery), and a veteran sports agent in Donald Yee.
The league is scheduled to launch in 2018 and will only be made up of four teams and each squad will be allowed to have 50 players on their rosters. They will play eight games per year from July to August, ending just in time for some players to get a shot in training camp with an NFL team.
But here is what could keep this league above water for much longer than the semi-pro football leagues of years past.
Each player will be awarded $50,000 per season, including full worker’s comp, and players can tryout for the league right after their last year of high school. Even if they played a year or two of college ball and wanted another option, they would still be eligible to try out for Pacific Pro Football.
The league will emphasize getting its players ready for the professional level as everyone on the roster will get an opportunity to display their talents out on the field.
For most of those who have attended a college or university, the end goal is to land a job soon after graduating. But to have an opportunity to get paid $50,000 straight out of high school may be an offer that some athletes just would not be able to turn down.
If this league is able to pan out and last for a number of years, it could change the landscape college football as it is known today.
Instead of sitting in class and doing homework while attending a powerhouse school such as the University of Alabama, a big-time recruit could instead decide to play for Pacific Pro Football and only work for two months out of the year.
For 18-year-old kids, it seems like choosing between immediately making money playing football or doing homework for another three years of their life is a no brainer.
College football programs may want to take notice before it is too late, as more actions are being taken to threaten the million dollar money factory that it has turned into today.