By Tom Behrens, firstname.lastname@example.org
Clayton said the fledgling league in California is doing basically what baseball does, what hockey does, and what basketball used to do.
Unlike previous pro leagues that have taken direct aim at the NFL — the USFL and the XFL — Pacific Pro Football has the college game in its crosshairs. Led by Don Yee, Tom Brady’s longtime agent, the league offers an alternative to the NCAA for high school graduates hoping to prepare for the NFL — and they will get paid to do so.
“For the first time, the players and families will have a professional option, and one that includes benefits,” Pac Pro COO Bradley T. Edwards said. “Most importantly, players will have an option to participate in a league that plays professional football, which is a very different game than amateur football.”
Currently, athletes must wait until they are three years removed from high school before entering the NFL. And if they want to keep their skills sharp during that time, college football is pretty much the only game in town.
The NCAA allows these athletes to receive a scholarship from the universities they attend, but as ‘amateurs,’ they cannot receive a salary or stipend of any kind. Nor can they market themselves or profit from their athletic skill.
Pacific Pro Football is planning to pay its athletes an annual salary of $50,000, along with paid tuition at local community colleges. The league will feature four teams based in Southern California, each with 50 players, and they will play eight games “under professional football rules, protocols and style,” according to a statement sent out by the league.
“I’m not saying I’m for it; I don’t have an opinion yet,” said Clayton, “but I know there are kids that come out of high school sports that probably aren’t college material, just like they’re some kids in regular education in high school that aren’t are not college material.
I can see where someone says these kids are really good, this is their talent. Academics are not they’re talent; they struggle with that. This league gives them a chance to display their talent; that’s the framework that the league is falling under.”