By Pete Moye’
While it is clear as day that college sports, more specifically football, needs reform, no one quite knows the right answer. Well, I do.
In efforts to satisfy players’ want to be professional, National Collegiate Athletic Association’s desire to uphold academics above all other factors, and the National Football League’s quest for a stable developmental league, I propose such.
Players that are either high school graduates or 18 years of age should be eligible to play in a developmental league.
This league would be a eight-team spring league, one team for every division. Each team in the division would have some rights exclusive rights (first-dibs) to the players on their respective teams. Any team outside of the four-team region would have to wait until they cleared the waiver wire of that division before attempting to sign them.
If players choose to play for this developmental league, they forefeit their right to play college football being that they are no longer amateurs, adhering to current NCAA rules.
Soon-to-be NFL first-rounder Jadaveon Clowney is a prospect many believe could have played in the NBA straight out of a high school is a perfect example of an athlete this system would benefit.
After a dominant freshman campaign, it was clear that he belonged in the NFL. However, due to NFL rules, he was required to stay in college two more years. Following, this past semester, some scouts reported that, at times, he played like he didn’t want to be there.
Well, obviously, because he didn’t.
Allow players like him to just focus on what they really want to do in life and not pretend that they really want to be in college.
Other professions like firefighters don’t require you to do three years at a university, so why should the NFL?
This league would have few restrictions. This league would be restricted to players who are within their first five years in the league. This is to maintain competitive balance and to keep the league geared toward preparing toward the future.
This helps teams financially as well because rather than gamble with spending so much money on a prospect. They could sign him to a lesser deal and hope that he develops quickly and can be moved up.
The NFL could possibly use this as a way to test whether smaller market would be able to house a NFL franchise if there were ever a need for expansion or relocation.
Eight cities that would be good to test this out would be Los Angeles, Oklahoma City, Portland, London, Louisville, Honolulu, San Antonio, and Salt Lake City.
Teams could also use this league to test out international players.
Also rather than making dramatic changes to the league every year, the NFL could use this developemental league as a guinea pig for different rule changes and adaptations.
And after the debacle that was the experimentation of replacement referees during the 2012 referee lockout, it’s clear that the “back-ups” could use some practice before they are promoted.
Benefits include thickening the population of student-athletes that want to be student-athletes. It would rid the debate of whether students should be paid or not because by committing to this league, they’d be able to market themselves and make their own money.
Pete Moye’ is a junior majoring in communication. You may email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.