Dan Shanoff has an idea worth trying that’s so sensible it’ll never see the light of day.
If the UFL actually thinks that bringing in Terrelle Pryor alone will juice interest in the largely hapless fledgling football minor league — or if fans actually would have an interest (even passing interest) in the UFL if it did sign a known college star like Pryor — then it makes it all the more obvious what the UFL’s optimal strategy should be:
Undercut the NFL’s draft age-restriction by two years, then recruit star college players after their freshmen and sophomore years directly into the UFL, to spend one or two years getting paid to hone their NFL skills until they are draft-eligible in the NFL.
We’ve been over this before: If the UFL could promise some money and, perhaps more importantly, a full-time focus on maximizing the players’ draft prospects (and, ultimately, their long-term NFL prospects), they could not only bring in the “name” players that would increase interest in the league, but ultimately position itself as a viable development pipeline for NFL talent.
On the surface, it’s a win-win: players who don’t want to be in school get paid (by teams in an existing league with an existing infrastructure, mind you) and it siphons off a considerable amount of pressure on the NCAA’s amateurism standards. The catch, as Shanoff notes, is whether players like Pryor would be enough of a commercial draw to make the concept work. But even if they weren’t, we’d learn something useful about which parties bring value to the table in the world of college football.