“You’ve got all day to spend with football.”

Meet the Pacific Pro Football League, the latest attempt to come up with a new professional football league that attempts to fill in the gaps between college and the NFL.

The plan: Four teams based in Southern California, each playing an eight-game schedule on Sundays during the sports dead zone of July and August. Roughly 50 players per team making an average salary and benefits package of $50,000 a year, which they’d be free to supplement with endorsements. Rules tweaked to enhance safety and give NFL scouts matchups they want to see. Coaches with NFL experience, who would teach pro-style schemes in an immersive environment unbound by rules regarding classroom time. Any player four years or fewer removed from high school would be eligible, including college underclassmen who’d entered the NFL draft.

Numerous minor leagues have tried and failed in recent years to expand the American pro football landscape by relying on players who’d missed the NFL cut, which inevitably limited the potential for creating a compelling consumer product. Money has been a common problem, too, and remains a central question here. Don Yee, a veteran NFL agent who is CEO and principal founder of “Pac Pro”, says the league has received angel financing from family and friends and he has met with a potential investor, as well as media distributors. But there is a lot of work to be done. There’s no endorsement or backing from the NFL or its players’ union.

What makes the concept intriguing is it targets a previously untapped talent base: players who currently have no option to play for pay because the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement bars them from the league…

The interesting thing about this business model is that it isn’t really directed at the college football superstar, or sure NFL prospect.

… But like minor league baseball or junior hockey, Pac Pro would be an option for players who either can’t or choose not to play on college scholarships, some of them straight out of high school. Think academic non-qualifiers, juco players paying their own way, players with urgent need to provide for their families, those transitioning from another sport, those who would have to sit out a year under transfer rules, those who have been dismissed from a college program, those who simply want a different path – perhaps, eventually, some top college players who want to start cashing checks and use the league as a sort of football graduate program.

“You’ve got all day to spend with football,” said former NFL coach Mike Shanahan, who’s on the league’s advisory board.

If players want to attend school, the summer schedule wouldn’t interfere and there’d be an option to receive one year’s tuition and books at a community college.

I can see how somebody like a typical SEC coach who skims off the best JUCO talent every year to touch up a roster wouldn’t be happy to see this kind of league come to fruition, because every kid who takes up the offer can never play college ball again.  (It would also have the potential to cripple every Second Chance U program out there.)

What’s interesting is that there appears to be a lot of serious names attached to it.  Whether that equates to serious money is the rub, though.  It would seem to me that if this isn’t sufficiently capitalized, it’ll be hard to sway kids from giving up their amateur status before they’re eligible to sign with an NFL team.

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13 Comments

Filed under It's Just Bidness

13 responses to ““You’ve got all day to spend with football.”

  1. Gaskilldawg

    The comment is just too easy….Will it pay more than Ole Miss?

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  2. Jason

    … on vacation.

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  3. Alkaline

    I could see this being very appealing to a lot of young men who are getting scholarship offers from FCS and Group-of-5 type schools. If I was being offered a $50,000 compensation package to play football prior to being eligible for the NFL draft, I think I would rather do that for cash money instead of free tuition (and without worrying about the NCAA’s compliance officers).

    Will the sponsors and fans support such a business model, though? …If the high TV ratings for all of the bowl games between terrible teams indicate anything, then I bet they can scrape some cash together for this somehow.

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    • Puffdawg

      Foregoing a college education ANYWHERE in lieu of the Pac Pro would be a really dumb decision, in my opinion. The majority of guys DON’T make the pros. Then what? At last you’ve got that Pac Pro certificate of completion to take in to job interviews. Also consider you can make the pros from anywhere, even places as “small time” as NDSU.

      Just doesn’t make sense at all to me.

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      • Alkaline

        My line of thinking for a typical player: You play in the Pac Pro for 2-3 seasons until it becomes obvious your skill-level isn’t going to translate to the next level (as is the case for most NCAA players, also). If you took advantage of the free community college offer while you were playing, then you’re set to consider your career options more maturely and either transfer elsewhere as a sophomore or complete your certificate program at the inexpensive community college you’ve been attending. Plus, since you were a paid player you’ve got a few thousand dollars saved up and some business connections in local markets. (And I bet a few NAIA schools wouldn’t mind having your expertise around while you work on your degree, if you still want that route.)

        I’m not saying it will work for everybody, but I think it could be a good alternative to the current so-called “student” athlete model.

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      • DawgPhan

        There is nothing wrong with pursuing a trade out of high school instead of heading straight to college.

        If the trade doesnt work out, college is still an option. If you take a couple classes while doing it, all the better.

        This seems like a great option to have.

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  4. Where will the Barn now find their thief QBs on the rebound?

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  5. Dawgflan

    In my “ruler for a day” scenario, make admission requirements for college athletes at power 5 schools the same as for the music, art, dance, legacy, and similar categories, meaning you flex a bit to bring in culture, divirsity, and value to the school, but they are still with a standard deviation of the gen pop.

    If a high school kid is a good enough student to succeed academically in college, a degree is the way to go. And if they can turn pro before getting one, more power to them.

    All the other schools that lose money on football but want it as a value add for student and alumni experience should outsource their football operations to a league similar to the one outlined in the article. Just like any other entertainment a school brings to campus. Use athletes that don’t want or can’t be students, and let them use the school’s facilities, but the league pays them, coordinates a regular season, and has their own playoffs.

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  6. The 984

    Without a television contract, this will fail. Have to have the television money to keep afloat.

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  7. doofusdawg

    Maybe the players can unionize and demand academic classes.

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  8. South FL Dawg

    I like it. If somebody really wanted to get a college degree but they need the money, just take some of the $50K for playing and use it to pay tuition at an instate program. What they don’t get is the facilities and the college experience. If somebody doesn’t care about college at all, then fine. Either way it’s their choice how to spend the money.

    This route and the traditional college route are 2 very different things. It makes sense; one size rarely fits all.

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  9. Macallanlover

    I like it but feel it should be teams in different regions not based all in California. Maybe a couple in the South East, Mid West, and South West with one or two on the West Coast and Northeast (maybe 6-8 teaqms total). Also think it would work better in the Spring than summer, long gap without football following the Super Bowl, say May and June. What else do the sports networks have to work with?

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