Oliver Luck, who once was one of the higher-ups in the NCAA’s chain of command and is now the commissioner of the reconstituted XFL, isn’t exactly saying his league is ready to sign kids who don’t want to stay in college for three years, but he’s not kicking the possibility out of bed either.
… Players have to be three years out of high school to be eligible for the NFL Draft.
During a December podcast interview with with Brian Berger of the Sports Business Radio Road Show, Luck said flatly: “We’re not subject to that.”
“Theoretically we could take a player right out of high school. I doubt we’ll do that,” Luck said, noting the difference in physical development between an 18-year-old and the 24-to-25-year-old fringe NFLers they plan to build their base from.
“But I wouldn’t rule it out,” Luck said. “Nor would I rule out taking a player who played a year of college football and let’s say isn’t eligible academically, which happens. Or a player who is two years out of college, and is transferring, and would have to sit out a year. A lot of guys don’t want to. . . . We are in that position to be able to take players who wouldn’t be eligible to play in the NFL. . . .
“But that’s an option that we have and we’re going to look at it long and hard. There are a lot off very good college players after a year or two who may not want to play that third year of college football, may need to earn a little money, support the family. That’s not uncommon as well.”
You can almost hear Mark Emmert whining, “why that ungrateful son of a bitch… after I took him in and showed him everything I know.”
Now, remember, this is a long way from reality. The XFL isn’t even hitting the field until 2020. Events like the Alston case may overtake Luck before then. And as much as the schools may pretend otherwise, I really doubt they’ll simply let an upstart league peel away the biggest names in college football without countering. (Then again, this is the NCAA we’re talking about, so who really knows if there would be a coherent response.)
But for those of you who have been hoping for an alternative that would take some pressure off the player compensation front, maybe this is the opportunity you’ve been hoping for. Maybe worth keeping an eye on…