XFL reiterates that it’s not restricted by other league’s rules

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When the original XFL emerged 18 years ago, the possibility of eventually providing a direct path to pro football became an immediate source of intrigue. And then the XFL died after a year.

A generation later, it’s getting ready to bolt upright, Undertaker-style, and return to the football landscape. And Commissioner Oliver Luck’s podcast comment in December regarding barriers to entry wasn’t a seat-of-the-pants misstatement.

On Tuesday, an XFL spokesperson told PFT that, while “[t]he XFL’s player eligibility guidelines are in development,” the XFL is not restricted by the rules that exist in other professional football leagues.”

As Gantt pointed out, Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence could opt to go that route, signing up for a season with the XFL in early 2020 after one more year of college football, during which he’ll be the frontrunner to win the Heisman. He should be able to negotiate a significant contract for the bump he’ll provide to the fledging league. Whatever he gets will be more than what he gets at Clemson, which is the wholesale value of an education that he can’t fully exploit (due to football obligations), with no ability to profit from his name or likeness.

In a business where everyone except the players routinely make business decisions, Lawrence should start making some. And his best business decision could end up being one more year of college football, a season in the XFL, and then a year or so of preparing for the draft.

33 responses to “XFL reiterates that it’s not restricted by other league’s rules

  1. Don’t know about that. Going to be a lot of shaky players in the XFL that will never make it to the NFL and might well come from lesser college programs. He could get stuck behind a line that would make it very easy to get injured and injured badly in the XFL

  2. Eventually something will change. The NFL loves having matured 20-21 year old players that can be plug and play ready to contribute. Sooner or later it will be s little more like the NBA with players on the roster who aren’t fully developed and needing to sit for a year or 2, which then would lead to teams tanking for 3 year stretches and going hard once all the young players have matured.

  3. “The other league” LOL

    Anyway, it would be foolish for the XFL to adopt the must-be-out-of-HS-for-three-years rule. Because they are scrambling to get players, they have to get them anyway that they can. This is very similar to when the AFL started– they had to be very creative, which meant targeting schools and players that the NFL bypassed.

  4. What you can’t quantify is the value of the coaching, structure and exposure he’ll get at Clemson vs playing in the XFL. Hype and media drives draft stock sometimes harder than talent.

  5. Don’t be so sure Trevor isn’t making more at Clemson. If you think these guys are just playing for an education you very naive.

  6. The competition in college will be significantly greater than in the XFL, which will be comprised mostly of lower level college players with no chance at the NFL and aging veterans trying for one last shot. You can get paid $250,000-$300,000 for two years and risk injury or just take out a multimillion dollar insurance policy to protect yourself.

  7. Hey I will be watching if the refs are not controlling the games throwing flags every time a pass is thrown over 25 yards. Maybe they will actually let the players hit. Competition is good for the NFL.

  8. And the XFL supposedly will be old school complete with getting ear-holed. What is their track record on player safety?

  9. Don’t know about that. Going to be a lot of shaky players in the XFL that will never make it to the NFL and might well come from lesser college programs. He could get stuck behind a line that would make it very easy to get injured and injured badly in the XFL

    —————————————————

    really?! hmmm id say about 2% maybe even less college players actually make it to the NFL so what does it matter? add to that the percentage goes down further when you look at those players who have real success in the league…they might as well get paid, they can always go back to college to get a degree if they so choose…

  10. So he has to forfeit his remaining college eligibility to play in a lower quality league than he currently plays in.

    He will have an offensive line that can’t block and be throwing the ball to receivers that can’t catch (otherwise they would either still be in college or be in the NFL).

    How is this a good idea?

    What am I missing?

  11. Would signing with the XFL eliminate their eligibility for the NFL Draft and thus sign as an UFA to any team? That would allow these college players to circumvent the rookie salaries as well.

  12. otherwise they would either still be in college or be in the NFL
    ——————————
    wr’s that were playing in college aren’t not in college because they cant catch…

  13. Trevor Lawrence? Never heard of him.

    Oh, wait, THAT Trevor Lawrence. I have heard of him. He’s the one who became a superstar and future millionaire due to the platform he received from Clemson and college football.

    In some fields, he might have had to choose stardom or the safer path. Not college football. Clemson allowed him to both (1) pursue his lucrative but low percentage dream of playing professional football (by essentially giving him 12-13 nationally televised “tryouts” per year), while simultaneously (2) paying for his education, meals and a roof over his head in case the lucrative-but-low percentage dream doesn’t pan out and he needs a fallback plan.

    Yeah, THAT Trevor Lawrence is not working for “free.”

    I’m fine with the XFL or NFL relaxing the 3-year rule. But let’s just stop with the “victimization” of these college athletes, who voluntarily submit to what amounts to a good plan for almost all of them.

  14. Their target audience should be 90% focused on under 25 year old males. Nobody that has watched the nfl for more than 10 years is gonna embrace this or any alternative pro league in any sport

  15. Terrible idea. He could hurt his brand & cost himself tens of millions of dollars by not performing against poor competition.

    He is better off taking out an insurance policy while staying in college where he will be better protected playing tougher competition.

  16. Lawrence should be allowed to ply his trade and earn his living literally starting tomorrow. It is outrageous that he can’t. The system is set up so that the NCAA, the universities, and the networks can rake in literally billions off the back of essentially free labor.

  17. mdavis588 says:
    January 8, 2019 at 4:32 pm
    Terrible idea. He could hurt his brand & cost himself tens of millions of dollars by not performing against poor competition.

    He is better off taking out an insurance policy while staying in college where he will be better protected playing tougher competition.

    —————-

    This is how fans view this but not GMs. If the GM thinks Trevor is the best player on the board than he will be his first pick. You think that GM cares about the hype around a player? How does hype around Trevor help a GM win football games in the NFL? He can cost himself millions of dollars playing anywhere but the NFL including Clemson.

  18. I dislike the XFL already and do not plan to watch it. From what I’ve seen and read, it’s going to be even more over the top than the NFL is, which is way over the top for me already.
    Anything Vince McMahon is involved in has a sewer smell to it and this XFL will, too.

  19. I’m all for competition, but the XFL is going to have a long road ahead of it.
    1. The XFL likely won’t have the talent development system NCAA has.
    2. The XFL likely won’t have the exposure the NCAA has.
    3. The XFL likely won’t have the clout the NCAA has.
    4. The XFL likely won’t have a significant cash structure to pay players initially. Which is often why these one-off league go bankrupt in a couple years.
    5. The NFL will likely side with the NCAA in regards to disputes over when a player can or wil be drafted.
    So players may be able to get a paycheck earlier but at what cost? The NFL won’t care if a player gets and ACL torn in NCAA or the XFL, however it likely will weigh the development and level of competition the NCAA has over the XFL.

  20. Smart move by XFL. Now here’s to hoping they sign a lot of NFL names fresh out of the league. The available young talent, outside of the ones they can land from 19-20 years old opting to get paid instead of school, will be at a minimum quality wise. But signing NFL name veterans could make it very interesting and more watchable.

    Maybe a guy like Adrian Peterson ends up going unsigned by NFL teams for a season and wants to show his stuff in the XFL. The XFL should take on a World Football League persona of getting NFL name guys at the end of their careers. But with an established salary cap so that they don’t sink like the WFL. Then maybe one day down the road we could have an AFL-NFL type rivalry between the leagues.

    “You may say I’m a dreamer… But I’m not the only one” – John Lennon

  21. So, instead of competing with the NFL, the XFL might be competing with the NCAA. Brilliant!

    Would love to see the XFL become the unofficial development league for the NFL.

  22. Sure, XFL, someone like Lawrence is going to play for peanuts for your crappy no-name league, which is being promoted as a throwback to the days of big hits (serious injuries and fewer player protections), rather than wait a couple years to hit the set-for-life jackpot in a league currently oriented around protecting the QB at all costs…

  23. Maybe it’s just me, but if I were an up and coming star in college, I don’t think I would hitch my wagon to the XFL. Not sure it’s outcome will be a whole lot different than 18 years ago.

  24. I studied many years in college to “merit” a salary I would not have been offered had I not attended. How is a college player’s investment different? Sure…there is injury risk, but you state the case for a few exceptional outliers. Draw a bell curve and imagine the number of early draft entries that are not ready that would get scooped up by idiotic NFL GMs if the restrictions were not in place. Imagine the injury risk and impact on the NFL brand a bunch of Greg Odums (different league but best example I can think of a young entrant) would do blocking for Goff, Mahomes, Mayfield, etc.

    Remember the Cowboys crying over the Broncos jumping ahead and picking Paxton Lynch? Imagine 10 times more Paxtons entering the league each year based on hunches. Someone will get killed.

    Make it legal (if not already) for the universities to buy insurance coverage and then let them earn their way to the NFL.

  25. The real reason the NFL doesn’t want 19- and 20-year-olds is because then they would get to their second contract with more leverage since they’re younger when the rookie contract expires. Then they’re younger with more leverage for their third, etc.

    Right now a rookie deal and one extension is enough to get through a player’s prime and then leave him for dead, just how the owners want it.

  26. Make no mistake about it, the NFL is making out as much as the NCAA by having its future work force trained, weeded out, and ready to go, all for free. This would be a good option for that unpaid work force to consider.

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