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.