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NCAA Football

5 Ideas for the New USFL That Can Put the NCAA in Check

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5 Ideas for the New USFL That Can Put the NCAA in Check

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Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The United States Football League is looking to make a comeback and aiming for a spring of 2015 debut. The new version of the USFL is being envisioned as a farm system for the NFL that would adopt all of its rules on the field, which will be different from the original version that competed head to head with the league. A farm system for the NFL could be a great thing — especially if it’s used to knock the NCAA down a few pegs.

As it stands now, the NCAA basically has a monopoly on a player’s path to the NFL. The only choice for a high school football player who wants to realize his dream of making the pros is to go through the college ranks. The NCAA knows this, and takes full advantage of it.

They use the ‘amateur’ label and ‘trying to keep a competitive balance’ as their primary excuses for their confining rules on collegiate athletes, but those excuses are weak. The NCAA is trying to sell the idea that if players are compensated beyond scholarships, it will ruin collegiate sports as we know it, which is just ridiculous.

The Olympics are also considered an amateur competition, and allowing the athletes to be compensated with endorsements and in other fashions hasn’t hurt its popularity one bit. As far as keeping a competitive balance, there are ways such as capping or sharing revenues that can prevent wealthier colleges from recruiting all the best players.

Their arguments are flimsy and unfounded. It’s obvious the NCAA just doesn’t want the players (who bring in the money) cutting into their piece of the pie. If the USFL adopted a few ideas, they could compete with the NCAA and steal a lot of the star power they depend on. It would be exactly like what the old USFL did against the NFL when they stole big-name players such as Reggie White, Steve Young, Jim Kelly and Herschel Walker.

Considering what the NCAA pays, it should be much easier to poach players this time around. The NCAA will take a major hit if they lose the nation’s best young athletes to the USFL. If that happens, it could break up the monopoly they’ve had on the gateway to the pros, and force them to compensate their players for their hard work and sacrifice. Here are a few things the USFL needs to do that could put a dent in the tyranny of the NCAA.

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5. Allow Players Straight Out of High School

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Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

This is clearly a necessary move for the operation and the biggest obstacle. If the USFL doesn’t allow players straight out of high school, they could at least allow them after they have had a season of college football under their belt. The USFL currently has plans to pay players between $3000-$3500 per game, which should make it easy to for them to poach college football’s biggest draws, or at least force the NCAA to pay them.

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4. Have a Scholarship Program

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Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

The league would definitely take some flack if it took away the opportunity for an education, so it needs to be accommodating for the young people who want to go to college. A program to pay for the player’s education would reduce that flack and help with drawing the best young players. They could either enroll in local colleges or take online courses while the season is in session.

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3. Don’t Get Crazy with the Rules

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Kim Klement-USA Today Sports

The freedom of the USFL can also be a big selling point for the players. In the NCAA, they can’t dance, say anything close to being controversial, or be within 1,000 miles of an agent or booster (slight exaggeration). Dez Bryant lost almost an entire season of football at Oklahoma State because he failed to fully disclose his interaction with Deion Sanders.

The confinement of the NCAA is very frustrating, and if the USFL keeps it light, it will definitely improve their poaching efforts. Hopefully, it would also lead to the NCAA lightening up a bit.

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2. Share the Revenue

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Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The USFL has learned from past mistakes and has a very good shot at being successful. The gameplay will adopt the NFL’s rules so it will be football as the fans know it, unlike the Arena Football League and the XFL. Also, they are partnering with the NFL this time around instead of competing with them. If the league is indeed successful, it must share its success with the players. The USFL doesn’t want to slow their progress by getting into disputes with the players, and definitely doesn’t want to risk losing their big names.

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1. Recruit Hard

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Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The USFL could get a leg up on recruiting players out of high school because unlike the NCAA, they wouldn’t need to apply restrictions. The more top players the USFL signs, the better the level of competition will be. The higher the competition level, the more players will get plucked to join the NFL, which will encourage other top recruits to follow.

Recruiting players out of high school is vital for the USFL to have players with star power. The best older players are going to be signed by the NFL as soon as they’re good enough to build a fan base, whereas the younger guys have to be at least three years out of high school before they can join the NFL.