Is the AAF the Beginning of the End for College Football?

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VirginiaBuckeye14's picture

At the very least, I think this will cause the NCAA to look harder into the possibility of paying athletes in some way. Not saying that’s right or wrong, but I think this will light more of a fire for them to do so. I also think that tradition and passion will keep college football on top regardless.. hopefully that’s not wishful thinking. 

Can they catch him? No they can't, touchdown.

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IBLEEDSCARLETANDGRAY's picture

I have a very hard time thinking the XFL Version 2 is any better than Version 1, which for all intents and purposes SUCKED. And not every HS kid is going to be physically ready to play against guys in the AAF who are freshly cut from NFL rosters and practice squads. The physical and mental development gap is still enormous between a player with 4 years of pro experience as opposed to a 17-18-year old HS kid.

You COULD see your best of the best 5-stars heading to the AAFL IF they are physically ready. I personally wouldnt be sad to see all the kids Clemson and Bama are paying to go pro and make Bama and Clemson shit. Wouldnt break my heart in the least.

"You're the patron saint of the totally effed" - Hot Tub Time Machine

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KBonay's picture

You have a great point.  It's not like playing against other college kids.  I could see a guy opting out his 3rd NCAA year and going before a True Freshman would.  But it might force NCAA or NFL to change some things up.  We shall see.

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kareemabduljacobb's picture

Kids would have almost a year out of HS before they'd even play an actual game tho, right? Unless they change the timing of their season. Kids graduate in May then would have to wait until the following Feb before games even start. They could technically play 1 yr of college football before joining, and depending on where you went your season could be over mid Nov-early Jan. But then you'd probably have kids skip their bowl games to join this league instead. Hmm who knows. Will have to see if these leagues become sustainable or not.

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kareemabduljacobb's picture

But I'm sure they'd put some sort of rules in that wouldn't allow this if they indeed started to take 5-10ish of the top HS players who would want to play.

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Kyson12's picture

If college football is over I’m dead inside forever. Seriously though,  I don’t want a watered down crap league like college basketball has become. But in the end it’s always always about $$$$$$$$$$

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osu992's picture

There are 128 D-I college football teams, supported by institutional pride.

The 3yr-250K is for an 8 team league with borderline NFL players that already have three years of college experience. There might be what...50 high schoolers that interest this league in year one? How many would have interest in the AAF? What happens when the AAF cuts you for not being the stud they thought you might be, and you can't go to college, or they don't cut you but you find out no one wants minor league autographs.

And what happens when the AAF has triple the inquiry rate of NCAA or NFL because the player development, strength and conditioning, and general professionalism isn't there? Keep I'm mind, they don't teach you how to play football in the NFL. They expect you to know that already. So building coaching staffs out of washed up NFL coaches doesn't seem ideal.

No, I don't think the few people this appeals to dooms college football.

New Day for OSU. Same noon for TTUN.

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GVerrilli92's picture

Fantastic post +1

To play devil's advocate however, the only way that the AAF as a business would have been successful in its infancy was to target NFL practice squad players, which they did. What if this thing were actually ran from a business-perspective to absolute perfection? You have games being played on major television networks already. So at the absolute peak of it's current possible popularity, just before the league loses momentum, say the AAF begins to target high school players.

At first they don't score the 5 stars, but they get just a few top 300 players. Those top 300 players are then drafted out of the AAF after making 250k in 3 years. 4-stars begin to pay attention, sign on, and the overall quality of play in the AAF improves. Quality of play improves, viewership goes up, the league accumulates more money through broadcasts, and in turn has more money to pay better coaches and team staff. Then all of a sudden you have an upward cycle created where better players create better competition, create more money through viewership, create the opportunity to hire better development, create higher % of entry into the NFL, better players join the AAF.

Hell, in a perfect world for the AAF, the league expands at such a rate and becomes so popular that some stars of the league choose to not even move on to the NFL and stay in the AAF.

Obviously all hypothetical, and not at all probable. But I do think there is a path to success for the AAF that falls anywhere between being a true "minor league" for NFL dropouts and competing with the NCAA for high school players.

Kitties aren't supposed to smell like cigarettes, they're supposed to smell like kitties.

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Chewbucca's picture

I think the NFL has more of an immediate concern than college football does.  I watched an AAF game this weekend and it was a much better product than the NFL in terms of being watchable.  They removed the "One play, fifteen minutes of commercials"  aspect of the NFL game when it comes to kickoffs and  they kept the flow of the game moving.  I noticed far fewer stoppages (flags/replays)  in the overall game.  I'm betting that food and ticket prices are more affordable as well.

The NFL has acquired a lot of bloat over the years that make it a crap product.  Everything required to support the vast increase in multi-million dollar contracts has made the NFL a progressively worse product over the years. If the AAF can stay afloat long enough to bring in a few more teams, it might become a problem for the NFL.  I would also agree with a few people who mentioned the physical aspect of the game.  HS kids , for the most part, are just not going to have the physical ability to come in and compete with guys that are older and more physically developed.

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Longtoothbuck's picture

I think you hit a lot of nails right on the head.  Well thought post.

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garyb's picture

Just looking at it from a business point of view, I think it will be the insurance carriers that put a stop to high schoolers from playing in the AAF. From what I saw last night the AAF is definitely a higher level of football that few if any high school kids are physically ready for. I think there would be a high level of injury for the young kids trying to play at that level when their bodies are still very much in need of development including the 5 star kid:  https://abcnews.go.com/Sports/nfl-football-threat-evaporating-insurance-...

"All Aboard the Dwayne Train"

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GrandTheftHarley's picture

The AAF starts tonight and a standard contract is 3 years 250K. High Schoolers could choose to go to the AAF instead of college and focus on football year round while being coached by mostly ex-NFL coaches.

Got a link for this statement, Spartan?

I'm in agreement with KB and Bleed. Throwing kids fresh out of high school into a mix with NFL and CFB also-rans is a dubious move at best. The sheer physicality- even at the AAF level- would put these tenderfeet at great risk of injury.

I am not very smart, but I recognize that I'm not very smart. --- W.W. Hayes

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GVerrilli92's picture

I will only start to really worry about the AAF "replacing" college football once players from that league begin to get drafted in early rounds of the NFL.

If the AAF begins to recruit some legitimate 4 and 5 star talent out of high school, let's call it a code orange. If those players are then actually being drafted out of the AAF into the NFL after 1-2 years - we're at a solid code red. Money walks, and the NCAA talks. If 18 year old kids are able to come immediately out of high school and make 50k plus WITH the added legitimate ability to get to the NFL, there will be some serious considerations being made by some great players at the high school level. 

That being said, after watching tonight's AAF game I really do believe that there is a competitive (and even entertaining) level of football nestled safely between college football and the NFL. Most of these guys playing in the AAF were deciding between being on practice squads for NFL teams or starting for AAF teams, now they just have the opportunity to put plays on film while also winning meaningful games.

All in all, there's no reason to worry about the modern landscape of CFB until the AAF shows inroads to the NFL.

Kitties aren't supposed to smell like cigarettes, they're supposed to smell like kitties.

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JohnnyKozmo's picture

. If those players are then actually being drafted out of the AAF into the NFL after 1-2 years - we're at a solid code red.

Remember...the NFL still has a rule that says a player must be 3 years removed from High School before being eligible.  All the AAF and XFL would have to do is to implement a similar rule.   

You're too stupid to have a good time. -Dalton

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hnyg8modonwelfare's picture

Nope! Viewers dictate the industry.

Thank you Urban Meyer and Gene Smith

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Spartan13's picture

But viewers can watch both. The AAF is actually kinda good if people keep watching and the money starts to go up on top of apparel then the AAF can start going after high school kids 

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Iwouldliketotalktoyou's picture

From what I saw tonight, there is no way a kid fresh out of high school is ready for that league. There was some big time hitting going on. Those quarterbacks were pummeled all night long.

Gotta love it.

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GVerrilli92's picture

I would agree that the defensive side of the ball was a little further along than the offensive side.

I was not at all impressed with the skill players on either offense though. There was a lack of explosion in ball carriers and a lack of dependability in downfield receivers. I could actually see a freshman JK Dobbins or a freshman Ted Ginn going into the AAF and being extremely successful. Speed kills, and there wasn't a lot it present in the offenses.

Kitties aren't supposed to smell like cigarettes, they're supposed to smell like kitties.

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bobbyvcp's picture

First let's get one thing clear it won't be the NCAA paying the athletes it will be the NCAA letting the schools pay their athletes. No money will be coming out of their pockets.

Kauai Buckeye

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Iwouldliketotalktoyou's picture

That couldn't be any more true.

Gotta love it.

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Ohio State Ombre's picture

If it's successful, it could turn football into a similar setup as hockey. Still college hockey, but a lot more options for players (qmjl, echl, OHL, etc.). Seems to work out fine and all involved are happy. But to say college hockey is a quality product is a stretch. These new football leagues could for sure eventually have an impact on that, but I am guessing we are quite a ways off from that

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buckeye1976's picture

If I have a son that is D1 good and its between the AAF, then NFL; I'm taking the AAF route. 

He can still go and get his degree during the season or off season.

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allinosu's picture

But will he want to or would he focus solely on football to keep moving forward in that profession. The NFL can put a stop to a lot of this by requiring a college education for their league.

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ScarletGray43157's picture

The NFL can put a stop to a lot of this by requiring a college education for their league.

Do you mean a college degree?

Many NFL players now do not have a degree when they enter the NFL, and I know that this is obvious.

If you are saying that the NFL require some college then that stipulation could be reached by young men while still in high school. There is a Dual Enrollment program that has been in place for a few years that allows college credit to be obtained by a student while still in high school.  

In old Ohio there's a team that's known throughout the land...

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allinosu's picture

I was referring to an associates degree from this point forward if they were interested (probably not) in keeping the college farm league the way that it is now. There was some talk a few years ago requiring a 4 year degree or a % of pay to those with degrees not counted towards the cap which be an added incentive for teams to keep them a priority.

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BuckeyeCrusdader's picture

are contracts in the AAF guaranteed at signing? 250k is lucrative for a kid out of high school.. but amateur eligibilty is immediately shot. The development is not likely to be the same level as it would be in  a program like Ohio State, Clemson, Bama, etc.. Plus going to a school like Ohio State or Notre Dame or some other program offers a potentially limitless network of connections that the AAF would not likely offer. Ohio State and now other athletic departments and football programs are dedicating more and more resources to helping their athletes have job offers out of college if they are not going pro.

Lastly the fact that a 18/19 year old is going against guys 4-10 years older is going to increase the risk of injury and just flat out failing out of the gate.

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Crumb's picture

I think it's good for college football, and overall just good for football. We love football. I was psyched that there was football on T.V. tonight! Football is the only major sport that doesn't have a minor league. If they can get one that sticks around (and I hope the AAF is it) then football becomes better for everyone. 

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yertle's picture

As long as our college kids are better than the school up norths college kids I will be happy to watch whomever decides to stay as an amateur student athlete.    

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stuckupnorth's picture

Yes. Until the rule about being a couple years removed from high school is changed. If I’m joe somebody and I have a choice to make 80k a year or go to school. The choice is pretty clear. Especially in the day we live in where athletes are martyres. It’s the age of LeBron James and his buddies jumping teams. It’s the day of signing a five year deal then two years in wanting another one. We are seeing young men sitting out bowls, and taking longer to heal. The next natural progression is to skip whole years. These guys will sit the whole season. If Trevor Lawrence never plays another down at Clemson he is the first pick regardless. Athletes are about the paper not school pride.I would think a lot of us would be to in those shoes. We all choose to work jobs to make a living. I know I don’t go to my employer unless I’m getting paid. I

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soldierdad's picture

I’ve always contended that we may not have ever been introduced to the play of the greatest athlete ever.  If there is a weakness of the pipeline to the NFL it is qualifying standards.  That may be age/time out of school or academic standards required by the college paradigm.  An athlete is way more likely to be discovered these days but even at that tons of guys are trapped in their youthful wrong choices, poverty, not competitive as youths, late bloomers, etc, etc.

My selfish love for top talent walking through the halls of college campuses perceives the AAF as an existential threat.  But really in this vast land of resources and people, the more opportunities for all will net more abundance.

The soldier is my son.  The school I gone to didn’t teach much grammar.  

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OSU725's picture

To me it is a shot across college footballs bow. Depending on the success of the AAF. If they are putting a high percentage of kids in the league, college will have to adapt. What is important to remember is only a small percentage of kids make it to the pros, at least with college most will have a degree and likely some networking to get good jobs.

i love college football but the fact that college coaches are making millions and able to jump from school to school without penalty does bother me and the dictatorship of the NCAA runs me the wrong way sometimes.  College football has grown without much check. I am not sure a little health competition wouldn't hurt. 

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gumtape's picture

98% of college football players neverr get a sniffle of the NFL. College football is a great sport in and of itself. Even if all of the 100 or so 4-5 star ahletes go to the NFL equivalent of the G League I will still be a fan.

High and tight boo boo

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OSUBias's picture

What makes you think some of these high profile guys aren’t making 6 figures to sign with some school anyway? In addition to the physical gap mentioned above, I disagree with your premise that it’s 250k or zero. There’s enough smoke floating around about 100K and a house for the fam at certain schools that I think the monetary gap is smaller than you think. 

That being said it’s another avenue and I hope the league succeeds. And if they want to go after HS kids, good for them. The NFL has benefitted from their monopoly for so long that anyone else succeeding even on a small scale is a good thing. Even if it does nothing to hurt CFB or the NFL, it helps the players. 

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NYWoodyFan's picture

These leagues may actually save college football. College football can no longer be considered a monopoly, therefore scholarship play can be preserved as players have options.

this just hurts the SEC bagmen,and gets rid of players who have no interest in their junior season. All good.

Matt

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73buckeye's picture

College isn't for everyone. Lots of kids struggle to make it through high school. There are millions of kids out there who don't have the scholastic aptitude or desire to go to college. Of those millions, I guarantee there are thousands who are good athletes and of those thousands there are a few hundred who are elite. The AAF could give those kids a chance to play the game without having to suffer through 3 or 4 years of  college. 

ernie

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ShawneeBuck74's picture

I think that it will be good for football development overall but perhaps the death of the NCAA as a governing body.  

I could see the rich (like Ohio State) getting richer.  Playing players will happen, in some way more than a stipend or scholarship.  Something like a full education plus 50k for every year you play here. 

This would effectively make CFB a minor league. Only schools that could afford players would rise to the top. Smaller schools and weaker programs would fade to D2 & D3.  

The appeal of Ohio State is a 100+ year old international brand.  Way more long term benefits to play here right out of high school and then try the NFL than playing with a bunch of guys who are bubble NFL guys and most wont make the league. If you miss the NFL, now you have some options to get paid to play for a few years (kinda like all the guys who miss the NBA and play oversees).   

But hey, after OSU and you’re Jalin Marshall and you’re a bubble guy...bouncing between NFL and AAF or XFL... why not play for as long as you can? 4 years after college gets you $1 million? Plus the benefit of the OSU family/network.  Sign me up.

You win with people. 

And so forth...

9 Units Strong!

 

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cmented36's picture

AAF is working in conjunction with the NFL in some kind of partnership. The only league I've heard of that won't have the typical 3 years removed from highschool rule has been the xfl which is just a gimmick league. Besides any D1 football player is going to travel nicer, have access to nicer facilities, get a nice stipend with minimal expenses, and get more exposure than an AAF player in an 8 team league...

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BuckDigger's picture

250K?? Lot of SEC schools are laughing at that.

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erniefurgler's picture

Don't think its a difficult sell for OSU, Bama, Clemson, or any other elite D1 program that going to their school is a much better long-term decision that going to AAF for $80K yr.  Football isn't guaranteed & the long term positive affects of attending college & getting a degree & building a network of well-connected people is worth waaay more then 3 yrs/$250K

Don't you think Nike & Under Armour will be hesitant to sign an AAF kid to an endorsement deal? Kind of a slap in the face to the NCAA teams they endorse.  What's gonna sell better, Trevor Lawrence Clemson jersey by Nike or Trevor Lawrence Arizona Hotshots jersey?

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Deano's picture

I don't love the awkward marriage of kids who have no interest in getting a degree and college football.  If the 2035 NCAA football teams are filled with MAC and DIII talent by 2018 standards . . . I'll still root for the Buckeyes.  And if the 5-stars want to make $100k per year playing minor league ball - more power to them.  And if they want to pay their way through college later, that's great too.

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BuxLax's picture

No empirical data here but I am thinking there a some football players coming out of high school who are 19 closer to 20 years old. (I think you must be 19 or younger to participate in Ohio HS sports. However, if you have play football and have a post December birthday you could be 20 when you graduate.No idea how other state HS associations are run) So while this may not be a lot of kids, it could be enough kids who are not that far behind in age, to give the AAF a shot. 

As a side note (agree with 73Buckeye), I am a believer that college is not for everyone. I think we have done a disservice to many by promoting the "you'll earn xx% more with a college degree", only to have students rack up unmanageable student loans that are nearby impossible to pay off with a $35,000/year job. We are terribly lacking in the trades, which can be rewarding and profitable careers.

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QuadCitiesBuckeye's picture

I am thinking there a some football players coming out of high school who are 19 closer to 20 years old

Granted, but generally only those that have had to repeat a year or had an extremely late start to school/kindergarten

Shandy is not beer

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OSUEXT's picture

I'm sure there are some players who are mid-round NFL talents who might be interested in taking an early pay day, but as long as leagues like the XFL and AAF are coached by washed up NFL coaches and the assistants are fired FCS coordinators, I think it's gonna be hard to convince people this is serious big level football, and it's a smart alternative to forego the normal development path. 

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stxbuck's picture

The AAF will not replace college football for one very simple reason-the line between being an NFL veteran on an active roster, and an NFL veteran NOT on an active roster-80% of AAF players-is a very fine one. The line between being a HS senior-even a 4 star stud, and making an NFL roster is enormous. HS players would get ground up and spit out in the AAF by veterans looking to get back in the NFL.

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Rocket Man's picture

If it is, then I guess I will be available to do things on the honeydo list on Saturday afternoons now.

Gosh, I hope not.

 Success - it's what you do with what you've got.  - Woody Hayes

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TeddyKGB's picture

I how so. Then ncaa football can go back to good players, coaching salaries cut by 75% and reasonable ticket prices.

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Worthington Buck's picture

3 years / $250K is probably a paycut for several top prospects when you consider all the meals + fringe benefits, housing, training facilities, any credits they accumulate towards a degree, plus "benefits" (I'm sure Cam Newton isn't the only guy to get a suitcase...)

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Stellar's picture

College Football is more about the brands of the schools than it as about specific players. Players come and go but fans remain fiercely loyal to their teams. There's a big reason this new AAF is allocating players based on where they went to college - they're trying to capitalize off the loyalties of college football fans. That isn't going anywhere even if a handful of prospects do go pro by a different route. Fans are always going to follow college football no matter who the specific players are. As baseball fans would, we "root for the laundry."

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Ohbucksclan20's picture

The guys in the AAF are grown men who are fighting for a chance to get back in the NFL. This is a livelihood for them. Any high school kid going there would get destroyed. The only positive is they would get paid and could still get their degree if they want. It's different than the NBA and g league. So no I don't think it will end college football. People thought the xfl would end the NFL and look what happened. Eventually the ncaa will allow schools to pay players.

Go Bucks!

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Nick's picture

Most of the players we grow to love and cheer for never go to the NFL, so no, this won't change much for college football.

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Akron Buck's picture

why?  Clemson and SEC teams pay more.

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Beantown_Buckeye's picture

No. They don't have the brand the NCAA and these college institutions have. They will get some players who really don't want to go to school or struggle with their grades. I could see this hurting JUCO more than anything and could see kids who have an issue at their first school give up and taking the money instead of spending the year in JUCO.

There are a lot of parents of college football players who want their kids to get the free education and everything that comes with it. Plus the path to the NFL from NCAA is known and well-charted. I don't think many young players or their families will want to be guinea pigs to see how that path goes from the AAF. You'll have the rare Darius Bazley type (although he didn't even end up in the G League) - and btw that's been a complete debacle for the kid and he will be lucky to be drafted at all.

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RunEddieRun1983's picture

I for sure think it will make the NCAA look at how they treat student athletes and make them reconsider, maybe not paying them, but compensating them in some way.

I mean as it stands here and now, with the AAF, if it has any legs to stand on, these high school kids will be passing up a paying job to go to college, so if it catches on and becomes something important, the NCAA will have to figure out a way to compete with it.

Urban Meyer left an incredible legacy. 12/4/18 Ryan Day begins his.

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westy81585's picture

There will eventually be a plausible "minor league" option for professional football other than the college route; whether or not its the AAF, XFL, Arena football, or them combined or something else.  Some day that will come if only because there are college kids that wanna get paid and don't wanna go to class... and they'll be talented enough to play for those leagues with enough eyes wanting to watch them to make it financially sound.  

I doubt that means the end of the college game though.  Even in it's worse case scenario it would just be a more inferior version.  It's not like we don't have college baseball; and there's been a viable minor league option there for decades.  

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wigmon's picture

Big time college football players get more than $250k in benefits over a 3 year period, so I don't see that money being much of an enticement.  I think this league is awesome and won't hurt the college game one lick.  None of the best players are going to choose this league and getting paid over college unless they have absolutely no interest in "playing school" and I think thats another benefit for collegiate athletics.

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erniefurgler's picture

The number of HS kids that could go to the AAF & contribute immediately would be minimal.  Look at how many 4-5* kids need to redshirt at premier D1 schools...as mentioned by others, the players in the AAF are grown-ass men trying to keep their dream alive.  19 yr old kid would get handled

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MiamiBuckeye's picture

It has to survive past its first season before we can know what its impact will be. 

"porque las estirpes condenadas a cien años de soledad no tenían una segunda oportunidad sobre la tierra."

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