College football is a national institution, and for a long time it’s been the only real ticket into the NFL. The XFL may change all that in a hurry.
The skinny: With the NCAA more and more being called out for its refusal to allow student-athletes the chance to earn money while they provide their schools and the organization itself with literally billions of dollars, the XFL may be in prime position to benefit.
The appeal: Sure, it’s extremely early and there is a chance the XFL could still collapse. But the early returns were promising, and the league has been laid out with an extremely clever and well thought-out plan that has the potential to blossom into an enterprise.
- The XFL already has somewhat of a college feel, and the first weekend of action was both fun and highly entertaining.
- The XFL is already being endorsed by one of the biggest names in American sports.
- The XFL is backed by none other than Vince McMahon, who is worth roughly $2 billion (with a big fat B).
So, this league really does have a chance to develop into something special. And that would be even more likely if some college football players decided to eschew the NCAA in favor of making their name on a different stage.
That other thing: There’s the whole idea that the XFL, you know, actually pays its players to put their livelihoods on the line.
So, how much does it pay?
Glad you asked.
- According to commissioner Oliver Luck, (via Pro Football Talk, the average salary is roughly $75,000 for XFL players, and that includes bonuses for being active on game days.
- Top quarterbacks are reportedly able to earn up to $500,000 in a season.
- The league is reportedly set to spend $500 million in the first three years, so there’s a chance salaries could be raised if some forward-thinking college stars opt to test the waters.
Those aren’t terribly big figures when you compare them to what NFL players are making, even at the bottom of the barrel. But compared to zero money, it’s quite a lot.
The bottom line: Sure, it’s a novelty now. Sure, the XFL failed once before. But this time around, things feel a bit different.
There is even more lust for a quality football product year round than ever before, and if the league does catch fire and establishes a foothold in the national scene it will have more money to spread around.
Furthermore, with college football firmly entrenched in the “transfer era” you can expect some players who enter the transfer portal to explore the XFL as a viable alternative. This could get very fun in the years to come as the XFL works to establish itself as a premium sporting event.