Dienhart: Pacific Pro Football, and its possible impact on Big Ten

Sandra Dukes-USA TODAY Sports

Dienhart: Pacific Pro Football, and its possible impact on Big Ten

Say “hello” to the Pacific Pro Football. What is that, you say? It’s a new professional league that will launch in 2018. Its intent: To develop players, not compete with the NFL. The great Dan Wetzel of Yahoo! detailed the fledgling league.

In a nutshell, the four-team league based in southern California will be an alternative to playing college football. I think it’s a marvelous idea.

Let’s face it: college isn’t for everyone. And, that’s OK. Some players have no interest in pursuing a degree from a four-year school. And some are ill-equipped to navigate the academic or social rigors. Some kids just wanna play ball coming out of high school. And this new league will provide an avenue–along with money. Finally.

Football is slow to the game on this. For years, kids could matriculate from high school to pro baseball and pro hockey. And the NBA has a developmental league. But if you wanted to play pro football, you had to be at least three years removed from high school. Silly.

Now, Pacific Pro Football will be alternative. It’s all about the NFL being selfish and wanting to develop players on its terms and in the best way to suit its league. But what’s it mean for the Big Ten and college football?

Don’t fret.

You won’t see a mass exodus of players opt to jump from high school to this league, where they will make around $50,000. The top players—and the vast majority overall—figure to continue to go the conventional route of a four-year program. The lure of playing in an elite conference on a high level is powerful. And some guys do want to attain a valuable college degree.

What type of players who typically on Big Ten rosters could opt for the new pro league?

Players who never get admitted to school.
Players who encounter academic issues.
Players who have legal problems.
Players who get sick and tired of going to class.
Players who want to be paid cold, hard cash for getting knocked around instead of being compensated with a scholarship.

Another demographic: quarterbacks, which is most interesting.

Let’s face it: many college programs run offenses that are counter to what the NFL prefers. Bottom line: The college game and its myriad spread schemes are not a fertile developmental ground for future NFL signal-callers.

So, perhaps we will see some good quarterbacks opt to get groomed (and paid) in a league that is all about NFL preparation. For instance, would former Purdue QBs Danny Etling and Austin Appleby had opted to play in the pro league–all the while getting paid and groomed for the NFL–instead of transferring to another four-year school, where often playing time isn’t a sure thing?

Stay tuned. This is very interesting. And well overdo.

Tom Dienhart, BTN.com Senior Writer

About Tom Dienhart: BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men's basketball for BTN.com and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, and send him questions to his weekly mailbag.


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