May 22, 2024

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A college “premier league” could bring NFL-style features (salary cap, draft, trades) to college football

A college “premier league” could bring NFL-style features (salary cap, draft, trades) to college football

a “Premier LeagueIt may be the only way to save college football. Because that would be the only way to control the chaos created by the collapse of the NCAA model, which is rife with violations of federal antitrust laws.

The key is the one thing college football has resisted: consolidating a workforce that the workforce refuses to call a workforce. Now that the players have the power, the union may be college football's only hope.

The key is what the law calls a multi-employer bargaining unit. This allows independent players to band together and impose rules regarding player acquisition, compensation and retention, which would be an antitrust violation without a union.

For starters, there will likely be some type of spending limit, known as a salary cap. Different programs will only have so much to spend. This would protect the entire system from collapsing, if/when some university presidents decide to go wild when it comes to paying players.

The existence and extent of the salary cap will be one of the things that will be negotiated with the union. Another reality is (or at least could be) strict contractual obligations, which would restrict, if not eliminate, the transfer portal. The next player will sign a contract for a set period of time – one year, two years, four years, up to five full years of eligibility.

Eligibility will also be negotiable. Can college football players stay longer than five years? It will all depend on what management and workers agree to.

What about deals? Could that happen? And if the collective bargaining agreement envisions it, they can.

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This is something that could (but shouldn't) happen. College football draft. No more recruitment. Schools simply call dibs for incoming players, the same way the NFL does.

Basically, college football will look more like professional football. Which is appropriate, because soccer has been professional for decades, with players prohibited from sharing in the proceeds. The violations extended beyond refusing to pay players to preventing them from earning any money based on their names, images and likenesses.

The NIL barrier was the first to go, and the old guard lost their minds. Nick Saban took Little Debbie's oatmeal pancakes and went home, pointing out (heaven forbid) the fact that the players now wanted to know how much they would get.

Those who are pushing for a “Premier League” are not doing so out of the goodness of their hearts. They believe this is the only way to avoid the potential collapse of conferences and the closure of school programs that incur legal fees and settlements/judgments making it impossible to balance the budget.

College football is having the chaos it deserves. The Premier League is not an innovation. It's the Hail Mary.