As the XFL tries to find traction this spring as a rebooted professional football league, it has tweaked its approach to several longstanding rules and regulations the NFL has had in place.
One of them, potentially, could lure college athletes to the league in the future.
Wednesday morning on the “Dan Patrick Show,” XFL commissioner Oliver Luck said that teams in the league “have the ability to sign a college freshman or sophomore.”
Luck added: “We haven’t dipped our toe in that pond, but we could in the future.”
This is one area where the XFL could look to compete with the NFL to try to recruit and sign players who may be interested in foregoing their college eligibility to earn money while playing professional football shortly after graduating from high school.
The NBA requires players spend one year out of high school, which has helped create a one-and-done culture in which certain blue-chip-level talents sign to play at a university, spend one season in the program and declare for the draft shortly after.
For the XFL to attract top-level football talent, however, it will likely need to show strong indicators of sustainability and would need to make financial offers attractive and compelling enough to sway players to risk injury to play in the league.
The NFL mandates that its first-year players are eligible only when they are three years removed from high school.
In January, Luck told USA TODAY Sports’ Brent Schrotenboer that it was “conceivable in the future that we’ll look at those guys on a case-by-case basis” of players who aren’t eligible to enter the NFL due to their age and time removed from high school.
At the time, the league had been focused on scouting and adding players who have more experience in college and even in the NFL.
“We just think those guys are better players at the end of the day,” Luck told USA TODAY Sports.
The XFL held several drafts in which a pool of players was eligible for selection throughout the fall and into the winter.
The league held its inaugural slate of games this past weekend in which all eight teams played on both Saturday and Sunday. Initial impressions were positive, with fan attendance being remarkably consistent across the four venues in which games were held: Houston, Dallas, New York, and Washington D.C. Each game had attendance figures greater than 17,000, but less than 18,000.