The XFL could provide some players with a direct path to pro football.

By Kaelen Jones
January 08, 2019

The XFL isn't due to launch until February 2020, but the league appears to be making its pitch to football players seeking a pro alternative to the NFL. Specifically, players who would like to skip the collegiate game.

"The XFL's player eligibility guidelines are in development," an XFL spokesman told Pro Football Talk. "The XFL is not restricted by the rules that exist in other professional football leagues."

The comment arrives just one day after the conclusion of the 2018-19 college football season. Clemson's true freshman quarterback Trevor Lawrence dazzled behind 347 passing yards and three touchdowns to help the Tigers win their second national championship in three years.

Lawrence's performance convinced some that perhaps he's already prepared to take his talents to the pro level. However, the NFL requires players to be out of high school for at least three years before joining the league, meaning Lawrence will have to wait two more years before turning pro.

In December, XFL commissioner Oliver Luck told the Sports Business Radio Road Show that the league is "not subject" to the eligibility rules in place in the NFL, adding that, in theory, the XFL could select players directly from high school.

“But I wouldn’t rule it out,” Luck said, per PFT. “Nor would I rule out taking a player who played a year of college football and let’s say isn’t eligible academically, which happens. Or a player who is two years out of college, and is transferring, and would have to sit out a year. A lot of guys don’t want to. ... We are in that position to be able to take players who wouldn't be eligible to play in the NFL. ...

“But that’s an option that we have and we’re going to look at it long and hard. There are a lot off very good college players after a year or two who may not want to play that third year of college football, may need to earn a little money, support the family. That’s not uncommon as well.”

Last month, the XFL announced the cities and venues for its eight-team league, which will kick off on Feb. 8 and 9 following Super Bowl LIV. Teams will feature rosters with 40 players and play a 10-game schedule.

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