A new pro football league for players who are not yet eligible to play in the NFL but aren’t playing in college, announced Wednesday it plans to open play in winter 2017.
The Pacific Pro Football League is made for players who have graduated from high school but haven’t been out for three years to make themselves eligible for the NFL. The four-team league, based on Southern California, says it will pay players an average annual salary of $50,000 and play eight games “under professional football rules, protocols and style,” according to a statement sent out by the league.
Each team will have 50 players, according to the league, with coaches coming from the professional and college ranks. The players will also receive paid tuition and books at local community colleges.
Don Yee, who is Tom Brady‘s agent, is among the founders of the league, along with former NFL wide receiver Ed McCaffrey. Bradley Edwards, Jeffrey Husvar and John Chung are also among the league’s officers.
Bradley, the league’s chief operating officer, said that Pac Pro closed a round of angel financing and is looking at sponsors and facilities.
Also on the league’s advisory board are former head coach Mike Shanahan, former NFL executive Jim Steeg, current Fox NFL officiating analyst Mike Pereira, former chief strategist for the John McCain campaign Steve Schmidt and ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Schefter’s role is unpaid and he will be available for league officials to consult as needed.
This is the second football league to spring up recently. In December, the NFL notified its 32 teams of a spring development league that will operate in April 2017 and will work with NFL veterans who do not have contracts.