If I had to make a startup league, the first thing I would do is start chasing down all the best players in the nation who aren’t smart enough or couldn’t academically make it into Division 1 schools. Also I don’t care about the new naming for the Divisions, it’s still 1, 2 and 3 for me. I would also try to plunder one or two top players in order to get into the papers and make a lot of noise. I’d offer the kids enough money that they could pay their way through college later if the league failed. The absolute last thing I would do is bring in NFL re-treads. It always makes new leagues look bad.
My feeling is that when you look at players who are undrafted or late round picks and end up having big careers, there are some players who never get the chance because they couldn’t academically make a top school. This of course is partially due to the NFL using the NCAA as a free developmental league. I for one think that the NFL and NCAA ties really need to be cut. Not only that, but these NCAA kids should be getting paid considering the amount of profit made off of them.
But I would collect the best HS kids from each region and make 6 regional teams. I would try to get smaller local fields for the games, because nothing looks worse then a half empty football stadium. Just ask the XFL. The league would start the week before the Super Bowl, playing on Sunday, then Saturday the next week and Sunday for the rest of the season for 10 games. The two best records would play in the championship game.
Following that, players who move on to greener pastures or are cut can be replaced by players from your region. If by the beginning of training camp someone isn’t with a team or considered a team’s property they are a free agent. The league will continue running a spring schedule until it’s gotten up to 12 teams. Along with increasing regional teams, hopefully grabbing more and more big name youngsters to join the league instead of going to the NCAA.
The last phase would be to move the league to a fall schedule, hopefully on Saturdays as an experiment to see how it works before moving to Sundays. If it fails we go back to the spring schedule. With the amount of profit the NFL is making, and the number of insanely talented youngsters in the NCAA, if there’s any sport that’s ripe for a competitor league it’s the NFL. It’s sad that leagues instead of trying to create new stars are taking washed up retreads from the NFL, making them automatically an inferior league.