The NCAA has been under fire the past few years for its ability to profit off of college athletes while not paying them a single dollar. There may be an alternative brewing for football players who are not interesting in enrolling in college. The Pacific Pro Football league offers players four years out of high school or fewer a chance to compete in a league with professional rules and be paid around $50,000 a year to do so.

Any player who participates in the league would be giving up NCAA eligibility permanently, although the league is offering players tuition and books for local community colleges in addition to their salaries. Currently, no player may enter the NFL until they’ve spent three years out of high school.

The league’s founders include former NFL wide receiver Ed McCaffrey (father of Stanford star Christian McCaffrey) and Tom Brady’s agent Don Yee, giving the league a legitimate leg to stand on. Among the perks the league would offer (aside from the financial incentive) are experience in a pro-style offense (something lacking in a lot of college programs), no grades or classes to worry about and developmental instruction from former NFL players.

The league does not have backing from the NFL (unsurprising) or the NFL Players’ Union (slightly more surprising), although former NFL coach Mike Shanahan is on the league’s advisory board. However, with the complete lack of a minor league system, this could be a viable alternative for a lot of promising young athletes. If successful, we wouldn’t be surprised to see something similar pop up for the NBA.

The Pac Pro league is reportedly planning to begin play next winter with four teams of roughly 50 players each.

[via USA Today]