Packers CEO: College union would pressure NFL for developmental league

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A year ago there was a silly conversation centered around whether or not South Carolina’s Jadeveon Clowney should sit out the 2013 college football season to focus on training for life in the NFL. It was ridiculous in concept because there really is no replacing college football in the fall for any potential NFL player thinking about the draft. But what if there was?

This week Northwestern football players organized to take the first steps forward in developing an official college pliers union. While paying players is not quite at the top of the budding organization’s agenda, it is common belief that if and when this union takes off that the idea of players receiving pay beyond typical scholarship values may not be too far down the road. If college football players are one day going to be paid for their services, then the number of underclassmen declaring for the NFL Draft before playing thorough all of their eligible years may start to decline. This is a trend the NFL will be paying close attention to moving forward.

As Mike Florio references on Pro Football Talk, Green Bay Packers president and CEO Mark Murphy believes a college players union could spark the NFL to kick the tires on the idea of a developmental league of their own.

“[T]he NCAA colleges have served as a great breeding ground for NFL teams over the years,” Murphy said in response to a fan question submitted to Packers.com. “If the college players unionize, there will be more pressure on the NFL to establish a developmental league.”

It makes sense. Players with plenty of talent are taking an early gamble on the NFL earlier and earlier, as shown by the rising number of players declaring for the NFL The rising numbers have been influenced by the recent collective bargaining agreement for the NFL players union and the league, which has made it more important for players to get their service time in the league started earlier in order to cash in on bigger paychecks later in their career.

Just how much the players union in college football would slow that trend down may remain to be seen. The splitting of money for college players is still a complicated issue with many questions to answer before becoming a reality. If the NFL formed a developmental league it would make a push to lure in some of the top players who would typically be laying in the college game.

If an NFL developmental league existed today, would players like Clowney have played in that instead of South Carolina in 2013?

How much would players in the developmental league be paid? What kind of exposure would it get compared to college football?

Would an NFL developmental league take place in the fall, and thus compete head-to-head with college football?

These are just a sampling of questions that would have to be debated and answered in time. It is an idea that should be a concern for fans of the college game, but this is not exactly a concern that will take place over night.

Nebraska fans set new school record for spring attendance in Scott Frost debut

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Nebraska has generally been one of the traditional heavy hitters when it comes to the not-at-all-important stat of spring game attendance, but never before have so many Huskers fans crammed into Memorial Stadium to see their beloved team play the spring game.

Nebraska is reporting a spring game crowd of 86,818 in Lincoln this afternoon, easily making them the new leader in the nation for spring game attendance this season (other contenders Alabama and Penn State are also in action today, so we’ll see if Nebraska hangs on to this lead). The massive crowd on-hand to witness the spring debut of new head coach Scott Frost also catapulted Nebraska into the top 10 leaderboard for all-time spring game attendance figures. Nebraska’s 86,818 fans is good for the eighth-most fans for a spring game, and Nebraska’s only appearance on the top 10 list.

It’s worth a quick reminder that these are paying fans as well, and the weather isn’t fantastic, although it is far better than a number of spring games have seen this season.

Florida State previously had the highest-attended spring game going into this weekend, but the crowd of 60,934 stood very little chance of staying ahead of some of the schools in action on Saturday, including the combination of Nebraska, Alabama, Penn State, and Georgia.

Wisconsin QB announces intent to transfer

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Wisconsin’s quarterback position looks to be pretty solid heading into the 2018 season with Alex Hornibrook back to lead the offense, but the depth at the position will get a little more shallow with a pending departure. Karé Lyles is set on leaving Madison by way of a transfer, according to a message posted to his Twitter account Friday night.

“Thank you UW for the memories, but it’s time to focus on a new chapter and a new beginning,” Lyles said in his message on Twitter. “The best is yet to come! Just a kid with a dream, and I didn’t come this far just to come this far.”

Lyles would have been floating on the depth chart at Wisconsin this season behind locked-in starter Hornibrook, with Jack Coan rising to be the top backup option ahead of Lyles for the Badgers. Wisconsin has some other younger in-experienced quarterbacks on the roster as well to fill some of the space on the depth chart in the fall.

Lyles, a redshirt sophomore in the fall, will have to sit out the upcoming season due to NCAA transfer rules. He will be eligible to play again in 2019 with two years of eligibility to use at another FBS program. If he transfers to a lower division school, then Lyles would be eligible to play immediately this fall.

Helmet sticker to Bucky’s 5th Quarter.

Four-star 2015 signee second Aggie to leave Texas A&M this week

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With a new head coach in town, it’s far from surprising to see somewhat of a personnel exodus in the spring.  In that vein, Jimbo Fisher‘s first-year Texas A&M roster is the latest FBS football program to see such attrition.

On his personal Twitter account Thursday night, offensive lineman Koda Martin announced that he would be transferring from A&M to Syracuse.  On the same social media website a day later, teammate Kemah Siverand announced that he too will be leaving College Station as a transfer.

Unlike Martin, Siverand (pictured, left) did not reveal his next college football home in the tweet.

As Siverand will be leaving the Aggies as a graduate transfer, he’ll be eligible to play immediately at another FBS school in 2018 if that’s the tack he takes.

Siverand was a four-star member of A&M’s 2015 recruiting class.  After beginning his collegiate career as a wide receiver, the Cypress, Tex., native moved to defensive back between the 2016 and 2017 seasons.  He caught two passes for 16 yards in two games as a redshirt freshman in 2016, then was credited with six tackles in 12 games last season.

Iowa LB Aaron Mends to miss extended time with injury

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Talk about a hard-luck story.

After never starting a game at Iowa, Aaron Mends (pictured, blocking punt) had earned a starting job at outside linebacker during practice this spring.  With football being the cruel mistress that it can be at times, the Hawkeyes announced Friday night that Mends “will miss an extended period of time due to injury.” The program offered no details as to the specific nature of the injury, although it’s believed to involve the knee.

According to the school’s release, the fifth-year senior suffered the injury during the final week of Iowa’s spring drills.

Mends was a three-star member of the Hawkeyes’ 2014 recruiting class.  He was the highest-rated linebacker in Iowa’s class that year.

After taking a redshirt as a true freshman, Mends has played in 38 games the past three seasons.  A baker’s dozen of those appearances came during the 2017 season.