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A college "Super League" could bring NFL-style features (salary cap, draft, trades) to college football

A "Super League" might be the only way to save college football. Because that would be the only way to control the chaos that has emerged from the crumbling of the NCAA model, which is rife with violations of federal antitrust laws.

The key is the one thing college football has resisted: Unionization of the workforce that the powers-that-be have refused to call a workforce. Now that the players have the power, a union might be college football's only hope.

The key is what the law calls a multi-employer bargaining unit. That's what allows otherwise independent decisions to come together and impose rules regarding player acquisition, compensation, and retention that, without a union, are antitrust violations.

For starters, there would likely be some sort of spending limit, otherwise known as a salary cap. The various programs would have only so much to spend. That would protect the entire system from implosion, if/when some of the university presidents decide to go hog wild when it comes to paying players.

That existence and extent of a salary cap would be one of the things to be negotiated with a union. Another reality would (or at least could) be firm contractual commitments, which would restrict if not eliminate the transfer portal. The incoming player would sign a contract for a fixed period of time — one year, two years, four years, even the full five years of eligibility.

Eligibility also would be negotiable. Could college football players stay longer than five years? It would all come down to what management and labor agree to do.

What about trades? Could they happen? If the Collective Bargaining Agreement contemplates it, they could.

And here's the thing that could (but shouldn't) happen. A college football draft. No more recruiting. The schools simply call dibs on incoming players, the same way the NFL does.

Basically, college football would look a lot more like pro football. Which is appropriate, because it's been pro football for decades, with the players shut out from participating in the proceeds. The abuses extended beyond refusing to pay the players to preventing them from earning any money based on their names, images, and likenesses.

The NIL barrier was the first to go, and the old guard lost their minds. Nick Saban took his Little Debbie oatmeal pies and went home, citing (God forbid) the fact that players now want to know how much they're going to be paid.

Those pushing for a "Super League" aren't doing it out of the goodness of their hearts. They believe it's the only way to stave off the potential collapse of conferences and shuttering of programs for schools that realize the legal fees and settlements/judgments are making it impossible to balance the budget.

College football is experiencing the chaos it deserves. The "Super League" isn't an innovation. It's a Hail Mary.