We’ve covered this before, but the National Football League needs to form minor leagues like Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League have had for decades. The National Basketball Association is catching on, slowly, but the NFL acts oblivious to the destruction of the sport at the amateur/collegiate level. We see this every year, during multiple periods when “student” athletes enter the transfer portal in search of more playing time and more NIL money elsewhere.

They’re not real students, and perhaps they never were. Here’s the reality: a full-ride scholarship is worth about $50,000 a year in tuition, books, room, board, and tutoring, etc., not to mention excellent health care. So, we can guess that each full ride is worth about $250K over the course of an athlete’s career in college. Throw in the fact that a college degree itself is worth at least $1.2M in salary over 40 years on the open market, above a mere HS diploma.

So, if $1.5M benefits aren’t good enough to consider these “student” athletes well compensated enough, there’s something seriously wrong with society. It’s absolutely ridiculous, especially since 99% of college athletes actually aren’t that good and won’t win a conference title, let alone an NCAA championship. But the scene at the University of Colorado recently just emphasizes that all these kids care about is money and their chance to go professional. That’s fine; we get it. Your choice.

But the college sports model is not a professional one, and it never should be. If high-school football players want to go pro, they should have that option—and it is not the NCAA’s responsibility to provide that opportunity. It is the NFL’s responsibility, and no one seems to be pointing this out. Why? Because college football still makes a lot of money—albeit very unevenly, and we don’t mean the schools versus the students. Heck, most colleges lose money on football, in fact.

So, who makes the money, if anyone? Big schools only, really, who have good seasons on a yearly basis. The bowls themselves make money, as an excellent book pointed out more than a decade ago. That’s about it, as the TV networks usually break even in the long run for televising the games. Besides, who—again as noted here recently—is actually going to be “influenced” by a teenage kid playing football at the local university? Only the dumbest of the dumb.

Yes, we know the number of ignorant people in this country is higher than ever, but that’s not the point. It’s time to hold the NFL accountable for its shady business practices; the time has come for organized minor-league football sponsored and funded by the NFL and its 32 teams.