CLEVELAND — The former president of the latest version of the United States Football League is launching a spring football league for high school players.
Brian Woods, who stepped down as the USFL's president at the end of last year, said his Prep Super League will begin next year with a six-week season.
Woods said his league will use NCAA playing rules and will operate independent of high school state athletic associations, therefore giving players the chance to profit off their name, image and likeness without any restrictions.
League officials intend to have a season running from April 19 through May 24 with teams located in Atlanta, Cleveland, Dallas, Houston, New Jersey, New Orleans, Los Angeles, Miami, Phoenix, San Diego, San Francisco and Tampa. Woods said he hopes to start hiring coaches in the next two to three months.
Woods said the league could supplement the recruiting camps and 7-on-7 programs that provide recruiting showcases for prospects during the months when they aren't playing high school football.
"If you look at 7-on-7, you look at these camps, at the end of the day, none of them are 11-on-11 football," Woods said. "None of them are going to give a quarterback, for instance, in a 7-on-7 situation, a live pass rush. So if you're looking to evaluate players in an actual football context, that's what this league is about."
League officials also said players will wear sensors to measure performance metrics that can be shared with college programs or professional leagues.
Woods said potential recruits could pay what he referred to as a "player development fee" to participate in the league. He compared it to the money that families of prospects in other sports pay for travel programs such as AAU basketball and said it could help fund the league. Woods also is hoping to get revenue from sponsorships and ticket prices.
Woods said players also could get an NIL benefit from playing in this league and the showcase it could provide. The league plans to launch an app that will offer live streaming coverage of games.
Players will be eligible to participate in the league only if they're enrolled in an accredited middle or high school curriculum and live in one of the league's 12 markets. Woods said he planned to target prospects entering their sophomore or junior years of high school this fall.
Woods noted that the arrival of the transfer portal has produced a tougher environment for high school prospects seeking to gain the attention of colleges that might be more willing to take a chance on players with college experience.
He believes that situation could make this type of league appealing to recruits as they seek a way to stand out.