Is the price of youth football too high?
Can Scottish football really afford to run youth systems any longer?
As another batch of young hopefuls see their dreams shattered on being released at professional clubs, is it time to make radical changes to the way we treat our young players?
Livingston owner Gordon McDougall said this week his club are ahead of the pack when it comes to rearing their own.
Andy Halliday signed by Middlesbrough, Graham Dorrans at West Brom, Robert Snodgrass at Leeds United and James McPake at Coventry City, certainly point to Livi being highly successful in that department.
Hamilton Accies, too, have invested heavily in youth and have been rewarded for their efforts.
But are those two clubs isolated examples in a system which no longer works?
Dundee have just decided to move their under-19s to a mainly part-time set up, keeping only those boys who still have a year to run on their present deals.
Might other clubs also be pondering whether the near £200,000 per year cost of running such a set-up be better spent on the first-team?
With young talent emerging on a haphazard and uneven basis from youth teams, might it be better to find a different way of bringing players through which is less pricey for the clubs and less costly in the damage to boys thrown on the scrapheap?
As one young player wrote in his Facebook page last week after his release from a 19s set-up: "Well what a waste of two years that was." (expletives deleted).
And he has a point; two years in which he could have been well down the road to a trade or a degree have been squandered.
I have heard of young professionals doing painting jobs at the ground and cleaning toilets. What kind of football apprenticeship is that?
Increasingly, the jump from under-19s to first-team football is seen as too great.
Boys who've sacrificed their formative years, often from the age nine or 10, foregoing nights out with pals and other normal pursuits, find themselves on the scrapheap or walking away from the game when they are released.
Some clubs are honourable and have a policy of helping released boys find a way to stay in the game at some level.
Others still think an exit policy is simply pointing to the front door, having delivered the bad news to boys who've earned buttons for two years and waving them cheerio.
Perhaps the price of youth systems is too high for all concerned.
Too high for the clubs to afford in troubled economic times and too high for the huge numbers of boys with broken dreams who don't make it.
Maybe we should go back to the future?
Stop the professional clubs taking boys on from an early age and let them play schools and Sunday football instead.
Then at, say, 17 or so, let them graduate to the Juniors where a fine generation of players once played and which still boasts teams which are better than many in our lower professional leagues.
This week I sat outside a ground where a procession of young lads hugged, shook hands and bid each other farewell after being told they were being released.
They acted like men, but in truth they are only boys and the tears of crushing disappointment would come later and in private with mums, dads and girlfriends.
Their heartbreak at not making it will pass in time: but it would be eased more quickly if they had something to fall back on like a trade or a qualification.
In a civilised world the price of our youth football has become too high.