Home Ethics Unpleasant reality; the NFL draft shouldn’t be legal

Unpleasant reality; the NFL draft shouldn’t be legal

There are a number of non-football people who make a lot of money off of the National Football League draft who will never say these words. The National Football League draft is a violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act and is only made legal through collective bargaining. The draft is illegal as it stops elite college football players from shopping around for the best job. The players are denied choices where they can work. They have just one place to go. If they decide not to report to the team that drafts them, those players can sit out or play in Canada.
Here is how the draft becomes legal though even though a third party, the players are hurt. NFL owners and the National Football League Players Association can collectively bargain conditions for the draft and if that means shutting down college football players job possibilities so be it. So the cottage industry that makes a ton of money talking essentially about nothing, college players being drafted into the NFL, needs to keep the pretense going for their livelihoods and say nothing. The league claims it wants competitive balance and having the worst football teams take the best players in a draft order that starts with the worst team picking first does that. But in reality, that isn’t the reason that owners want the draft. By having a draft, the owners can suppress salaries and stop owners from bidding for the best college players. Football fans want every bit of information on players with the hope that their team will get the best of the available players through the draft. What they really are celebrating a suppression of trade, a socialism and NFL owners are very happy no one notices or cares that the draft is essentially illegally that is only legit through collective bargaining and a union agreeing to terms. The draft is a salary suppression tactic.
Republished with permission Evan Weiner for The Politics of Sports Business.


  1. The purpose of the draft, at its base, is to allow more teams in the league than would occur in a purely free market, which in turn adds to television revenue by allowing for more games. Government subsidies for expensive stadiums have the same effect.

    Without the draft, professional football would have a very different structure. There would be fewer teams, at least at the top level, and fewer games to televise with less revenue for broadcasters. Maybe there would be minor leagues like in baseball, but the costs of training for football make this uncertain.

  2. I would call the salary cap the salary suppression. Even with no draft but a cap they wouldn’t just be able to pay these unproven talents any amount


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