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The NFL Draft is Here, but is it Legal?

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Photo: By Marianne O'Leary via Wikimedia Commons

By Evan Weiner |

There are numerous non-football people who make a lot of money analyzing 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 technically 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, force a trade or play in the XFL or in Canada.

Here is how the draft becomes legal even though a third party, the incoming college 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. The cottage industry that makes a ton of money talking essentially about nothing, college players being drafted into the National Football League, needs to keep the pretense going and say nothing.

The league claims it wants competitive football 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 the 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 think the draft is one of the best football events going but what football fans are celebrating is a suppression of trade.

NFL owners are very happy no one notices or cares that the draft is essentially illegal and that it is only legal through collective bargaining and a union agreeing to terms. The draft is a salary suppression tactic.

This article was republished with permission from the original publisher, Evan Weiner.

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