Friday, April 29, 2011

How the draft might wind up invalidated

I found copies of the legal filings by Brady, et al, and the one from Carl Eller, et al.

The Brady case essentially wants the court to declare the NFL to be in violation of anti-trust rules, and seeks to allow for broader free-agency and eliminating the draft beginning in 2012.  The Eller case seeks more or less the same thing, but asks that the 2011 draft (ie this one) also not be allowed under anti-trust rules.

The hearing on both cases (which have essentially been combined) will be heard soon (next week or the week after, I think).

At issue is whether the competitive balance that has been in place is helping or hurting.  The players say its hurting them (of course, because in a free-market system would make them more money), but the owners say its helping the game (because the teams are competitively balanced, and it allows for a bad team to acquire players).

Of course this could drag on for weeks, months, or maybe years.

The American Needle case last year does have a bearing in the case, as do prevailing labor rules.  Who knows how it will go?

But...there is the chance that the court could agree to withhold draft results from this year while they examine the case, or could allow the draft (or a portion of it) to stand, and create some other means to restore equity after the fact.

I have to admit that while I like the system in general that we have with free agency and the draft, it certainly seems that there is some possiblity that there is a "restraint of trade" ...

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