A judge called Shira Scheindlin has decided that the National Football League’s rule barring kids from entering its draft until three years after high school is unlawful as a matter of antitrust law. As Sally Jenkins of the Washington Post argues, the NFL’s draft policy, to which the players’ union has agreed, is “perfectly fair and reasonable.” Jenkins predicts that Scheindlin’s ruling will be overturned “on grounds of silliness.”
If not, the decision means that a league already plagued by immature, bonehead players will face an influx of teenage boneheads. The ruling is also a blow to college football. And expanding the draft pool won’t improve competition. Rookie salaries are determined by a rookie salary cap that the NLF negotiated with the union. Thus, keeping kid phenoms out doesn’t affect labor costs. Scheindlin appears to be treating the antitrust laws as another “individual rights” statute. But even that may be giving her the benefit of the doubt. This may just be another judge who gets off on telling successful businesses what to do.
Scheindlin is the second woman this week to deal the NFL a blow. The NFL deserved Janet Jackson’s breast, but not this ruling.
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