The NFL Draft Is The Beginning Of The New Season In A Way. But Is It Legal?
NFL owners could be charged with rigging the job market by suppressing salaries and job opportunities by creating a very strange job market. College students who are among the best in the world cannot shop their talents around and apply for a job at multiple companies. Instead the National Football League, which is as Pete Rozelle once pointed out while he was NFL Commissioner testifying at the USFL-NFL trial in 1986 is a natural monopoly and can do whatever it pleases in the football business. But the draft is a very tricky situation for the 31 NFL owners and the Green Bay Packers Board of Directors. It is illegal, you cannot just take job applicants and assign their negotiating rights to one company. A doughnut maker can chose between a variety of chains, a football player is assigned to a team. The draft would be subject to antitrust laws of the United States except there is a major loophole that allows what would normally be an illegal action to become legal.
The draft is a collectively bargained issue and a deal between the owners and the players allows the draft to take place even though a third party, those who are trying to get an entry level job are injured because they have almost no leverage in where want to work. The way the draft is designed hurts the very best players leaving college and their bargaining abilities. Football fans celebrate the draft event when in reality it is a device to knock down salaries.
The NFL Draft once went 17 rounds and became a negotiating bargaining chip in talks between the owners and players in the 1970s. It is shorter now and only about 225 players or so are impacted.
Fans love the draft, entry players should not though.