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Nfl (National Federation Of Lawbreakers?) Essay

2914 words - 12 pages

$3,676,400. That is the amount that the average National Football League player will earn over a three-year period . It is also the amount that prospective players lose as a direct result of the NFL's rule prohibiting players from entering the draft until they have been out of high school for three years. This monetary loss is one of the reasons that the rule is unreasonable and therefore illegal. Additionally, the rule violates the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, mainly because of the unchecked power that the NFL wields over the market of professional football. As a result of the illegality of this rule, which stems from both the rule's breach of the Sherman Act as well as its being unreasonable, the rule should be abolished.The first NFL Draft Eligibility Rule was established in 1925, after Harold Grange was signed to the Chicago Bears in his third season playing college football. The rule, as it was adopted in 1925, stated that a team could only sign a player who had played four complete seasons in NCAA Football or was out of high school for the duration of five complete NFL seasons. Sixty-five years later, in 1990, the National Football League revised the rule. The new eligibility rule read as follows: "Applications for eligibility will be accepted only from college players as to whom three full college seasons have elapsed since their high school graduation. " The rule, as it stands today, is that a player can only be deemed eligible for the NFL Draft after three complete NCAA Football seasons have been played. The NFL is the only professional sport which imposes such a restraint on prospective players.Although the rule has been in existence for over eighty years, over which time it restrained thousands of prospects, it has been argued very few times. In 2004, Maurice Clarett became one of the few who challenged the NFL Rule by filing a lawsuit against the NFL. At the time, Clarett had just finished his sophomore season in college and was seeking eligibility for the NFL draft later that year. His lawyers were among the few who realized, not to mention pursued, the illegality of the rule.Clarett's lawyers argued that the NFL Draft Eligibility Rule violates several aspects of the Sherman Act. The Sherman Act states that "every contract, combination, or conspiracy, in restraint of trade or commerce among several states" is illegal . In other words, any rule and or establishment that retards inter-state business and competition is unlawful. The NFL's rule limits the amount of players eligible to play in the league. In doing so, competition between players and teams, both in terms of abilities and salaries, is hindered by the NFL. Because the NFL is a corporation that conducts business all over the country, with most states hosting at least one team that participates in the league, this hindering is considered inter-state.Additionally, the Sherman Act further prohibits "blanket boycotts," a concept that the eligibility rule blatantly ignores. A blanket...

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