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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review April 17, 2006 / 19 Nissan, 5766

NFL Draftees Don't Know What They're Missing

By Evan Weiner

Evan Weiner
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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Walk past any newsstand these days and you'll find an astonishing number of 2006 NFL draft publications, invariably featuring Reggie Bush, Matt Leinart,Vince Young, or some combination of all three on the covers.


On sports talk radio, callers want the Jets to draft Leinart, no make that Young, no make it offensive tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson - it depends on the day and the caller. ESPN and regional cable TV sports networks will devote countless hours to researching the potential draftees and how they will fit with their new teams.


The NFL draft has become more than a cottage industry.It's a big business that has made a star out of analysts like Mel Kiper Jr. and brought minor celebrity to others who do nothing but watch college football games between August and January and study players on videotape the rest of the year.


The sports press will cover the team's "War Rooms," where multimillion dollar decisions will be made. On draft day, football fans clad in their favorite team's jersey will pour into Radio City Music Hall looking like escapees from the Halloween Day Parade in Greenwich Village. It's a veritable football orgy in April, more than 2 1/2 months after the Super Bowl and almost three before teams open training camp.


It's a cause for celebration.


But is the NFL draft legal? Doesn't it violate antitrust laws and artificially drive down the price that, say, a Bush, Leinart, Ferguson, or Young could get on the open market if there was true competition for their services? Doesn't it prevent companies, in this case NFL teams, from bidding for talent? Doesn't it intentionally keep down the salaries of the 270 or so players who will enter the NFL through this form of entry-level hiring?


Football fans come out of hibernation in their best tailgate-stadium attire to celebrate what is essentially a restraint of trade.


NFL owners are able to stage a draft because the Players Association has given them a go-ahead through the Collective Bargaining process. The NFL gets a statutory exemption from antitrust laws because the owners and players agreed that it was okay to hold a draft, even though college players are left with few rights.


So it's time to salute the most perfect form of socialism ever invented. The NFL, where all 32 owners share money, has devised a way of divvying up college athletes that under most other circumstances would be illegal.


In essence, NFL owners have perfected a system to the point at which they don't have to compete for the top college students, who are eager to enter the unique business world that is professional football. The teams automatically get the top applicants.


Imagine accounting companies just going to Wharton or Harvard Business School and drafting students without the students themselves getting any say about where they go or for how much. It can't be done.


The college players buy into the notion that they don't need choices. And maybe the top players don't because they are guaranteed millions of dollars in signing bonuses after the draft. The drafted players are guaranteed jobs. Whether they keep their positions depends on how well they do once they report the following month.


Very few players have bucked the system. Ohio State linebacker Tom Cousineau was taken as the top overall pick in 1979 by the Buffalo Bills, but he didn't want to play for the Bills and signed with the Canadian Football League's Montreal Alouettes. In those days, the CFL had some money to throw around and the NFL wasn't handing out $5 million signing bonuses like it does today.


The only way for a top athlete to exercise any control over where he goes is by insulting the city he may be going to or by playing another sport. In 1983, John Elway couldn't stand the thought of playing for Robert Irsay's Baltimore Colts and signed a contract with George Steinbrenner's Yankees. While Elway was patrolling the outfield for the New York-Penn League's Oneonta Yankees, the frustrated Colts dealt his rights to the Denver Broncos.


In 1986, Bo Jackson couldn't see himself running behind the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' offensive line, so he signed a contract with the Kansas City Royals. Jackson did eventually play in the NFL for the Los Angeles Raiders. Two years ago, top pick Eli Manning wasn't too pleased with the prospect of playing in San Diego, so he forced a trade to the Giants.


The last time the top college players had a real career choice was between 1983 and 1985, when the United States Football League was in existence. Players like Jim Kelly had a choice between the USFL's Houston Gamblers and the NFL's Buffalo Bills. He went to Houston. In 1983, Herschel Walker signed with the USFL's New Jersey Generals after his junior season because, at that point, the NFL did not allow underclassmen to enter the draft despite being more than qualified to enter the work force in just about any other field.


Two decades later, that option is defunct, and college athletes with highly specialized skills have no say about where they ply their trade. Sometimes, they can't even ply it at all. When Ohio State's Maurice Clarett and USC's Mike Williams sued to enter the NFL draft in 2002 after their sophomore years in college, they won the original case, but it was overturned on appeal and their careers were dealt irreparable harm.


College applicants are also slotted into a sliding salary scale. The no. 1 pick will get the most money; the final player chosen gets the least. That means players chosen in the final round would be better off not being taken because "free agents" can shop their talents around and wind up with a higher salary than a player taken in the seventh round.


As it stands, there is very little a college player seeking entry into the NFL workforce can do to change the system until 2013, when the present Collective Bargaining Agreement ends. Lawsuits won't work because the NFL has the antitrust exemption thanks to its most valuable employees — the players. The NFL draft is the perfect system for the owners to control costs and limit players' options, and that alone, at least for the owners, is a cause for celebration.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Evan Weiner is a syndicated radio commentator. Comment by clicking here.


Previously:

04/10/06: Fans welcome new stadiums; will stadiums welcome fans?
04/07/06: Don't mess with a congressman/sports fanatic
04/05/06: Los Angles loses yet again
04/04/06: NCAA's highest stakes are first beginning
04/03/06: The real reason Major League Baseball is worried about cheating
03/31/06: Baseball buoyant, better than ever
03/30/06: Affording to be in the big leagues

© 2006, Evan Weiner

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