Draft from the north country

One shortcoming I have as a lifetime Southerner is a total lack of familiarity with the NHL draft.  Fortunately, that’s what we have Michigan bloggers for.  Brian Cook has an interesting response to Mark Cuban’s whining about the one-and-done rule:

There is a solution here. It’s easy, actually: the NBA moves to an NHL-style draft where any relevant player is automatically inserted at 18. This preserves their eligibility. The NBA then allows teams to sign draftees but forces them to guarantee contracts one year longer than their eligibility would last (IE, signing a guy out of HS: five year contract, freshman 4 years, etc) except in the case of graduating seniors, who are owed nothing.

If there’s a five-round draft, say, that

  • increases NCAA popularity as NBA fans check out their prospects,
  • reduces bad NBA contracts for unready or plain overrated prospects,
  • encourages the NBA to sign guys when they’re ready and only then,
  • allows LeBron-type prospects to immediately hit the NBA like they deserve to.

That is a vast improvement on the current system and 1000% more fun than anything Mark Cuban’s come up with.

The more I think about it, the more I find this pretty damned clever.  It neatly gets around the absence of a legitimate minor-league alternative to the college game, lets some kids get paid, gives a nod to cost control for the pros and to some extent allows player development to proceed at its own pace.

Assuming the NCAA could live with it, here’s my question:  why wouldn’t that work for the NFL, too?

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18 Comments

Filed under It's Just Bidness, The NCAA

18 responses to “Draft from the north country

  1. Ok I don’t think my reading comprehension is up to snuff this Friday morning.

    So say I draft Player A straight out of high school. If I sign him, I have to give him a 5 year guaranteed contract. But what if he chooses to go to college? Do I retain his rights for up to 5 years? Or can he be drafted by someone else as early as the following year?

    This is definitely interesting in that as I understand it, nobody “declares” for the draft. They’re just eligible at age 18, and it’s up to the franchises to draft who they want. I’m just curious how it works if you draft a guy and he chooses to go to school – or chooses to stay in school if he’s already a freshman, sophomore, etc.

    • I assume if he isn’t drafted or doesn’t sign a contract, he goes back in the pool for the next draft.

      • That’s what I was guessing, which is why Brian proposed it as a 5 round draft instead of 2 rounds, as it’s conceivable that several of the players you drafted wouldn’t actually sign with you. Likewise they’d have to add several rounds to the NFL draft.

        But as an overall concept, I agree with you, I don’t see why it wouldn’t work for NFL as well. And as a fan it would be kinda cool to see guys tangibly improve their draft stock over time (guys could conceivably be drafted multiple times over several years until they got to a level they decide is worth going pro for).

      • Hippopanonymous

        If a player is drafted at 18, he can leave anytime to sign the pro contract with the team holding his rights. If he goes 4 years and graduates/leaves school, the team holding his rights has 30 days after the player leaving to sign him, otherwise he becomes an unrestricted free agent and the team receives a compensatory draft pick.

        Here’s a decent explanation of the whole draft: http://proicehockey.about.com/od/prospects/a/How-The-Nhl-Draft-Works.htm

  2. Why wouldn’t that work for baseball too? MLB needs their AAA clubs, but college could provide better facilities than most A clubs.

    • Don’t forget that baseball already has a modified version of that in play. If a kid doesn’t sign out of high school, he goes back in the draft pot after his third year.

      • Normaltown Mike

        I could be wrong, but I think a baseball player can shorten that to two years if he goes to a JUCO.

        I’d really like to see b-ball go to some staggered format so that D-1 had guys for 3 years, JUCO for 2 and straight to the pros for those so inclined.

        • FisheriesDawg

          A JUCO is eligible after one year if they so choose. That’s why you’ll occasionally see highly-rated prospects go the JUCO route rather than D1 if they didn’t like where they went in the draft but don’t care much about college.

          They’re also eligible after two years. However, if a JUCO kid transfers to a D1 school after his freshman year, he’s then not eligible until either he’s 21 or he’s three years out of high school (so, in theory, a D1 kid could actually go after two years if he was old when he graduated HS).

  3. Normaltown Mike

    “Draft from the north country”

    If you’re traveling, to a NCAA regional tourney,
    where the jump shots fall steady, beyond the 3 point line,
    Remember me to one who plays there
    For hoops once was a true love of mine…

  4. Scorpio Jones, III

    The bean counters who are standing in the watch towers of the NFL budgets have no interest in doing anything that would cost the NFL any money when they can get all the players they need without getting tangled up in blue ink (or red). Of course that’s just this one prince’s view.

    • Well, there are certainly many here among us who feel that life is but a joke, but the NFL appears to be taking the increasing numbers of underclassmen who declare early for the draft as a potentially serious matter.

      • Scorpio Jones, III

        The NFL owners all drive Cadillacs and take their subsidies from the Masters of War. If the NFL is interested in underclassmen who declare early, it is only because it has the potential to disrupt their free farm system by stirring up the farmers.

  5. 69Dawg

    For football it needs to be modified, otherwise the college game becomes a series of one year rosters. Imagine every year every kid potentially could turn pro. While I think you would see a marked improvement in player attitude and performance, it would still be a crash and burn for recruiting. Now at least you can just plan for a 3 year roster. I like a modified NHL MLB method. maybe an automatic entry after 2 years and if you are drafted you can go but you remain eligible if you don’t get drafted or if you do not sign. At least the D1 schools would get 2 years guaranteed.

  6. Sock Monkey

    What’s the NHL?