Legality of Age Restrictions in the NBA and the NFL

38 Pages Posted: 15 Feb 2006  

Michael McCann

University of New Hampshire School of Law; Sports Illustrated and SI.com; Mississippi College School of Law

Joseph Rosen

Orpheus Sports and Entertainment

Abstract

This essay examines age eligibility rules in the National Football League (NFL) and the National Basketball Association (NBA), offers analysis of related antitrust and labor law issues, and shares perspective on underlying policies. As a matter of background, the NFL and the NBA are the only major sports organizations that prohibit players from entrance until a prescribed period after high school graduation. Major League Baseball, the National Hockey League, NASCAR, professional tennis, professional golf, and professional boxing have no such rules. Individuals can also partake in professional acting, theater, music, and other entertainment professions without satisfying a period after high school graduation. The same is true of those who enlist in the U.S. armed forces and in various occupations that require maturity and discipline. Such an employment landscape raises inquiry as to why NFL and NBA teams, unlike so many other employers, would agree to boycott any candidate, regardless of talent or skill, until a prescribed period after high school graduation. This inquiry enjoys heightened interest when considering that NFL and NBA teams are incomparable employers, as players may not play in other leagues for similar compensation.

Suggested Citation

McCann, Michael and Rosen, Joseph, Legality of Age Restrictions in the NBA and the NFL. Case Western Reserve Law Review, Vol. 56, p. 731, 2006. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=881710

Michael A. McCann (Contact Author)

University of New Hampshire School of Law ( email )

Franklin Pierce Center for Intellectual Property
2 White Street
Concord, NH 03301
603.513.5254 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://law.unh.edu/about/personnel/faculty/michael-mccann

Sports Illustrated and SI.com

1271 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10020
United States

HOME PAGE: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/writers/michael_mccann/archive/index.html

Mississippi College School of Law

151 East Griffith Street
Jackson, MS 39157

HOME PAGE: http://law.mc.edu/faculty/profile_mccann.htm

Joseph Rosen

Orpheus Sports and Entertainment ( email )

77 Franklin Street
3rd Floor
Boston, MA 02110
United States
(617) 728-9111 (Phone)
(617) 695-3202 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.orpheusconsultants.com/partner_jrosen.htm

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