Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Connecting Minimum Age Restrictions in NBA/NFL with Jim Tressel and Ohio State mess

Sports Illustrated's Zach Lowe makes the connection in this piece, in which he interviews Alan Milstein, a contributor to this blog who litigated on behalf of former Ohio State running back Maurice Clarett in his antitrust challenge to the NFL's age limit in 2004 [I provided Alan with legal analysis during the litigation].

Here are a couple of excerpts of Zach's piece:
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As I devoured SI’s fantastic Jim Tressel reporting and the avalanche of stories covering Tressel’s resignation from Ohio State University, I kept thinking back to the concept of age limits in the NBA and other leagues, even though the age limit issue is not precisely implicated in the Tressel case.

Amid all the alleged details of no-show jobs, tattoos-for-memorabilia, small cash gifts and cars (oh so many cars), I asked myself two questions:

1) Why do we care about this?

2) Why are these players in college?

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The [NBA] has made noise about upping it to 20, a move the players’ union has said it opposes, even though the union does not represent players outside the league. Some members of that union — marginal veterans — have at least a slight interest in keeping the best 18-year-olds out of the league, right? Sources close to both sides have said the age limit is a very minor issue amid the collective bargaining talks, so it’s unclear exactly what the rule will look like a year from now.

Alan Milstein is a lawyer who represented Maurice Clarett in the Ohio State running back’s suit against the NFL’s age limit, and he has said before that he is looking around for the right player to challenge the NBA’s rule. Milstein told me today that any move to increase the age limit will accelerate his fight against it. “If they add another year, I have absolutely no doubt that somebody will be ready to challenge it,” Milstein said. “It will certainly make the pool of potential litigants bigger.”

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To read the rest, click here.