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Monday, July 21, 2008
Catching Up with Some Links

I've been meaning to post on these stories, hope you have a chance to check them out:

~ USA Today's Douglas Robson interviews Rick and me for his story on the ATP antitrust lawsuit, the trial for which began today in the U.S. District Court in Wilmington, Delaware.

~ The Tennessean's John Glennon examines the legal issues surrounding Nashville Predators' forward Alexander Radulov, who is signed to play for the Predators next season, but recently signed a three-year deal with Salavat Yulaev Ufa of Russia’s Continental Hockey League. The Predators' are weighing their legal options.

~ Jason Chung has a thought-provoking post on The Situationist on whether the Beijing Summer Olympics will bridge political differences between countries in conflict with one another.

~ I have a new column on Congress becoming more interested in the Tim Donaghy/NBA referee betting scandal in the wake of learning that Donaghy repeatedly called another referee, Scott Foster, before and after games which Donaghy bet on.

~ Darren Heitner of Sports Agent Blog has a really good piece on Brandon Jennings (photo above), the high school senior who's decided to skip college and go play in Italy, signing a multi-million, multi-year deal to play for Pallacanestro Virtus Roma. Marc Isenberg of Money Players also has a thoughtful piece on Jennings deciding to earn income for the required one-year following high school in order to be eligible for the NBA draft (Jennings will apparently stay in Italy for more than one year, which may in part explain why the Italian team was willing to pay him so much).

I've argued against the NBA's age limit many times--since 2005, eligibility for the NBA draft requires that an amateur player of American origin be at least 19 years old on December 31 of the year of the NBA draft and that at least one NBA season must have passed from when he graduated from high school, or when he would have graduated from high school, and the NBA draft. Jennings, however, could be the start of a new trend where star players right out of high school go to Europe and make a lot of money and then later come back to the U.S. and be eligible for the NBA draft -- presumably with a lot of money already in the bank, much like many of the international players who now join the NBA (to illustrate: Knicks' 2008 first round pick Danilo Gallinari, who is 19-years old and has played pro basketball in Italy since he was 15, has already earned millions in both basketball income and endorsement income).

So imagine you are 18-years old and are an NBA prospect. What would sound better for one year (after which you would be eligible for the NBA draft):

1) earning a ton of money to play basketball in Rome or another European city; or

2) earning no money, but getting to live in the U.S. and enjoy the college experience while playing for Georgetown or Duke or the like?

I could see why some players would elect to stay in the U.S. Being the "big man on campus" plus being closer to home and closer to the U.S. media would have their advantages. But it must be tough to pass up all that money in Europe, especially given the ever-present risk of getting injured and no longer attracting the notice of NBA scouts. Plus living in Rome (or Barcelona or Athens etc.) would probably be a lot of fun and a good cultural experience.



This is an interesting post.

Anonymous Rechtsanwalt -- 7/22/2008 6:54 AM  

Interesting. The "less than two minutes" description is very familiar to anyone who has read The Dowd Report.

While "their frequency, timing and duration establish only that those two men spoke often," the duration is at best worth investigating.

Blogger Ken Houghton -- 7/22/2008 10:14 AM  

I think here the real point of Jennings' going to Europe is not that he wanted to make money now. He was on his way to play at Arizona, but his grades didnt qualify.

The way the overseas transfers may look is that kids will say to themselves, why should I try in school, I will go to Europe and play there for money. Why wait until after high school to do that, just like every other European. But the players want to go to college, and they need to think of a way to keep the players here.

Anonymous Anonymous -- 7/22/2008 12:19 PM  

I definitely see how Jennings's incentives clearly point him towards Europe (especially with the grade difficulty) and that he will earn substantial money instead of donating his services to Arizona and incurring the risk of never achieving the big pay day.

I also agree with the thought that other kids will mimic his decision under the current age limit regime and opt to go to Europe instead of college.

However, I have issue with the pandora's box theory holding up as an argument against the age limit because a 16 or 17 year old phenom may share the same incentives to leave high school early.

I haven't seen much discussion on this point, and your mention of Danilo Gallinari made me think of it. We see countless golf and tennis stars effectively quit school to train, and I just think its interesting that there might be incredible incentive for a high school athlete to leave early from there too.

I imagine a OJ Mayo type individual who recieved hype from very early on. He could have easily played professionally in Europe at 15 and 16 and earned significant money.

Is this the next wave? Does it undermine the pandora's box argument against the age limit?

Anonymous Anonymous -- 7/22/2008 12:42 PM  

On the hockey player's situation, involving the contractual interference, wouldn't there be jurisdiction in American courts if the interference occurred here? I wouldn't think the Predators would have to go to Russia which would be key in the case.

Anonymous Ryan -- 7/22/2008 12:53 PM  

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