Explain to me the "USA-style draft" system

This Cricinfo story says that Cricket Australia have rejected a draft system, but it doesn’t actually say what this would involve. I know next to nothing about American sports.

So what is it?

I didn’t read the link, but you’re asking about an Australian sport. US draft rules probably don’t apply.

Read article: don’t understand why drafts weren’t explained.

How US leagues do drafts: teams select new players, usually college players, in inverse order of record, (i.e. worst teams get higher picks)

The US style draft generally has the worst teams getting the highest picks in the draft. Those picks allow the teams exclusive access to that player for a period of time. Occasionally the available salaries are set by the draft number, pick #1 gets a maximum of XX dollars, pick #2 YY dollars, etc. with a schedule of when the draftee has access to restricted or unrestricted free agency.

More fundamentally, just the idea that teams take turns selecting all unattached players, who then must play for that team.

I gather that right now the coaches and administrators just assign players to the teams.

Essentially all the players newly eligible to play a given sport register their interest, and then there’s a formal “draft” where each team picks one player per round in a specified order, usually based on the standings of the previous season, from worst to best.

So, if you were to look at this year’s NFL draft, the Houston Texans had the first pick in the first round, due to their abysmal record last season, and the Seattle Seahawks had the last pick in the first round due to winning the Super Bowl last season.

There’s often a lot of intrigue that goes on around it- teams trade players for draft picks, draft picks for draft picks, money for draft picks, and so on, in order to get players they want.

Football, basketball and soccer tend to be more directly affected by their draft choices, and the number of players drafted is not huge, since there aren’t really farm team systems. Hockey and baseball on the other hand, use their drafts to basically fill their farm team systems with new players, and then choose the top level players from the farm teams, so the number of players drafted is much much higher- upwards of 1000 for the baseball draft, and only 256 for the football draft.

Some systems aren’t strictly speaking predicated on the previous season’s standings- for example, the NBA(basketball) draft is determined by weighted lottery for the non-playoff teams, so that while the worst team may have the most chances to have a low draft pick, they won’t necessarily have the very first pick automatically.

It should be noted that US sports drafts almost exclusively involve domestic amateur players. In the NFL and NBA, that means college players (and foreigners in the NBA, too.) In Major League Baseball it’s high school and college players.

The NBA draft is slightly different. The worst teams (I’m not sure how many) have their names put into a metaphorical hat, with the worst team having more entries in the hat than the next worst team, etc., and then the Commissioner of the league draws a token. So the worst team doesn’t necessarily get the first pick.

Also, for reasons entirely impenetrable to me, US sports fans get really excited about drafts, particularly the NFL draft. To me, it’s a big day of “Pikachu, I choose YOU!”, but I loathe American “football”.

As such, I’m a bit surprised the cricketers rejected it; it’s obviously something that can be spun into a big hoopla and (I assume) make lots of money.

Not in Australia, especially not for cricket. It might work in the various Aussie football codes (rugby league, rugby union, and Australian rules), but it seems to me like a waste of time for cricket.

Most Australian cricket fans are largely concerned with cricket as an international sport. The ultimate aim, in promoting a domestic cricket competition, is to produce the best possible national team to play against countries like England, South Africa, India, the West Indies, New Zealand, etc. When i lived in Australia, i went to a few state games (Sheffield Shield and the one-day games), but the main focus of cricket fans is international competition.

Australian fans might get on board with the general idea of a draft if they felt that it was going to produce a better national team, but as a mechanism for ensuring parity and improved competition among the state teams, most people won’t care very much. Also, most Australians have basically no idea who the young cricket players are UNTIL they make the state or national teams.

What makes the NBA and NFL drafts such a massive deal in the United States is that the players themselves are already public figures, known to fans through years of playing in a nationally-televised college competition. It’s no coincidence that the MLB draft is nowhere near as big a deal. College baseball doesn’t have the public profile of college football or basketball.

Note that there were exceptions in US Drafts. The ABA assigned players by territory, that is, players from Indiana schools were drafted by the Indiana Pacers.

In 1959, Wilt Chamberlain was assigned to the Philadelphia Warriors as a “territorial pick”

And the whole purpose of drafts is not to promote parity, but to limit the options of a player because he can only negotiate with one team. So it reduces salaries.

If you’re talking about Australian cricket, its “national league” consists of one team for each of its six states. I think each one has its own youth training program (from which you work your way up to the top-level team); I don’t know if you have to live in that particular state to be part of it.

So… take a newly-available American Football player, perhaps up from College. He’s impressed in college sufficiently that he’s wanted by most, if not all, of the teams available, and is expected by pundits to make a real difference in teams this year. To join a team, he’d have to enter the draft, and then go play for whoever picks him? What if he doesn’t want to play in, say, Ohio? Maybe he has family in Miami. Do new players really not get choice?

Yup, that’s pretty much how it works. New players are slaves to the draft. They can choose to not sign and re-enter the draft again next year, but almost no one ever does because of the huge risk of injury, being forgotten, or being eclipsed by other rising stars. It’s a system that is fair to the team owners and pretty much no one else (though in the NFL it does do a fair job of ensuring parity, but that seems to be an unintended side effect.)

The ABA did not exist in 1959. The Philadelphia Warriors were an NBA team.

Are there not restriction of trade issues with that?

What would stop a really good amateur player saying “Sod the draft, I’m a free agent, if you want me, let’s talk terms”

He can force a trade, but he’s locked into the team that drafts him.

What would stop them would be all the owners of all the teams knowing that if even one of them signed a player that way it would break the whole system and the system is more valuable to them in the long run than any single player ever could be. Sports leagues have exemption from anti-trust laws so restriction of trade isn’t an issue.

Which HAS happened, but is also pretty rare.

Yup, it’s how Elway ended up in Denver and Eli became a Giant.

The exemptions from anti-trust law are pretty limited, I think, and they vary from league to league. I think (IANAL, just a fan) the drafts in the various professional leagues are legal not because of the anti-trust exemptions, but because they’ve been collectively bargained with the respective players’ unions.