The spectre of 20 year olds practicing football with intent to play professionally has the NFL and its supporters spinning away. Meanwhile, across the pond in Scotland, Glasgow Rangers are making plans to train more teenagers:
The club have formed a separate entity to be known as Rangers Youth Development Company, in order to fast-track their stars of the future. Four businessmen - Ian Russell, Paul Murray, Jim Whitelaw and Walter Nimmo - have contributed Â£1 million and Rangers have doubled that amount to fund the project.
..."It will be a long time before what we want to happen happens. At the moment we have some of the best talent at Under-15 level and below, but it will take four or five years to see the best of them."
One can make a case that market division between the NFL and the NCAA over 18-20 year old football players raises the value of player development. Collegefootballl is fun to watch. But the primary motivation for the NFL is even more simple: it reduces their costs. The cartel-like ban on competing for younger players (nicely protected by insertion into the collective bargaining agreement) saves them from spending millions of dollars on developing young players.
Update: while the combination of higher value (the college game) and lower costs (for the NFL) suggests that the draft restriction on youth could maximize aggregate welfare, it does not guarantee it. Regardless, that is not the issue being argued in the Clarett case.