Do you like or dislike the idea of an NFL-style draft youth system for Scottish football? (https://t.co/iw5cjoemDw)— YFS (@yfst) January 21, 2016
Scotland's most promising youth players could soon make their senior débuts a lot sooner than in previous years as the Scottish Football Association is currently considering an NFL-style draft that sees SPFL academy players entering senior football in the Scottish Championship.
It follows a similar method outlined by the National Football League in the United States where the professional teams recruit players from college football teams. NFL teams that have finished bottom of their respective table usually get first preference in terms of players they want. There are seven rounds where NFL teams are rewarded eight eligible college players based on their league position.
In the case of 2015, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who finished bottom of the NFC South division, earned the first pick in that years NFL Draft and recruited Florida State University quarterback Jameis Winston. The method ensures that competition is high within the NFL whereby the lower ranked teams earn the best players to potentially increase the teams ranking.
But how would this work in the SPFL? Essentially, teams from the
Scottish Championship can pick up to five players from the SPFL Development league which is for players under twenty years old. Hypothetically, current U20 leaders Celtic could see their top five players join clubs towards the bottom of the Scottish Championship, who at the moment are Alloa Athletic, on loan for a season or two.
The lower teams in the Championship such as Alloa, Livingston and Dumbarton, currently at the foot of the Championship, will get first preference when it comes to recruiting players from the Development League.
The draft system was proposed by the Scottish FA and has been backed my manager Gordon Strachan. A presentation last Wednesday at Hampden Park was headed up by Strachan and Scottish FA Performance Director Brian McClair.
Celtic senior manager Ronny Deila says that the proposed draft system could prove successful across the SPFL. "It's important that the youngsters get experience and get a chance," he said. "That's why we rent out a lot of our younger players when they come to a stage of having trained with the first team, played with the U20s and need a new step in between.”
He also added that "other clubs are in the same situation as well. It's always positive to co-operate with other clubs and do what's best for Scottish football."
The proposals at the moment seem somewhat vague. The only way to fully illustrate it is if it comes into effect over the coming years.