Like Father, Like Son: Analyzing Australian Football’s Unique Recruitment Process

in Journal of Sport Management
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In 1949 the Australian Football League (AFL) introduced a distinctive father–son rule, which allows its member teams to prioritize the recruitment of the sons of former players who had played in a minimum number of games with that team. This paper reveals that some teams have been able to access a statistically significant advantage via this rule, confirming and quantifying that this unique exception compromised the AFL’s reverseorder player draft. In more recent times, through complex reforms, this advantage has been significantly dissipated. Discussion presents this rule as a conundrum for managers as despite potentially compromising the draft, it provides opportunities for off-field marketing communications strategies.

Mark F. Stewart, Constantino Stavros, Heather Mitchell, and Adrian J. Barake are with the Department of Economics, Finance & Marketing, RMIT University, Melbourne, VIC, Australia. Pamm Phillips is with the School of Management and Marketing, Deakin University, Melbourne, VIC, Australia.

Address author correspondence to Mark F. Stewart at mark.stewart@rmit.edu.au.