ADELAIDE is bracing itself to be excluded from this year's national draft pending the AFL's investigation into its secret deal with Kurt Tippett, and has been told by the league that it cannot delist him.
Tippett, who was not traded by yesterday's deadline following an AFL directive on Monday that the Crows not move him on, now has only three of a possible four options available to him.
Under ordinary circumstances, the 25-year-old would have been able to sign with Sydney as a delisted free agent had the club cut him by next week's first list lodgement.
Now Tippett must decide whether to nominate for the national or the pre-season draft, where he can nominate a contract price. His fourth option, which clearly will not be taken, would be to re-sign with the Crows and remain in Adelaide.
Any decision he makes must be approved by the league, whose investigation into Tippett's role in the Crows' alleged $200,000 salary cap breach and side deal to trade him cheaply to the club of his choice could also lead to him suspended, fined or deregistered.
Tippett's best chance to reach Sydney seems to be the preseason draft, with the Swans able to reserve a selection and a spot on their list for him, and that option would have ramifications for Adelaide.
The deadline for national draft nominations is November 13, while the deadline for preseason draft nominations is November 28. Should Tippett wait until the preseason draft, Adelaide would go to the national draft on November 22 with the forward still on its list.
The Crows - should they somehow avoid exclusion from this year's draft - must have room on their list to make three mandatory selections and also upgrade Brad Crouch, their selection in last year's 17-year-old mini-draft.
The AFL has put no timeframe on its complex investigation, however the commission is due to meet on Monday, November 19, three days before the national draft.
Sydney remains committed to Tippett, having made him a $4 million, four-year offer. "Our position on Kurt has not changed, and pending the outcome of the AFL's current investigation, we remain committed to recruiting Kurt for the 2013 season," said chief executive Andrew Ireland.
Meanwhile, AFL Players Association president Matt Finnis last night expressed his concern at the AFL's directive that Tippett could not be traded.
''There's obviously an investigation underway that needs to be respected and the outcomes of that will be what they are, but we shouldn't lose sight of the fact that one of the parties has already been punished,'' Finnis told The Saturday Age last night.
''Kurt hasn't been allowed to avail himself of one of the processes that apply for the ordinary transfer of players, even though the window's not closed in the sense that transfer opportunities still exist though delisted free agency, the national draft and the preseason draft.''