Behind the Scenes at a Shortstop Factory
Via this post at the Immigration Prof Blog, I came across this interesting article on the website of the Council on Hemispheric Affairs about the alleged role of Major League Baseball in the exploitation of children in the Dominican Republic.
The issue has been raised many times before -- what, if any, responsibility does MLB itself, or the individual teams who run the baseball academies, have for the well-being of the vast majority of the kids who don't make it to the majors? The ones who quit school at ages as young as 12 or 13 and put all their eggs in the baseball basket as the only likely path out of poverty for them and their families.
One angle of which I hadn't been aware, though, was brought up in the comments by Eric Jackson, editor and publisher of The Panama News. Writes Jackson:
I got one mid-level Major League Baseball official, neither for attribution nor very categorically, to admit that there is some sort of arrangement between the NCAA and MLB about US university baseball programs not recruiting Latin American players.
Sherman Act problem? Well, there is, of course, baseball's antitrust exemption. And, if the activity that's being prevented is these players' recruitment to play college ball, is that "trade" or "interstate commerce" for purposes of the Act?
I had always assumed that young players who decide to forgo college and jump right to the pros were making a conscious decision -- if a foolish one -- to do so. If, in fact, there is some tacit agreement between the NCAA and MLB to prevent otherwise qualified players from attending U.S. universities, that's, and you'll pardon the pun, a whole different ballgame.
Posted by Eric Lipman on April 21, 2010 at 11:55 AM | Permalink
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