By James Landry* and Thomas A. Baker III, Ph.D.** Download a PDF version of this article here. This Article addresses the black market for college athlete services that results from the NCAA’s restrictions on athlete compensation based on the purported need to preserve amateurism. Specifically, this Article focuses on the NCAA’s name, image, and likeness (NIL) restrictions that prevent college… read more
In 2016, Christopher Correa, a former employee of the St. Louis Cardinals, was sentenced to forty-six months in prison for violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act when he accessed a Houston Astros database without authorization. However, these were not the only charges Correa could have faced. This note uses the Correa case to illustrate how the Economic Espionage Act can be used to prevent trade secret theft in Major League Baseball. More specifically, this note asserts that the sabermetric data systems used by MLB teams to evaluate and track players are legally protectable trade secrets. Furthermore, due to the fluid nature of the baseball analytics talent pool and barriers to civil prosecution inherent in baseball’s structure, the Economic Espionage Act presents the best way to combat the misappropriation of this information. The note goes on to distinguish between teams’ off-field and on-field tactics and discusses how, if at all, this framework should apply to the collection and use of biometric data.
This note argues that morals clauses remain important in talent contracts, despite the liberalization of the modern moral climate. Morals clauses, express and implied, are employed to terminate a contract when talent misbehaves. These clauses have a storied history, but are still relevant despite the considerable changes in social norms since they were first implemented. These clauses are applicable to various sectors of the entertainment industry, including motion picture, television, athletics, and advertising. Their popularity has also led to the implementation of reverse morals clauses, which protect the employee from improprieties of the employer. The outgrowth of Internet and social media has only made such clauses more important, by providing more opportunities for talent misbehavior and public embarrassment. This note finds that morals clauses remain relevant, effectual, nuanced, and flexible, well suited to adapt to a changing legal and cultural landscape.
Every year in the Dominican Republic, hundreds of boys enter baseball academies run by one of Major League Baseball’s (MLB) franchise teams. When the vast majority of these athletes, who have devoted their lives to baseball, eventually wash out of the academy system after two or three years, they are thrown back into the working population with little education and no transferrable skills to show for the years they spent playing baseball. In the Dominican Republic, the situation is exacerbated by the treatment that players receive before they even get to the MLB academies, by independent handler-agents known as buscones. Given the type and scope of labor rights violations that occur as a result of MLB’s presence in the Dominican Republic, MLB should promulgate a voluntary corporate code of conduct to govern the relationship between MLB and buscones in the Dominican Republic. Any solution should encourage cooperation between MLB, the teams, buscones, and the Dominican government, instead of punishing players or forcing teams to leave the Dominican Republic if violations are found.
When student-athletes seek representation or advisement to evaluate post-collegiate playing opportunities, their eligibility may be in jeopardy. Steven Olenick suggests a checks and balance system to truly evaluate post-collegiate playing opportunities for students.