Northeastern University

MLB, Northeastern University team up to provide educational opportunities for players

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Major League Baseball and Northeastern University have issued press releases today announcing that they have teamed up to establish a program which provides professional baseball players access to higher education programs and degrees. The degree programs, which include both bachelors and graduate studies, will be available to players at all levels both during and after their baseball playing days.

The agreement follows last year’s inclusion of a continuing education program in MLB’s collective bargaining agreement. That provided funds for players to pursue educational development. While, presumably, players can attend other institutions, Northeastern is the “preferred” school, which likely gives players more opportunities if they go there. In addition to Northeastern’s main campus in Boston, it provides remote learning opportunities in Charlotte, Seattle, Silicon Valley, and Toronto.

Northeastern has also agreed to provide dedicated counselors and career advisors to ballplayers taking advantage of the program. It is also pledging to support MLB’s Front Office and Field Staff Diversity Pipeline Program by preparing players for roles in the front office or on-field staffs after their playing careers end.

While many U.S.-based players who are drafted out of high school get their drafting team to agree to cover college expenses in exchange for them foregoing playing college baseball, there are are large number who don’t get such deals. And, of course, a large number of international players who begin their professional baseball journey while still teenagers.

This program will hopefully allow players who choose baseball over their education while they’re young to do so without sacrificing as much as they once were forced to. It will likewise, hopefully, provide a softer landing for the vast majority of professional baseball players who never get close to the major leagues.

Report: Major League Baseball bans transactions with Mexican League teams

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Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports that Major League Baseball has banned all transactions with Liga Mexicana de Beisbol (LMB), popularly known as the Mexican League. As of now, all 30 teams are prohibited from signing players under contract with LMB teams. The ban was issued due to Major League Baseball’s contention that “corruption” and “fraud” run rampant in the player acquisition process.

Passan describes the issues in detail, and they sound pretty compelling. The upshot: LMB clubs — which have full control over their players — are taking advantage of them, taking most if not all of the signing bonuses MLB teams give them after negotiating for their rights. Mexican teams often sign players when they’re 15 years-old so that, once they are old enough for American teams to approach them, they’re in the position to take a usurious cut.

Passan says Major League Baseball is demanding greater transparency from LMB before it’s willing to lift the ban. He also says that the MLBPA is in “lockstep” with Major League Baseball on the matter, which makes sense given that, if MLB’s claims are accurate, players are being exploited here. He also says that if LMB does not change its ways, there is a “Plan B,” though it’s not clear what that is.

There aren’t a ton of Mexican players signed by MLB teams each year, but there are enough to make this a significant issue that is worth watching.