MLB must 'inform' Senate of exemption on minors

by Daryn Albert - The Senate Judiciary Committee asked Major League Baseball and commissioner Rob Manfred to explain the potential impact of stripping away the league's antitrust exemption on the minor leagues in a letter sent on Monday.

Senate Judiciary Committee asks MLB to explain potential impact of stripping away league's antitrust exemption on the minor leagues 9:07 PM ET Joon LeeESPN Close Previously a Staff Writer at Bleacher Report Cornell University graduate The Senate Judiciary Committee asked Major League Baseball and commissioner Rob Manfred to explain the potential impact of stripping away the league's antitrust exemption on the minor leagues. Democratic Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois and Republican Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa sent the letter on Monday and asked for a response from Manfred by July 26. The letter was also signed by Democrat Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Republican Senator Mike Lee of Utah. "Your answers will help inform the Senate Judiciary Committee's analysis of this century-old exemption," the letter reads. The Committee previously sent a letter in late June to non-profit group Advocates for Minor Leaguers, who recommended that Congress create legislation that nullifies the exemption for minor leaguers. Editor's Picks MLB settles case vs. minor leaguers for $185M 3d Jeff Passan Letter to Congress: Protect minor league rights 11d Jeff Passan 2 Related "We look forward to providing detailed information to the committee regarding baseball's limited antitrust exemption and how it has provided franchise location stability at the major league level, maximized the availability of minor league baseball for fans and quality employment opportunities for aspiring major leaguers," the league said in a statement. In a statement, Advocates for Minor Leaguers said that the exemption has "dire consequences for minor league baseball players and fans." The letter is the latest movement in regards to life in the minor leagues. On Friday, MLB agreed to pay minor leaguers $185 million to settle lawsuits of alleged violations of minimum wage laws. In 1922, the Supreme Court ruled that MLB was exempted from the Sherman Antitrust Law of 1890, allowing the league to have an effective monopoly on baseball in the United States. Outlawing MLB's antitrust exemption would fundamentally change the business of baseball in America. The uniform player contract signed by every minor leaguer states that teams control the rights of players for up to seven years in the minor leagues and seven years in the major leagues. Due to the antitrust exemption, if a minor leaguer decides to stop playing the sport before the seven years in the minors or the majors, the team owns the rights to the player and he cannot play the sport professionally elsewhere unless he is released from his contract.