Children Left Behind: The Effect of Major League Baseball on Education in the Dominican Republic
University of Texas Review of Entertainment & Sports Law, Vol. 11, Fall 2009
29 Pages Posted: 24 Mar 2010
Date Written: Fall 2009
Major League Baseball (MLB) employs over a thousand Dominican high school-aged boys in twenty-nine baseball academies around the impoverished country. Thousands of boys devote their young lives to the sport, because they view baseball as the only way off the island. Bird-dog scouts, known locally as ‘buscones', scour the Dominican countryside in search of talented middle school-aged boys. They do this in an effort to train them in an unofficial baseball training facility until they reach the age of sixteen, the legal signing age. At that time, buscones sell their commodities to the highest bidder. Once the boys get sold to a MLB team, they spend every waking hour playing baseball in the team's baseball academy. The boys are either sent to the U.S. to play baseball or left in the dust. An estimated ninety-seven percent of these boys get left behind. These boys find themselves without an education and without hope for a productive future. This article is written for them. This article discusses three topics: (1) MLB's effect on education in the Dominican Republic (DR); (2) the international legal standards that protect a child's right to an education; and (3) whether MLB has a legal obligation as a U.S. based multinational corporation (MNC) to provide a formal education to the children it employs in the DR. This article calls for MLB to enact a corporate policy that provides a formal education to all of its teams' Dominican child-employees within the baseball academies and offers two solutions that MLB should follow in order to avoid legal liability and to avoid negative publicity in the court of public opinion.
Keywords: baseball, baseball academy, Dominican Republic, steroids, education, Children Left Behind, buscone, Major League Baseball, age falsification, international law, labor law, alient tort claims act, ATCA, multinational corporation, MNC
JEL Classification: K00, K10, K13, K14, K19
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation