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#UrsinusSummer: The Economics of Baseball

Superstar professional athletes make millions of dollars and seem to be set for life, but for minor league baseball players, the road to financial security is a long and uncertain one. Dave Drea ’19



Faculty Mentor: Heather O’Neill, Business and Economics

Countless academic and editorial articles argue against the exploitation of young professional baseball players who are being paid lower amounts of money based purely on their amateur status, as opposed to their skill or value brought to the team, says David Drea ’19. He is working with Heather O’Neill, a professor of business and economics who has published research on baseball, to examine professional baseball and labor market exploitation. 

“A lot of the academic literature says they are being exploited, but most of them don’t look into the research and development of players, specifically in the minor leagues,” Drea says. “They don’t look into some of the other perks that could make up for any lost value that they could see in their salary.” 

Drea’s goal is to examine the topic further and help determine whether or not minor league baseball players are truly being exploited, or if the benefits outweigh the lack of a standard paycheck. 

“My research is hopefully going against conventional wisdom in this field,” he says. “I want to have a broader understanding about pro sports and their labor markets given that I’d like to pursue a career as a sports agent representing sports players.”