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The Big Leagues Go to WashingtonCongress and Sports Antitrust, 1951-1989$
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David George Surdam

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780252039140

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252039140.001.0001

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Should Antitrust Apply to Sports? 1957 and 1958

Should Antitrust Apply to Sports? 1957 and 1958

(p.87) 6 Should Antitrust Apply to Sports? 1957 and 1958
The Big Leagues Go to Washington

David George Surdam

University of Illinois Press

This chapter focuses on the Congressional hearings conducted in 1957 and 1958 to address whether basketball, football, and hockey should be given a broad antitrust exemption similar to that of baseball. It first considers the introduction of different bills pertaining to professional sports and antitrust following the Supreme Court's ruling in Radovich v. NFL, with particular emphasis on antitrust legislation focusing on the National Football League (NFL), before discussing the farm systems in baseball and hockey pioneered by Branch Rickey of the St. Louis Cardinals. It also looks at the issue of the reserve clause and its effect upon competitive balance and concludes with an assessment of Congress's decision not to grant even partial antitrust exemptions for the reserve clause, draft, territorial rights, and commissioner powers in the NFL, National Basketball Association (NBA), and National Hockey League (NHL).

Keywords:   antitrust exemptions, Congressional hearings, baseball, Radovich v. NFL, antitrust legislation, National Football League, farm system, reserve clause, National Basketball Association, National Hockey League

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