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Ryan Piurek
IU Media Relations

Last modified: Tuesday, April 13, 2004

MLBPA Executive Director Donald Fehr to discuss current issues in sports at IU Bloomington

Donald Fehr

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Donald Fehr, who as executive director and general counsel of the Major League Baseball Players Association has preserved one of professional sports' and the nation's strongest unions, will discuss "Current Issues in Sports" during a lecture on Monday (April 19) at Indiana University Bloomington.

The lecture will begin at 3 p.m. in Whittenberger Auditorium at the Indiana Memorial Union. A reception will follow at 4 p.m. in the IMU's University Club.

Fehr, who received a bachelor of arts degree in political science at IUB in 1970, joined the MLBPA as general counsel in 1977 and was named executive director in 1985. He serves as the players' chief negotiator in collective bargaining with major league owners. His other responsibilities include contract administration, grievance arbitration and pension and health care matters.

The MLBPA is the collective bargaining representative for all current Major League Baseball players. Currently, the MLBPA represents 1,200 players, or the number of players on each club's 40-man roster, in addition to any players on the disabled list.

In the mid-1970s, Fehr assisted the MLBPA's defense of players Andy Messersmith and Dave McNally, who challenged the legality of baseball's claim to the right to perpetually renew a player's contract, essentially binding the player to one club for life or until the club decided to get rid of the player. An independent arbitrator granted the players the right to "free agency" in 1975, putting an end to the perpetual renewal right that clubs had claimed for more than a century. The milestone decision paved the way for increased player rights in other sports.

In 1990, Fehr successfully negotiated the $280 million settlement of baseball's free agency collusion cases. He has since worked to continue the legacy -- set forth by the MLBPA's first executive director, Marvin Miller -- of keeping players united, well informed and educated on the issues that involve both their professional and personal lives.

Fehr's visit to Bloomington is sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences and the Varsity Club.