2011 Sports Law Internet Survey

In 1999, the National Sports Law Institute published its first survey to identify sports law courses and extracurricular activities currently offered at U.S. law schools.  This survey was conducted again in 2003 and 2010.  

From March to October 2011, the NSLI conducted a review of the institutional websites of members of the American Association of Law Schools (AALS) to determine how they provide information related to each institution’s coverage of sports law as an area of study.

As with past surveys, this survey focused on the following areas:

  • Courses offered
  • Professors teaching these courses (full time or adjunct)
  • Student organizations
  • Journals or law reviews
  • Other activities or opportunities available to students

The following executive summary provides an overview of the results obtained from the 2011 internet survey.  Where appropriate, comparisons are made to the results of the 1999, 2003, and 2010 surveys.

2011 Executive Summary

The 2011 survey results again show that a majority of law schools across the country continue to offer at least one sports law course.  Overall, an astounding 84% (167 out of 198) of the schools reviewed offer at least one sports law course.  Of the few schools that do not offer a sport specific course, many schools have some sports law opportunity via student organizations or competition teams.

Consistent with past survey results, there are several schools that offer more than one sports law course.  In 1999, 11% (13 out of 116) of the schools who responded offered more than one sports law course.  In 2003, this percentage rose to 21% (17 out of 80).  The 2010 survey found similar results with 25% (14 out of 55) of the respondents offering more than one sports law course. The 2011 internet survey found that only 17% (34 out of 198) of the schools reviewed offer two or more sports law courses, but the number of schools (34) is still twice that found in the earlier surveys.

The data from the four surveys also shows that since 1999, there has been a significant increase in schools offering sports law courses taught by full-time faculty.  The number of schools with full-time faculty teaching sports law courses has increased from 27% (29 of 116) in 1999 to 49% (81 out of the 167 schools that offer a sports law course) in the 2011 internet survey.  This trend shows that schools have devoted the resources necessary to have full-time faculty members teaching these courses.  This commitment of full-time faculty resources demonstrates that more law schools recognize the educational value of having sports law courses as part of their curriculum.  In addition, full-time professors can be proactive in encouraging and supervising student journals, sports law societies, and other activities, as they tend to be on campus more frequently and have more direct contact with students beyond the classroom than adjunct professors.

Other interesting results from the 2011 internet survey include: 

  • Three schools (6%), Florida Coastal School of Law, Marquette University Law School, and Tulane University Law School, provide students the opportunity to earn a certificate of specialization in sports law.   
  • Twelve schools (6%) publish a sports law review or journal and Florida Coastal School of Law publishes the online Journal of NCAA Compliance
  • A staggering one-hundred and sixty-seven schools (84%) have a student sports law society.
  • Five schools (Loyola Law School, Marquette University Law School, Vermont Law School, Dickinson School of Law, and Thomas Jefferson School of Law) and  have a sports law institute or center.
  • Forty (20%) of the schools reviewed also publicize that they enter student teams that participate in the Sports Law Moot Court competitions.  This is an increase from the 2003 survey that found that 16% (13 of 80) of the schools provided this opportunity.