Sports Law: Course Offerings

ADVANCED LEGAL RESEARCH IN SPORTS LAW (2 Credits) This workshop focuses on advanced legal research methods and sources related to amateur and professional sports. Sources include administrative materials, treatises, practice materials, association regulations, commercial databases, and the Internet. Students will prepare a research plan that will describe and document their particular research methods used concerning a topic approved by the instructor. This workshop may be used to satisfy the Law School's advanced legal research requirement.

AMATEUR SPORTS LAW (3 Credits) This course covers various amateur sports law issues and focuses on legal regulation of interscholastic, intercollegiate, and Olympic sports. Topics covered may include constitutional law, tort law, contract law, Title IX gender discrimination, federal disability discrimination laws, the legal relationship between a university and its student athletes, regulatory authority of the National Collegiate Athletic Association, United States Olympic Committee, and high school athletic associations, antitrust law, resolution of disputes affecting Olympic sports (including the jurisdiction and operation of the Court of Arbitration for Sport), and regulation of private educational institutions and sports associations.

SPORTS LAW RESEARCH PROGRAM (1 or 2 credits).  Students selected for this research clinic will conduct extensive research and analysis of preselected resources within the sports industry under the supervision of the Director of the National Sports Law Institute. Research and analysis conducted might relate to Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), United States Olympic Committee (USOC), and United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) arbitration decisions, collegiate athletics coaching and administrative contracts, professional sports league agreements (CBA’s, drug testing policies, conduct rules), and professional sports franchise lease agreements.  The specific focus of the research conducted will be determined by the Director each semester. 

PROFESSIONAL SPORTS LAW (3 Credits) This course covers various legal issues affecting the professional sports industries and focuses on antitrust, labor, contracts, regulation of private associations, regulation of athlete agents and their ethical duties, and intellectual property and sports broadcasting issues.

SEMINAR: ADVANCED LEGAL WRITING IN SPORTS LAW (2 Credits) This seminar explores selected topics pertaining to professional and amateur sports. Topics may vary from semester to semester. The seminar features presentations by members of the Marquette faculty pertaining to sports law issues in their fields of study. Each student in the seminar will write a substantial research paper on a specific topic chosen in consultation with the instructor.  Either Amateur Sports Law or Professional Sports Law is a prerequisite for this seminar.

SEMINAR: THE JURISPRUDENCE OF SPORT (2 Credits) This seminar will explore the ways in which games and sports can illuminate dynamics and problems that arise in law and vice-versa. Both law and sports are primarily rule-governed activities, and thus both present similar fundamental (and thus often highly theoretical) questions regarding the formulation, application, and enforcement of those rules. These questions include: the extent to which formal, written rules (as opposed to informal norms) are the exclusive source of authority; what the mechanisms for the enforcement and application of those rules or norms should be; how to respond to situations in which a decision maker has imperfect information; whether and how to provide a right of appeal; how to distinguish between “cheating” and the strategic use of rules; and how to craft appropriate sanctions for violations. 

SPORTS INDUSTRY TAXATION ISSUES (2 Credits) This course will introduce students to a range of tax law, policy, and practice issues arising in the amateur and professional sports industries, including the construction and financing of sports facilities, college athletics, the compensation of professional athletes (including federal, state, and international tax issues), and the structure and operation of professional sports leagues and franchises (including choice of entity, day to day operations and business sale).  Federal Income Taxation of Individuals is a prerequisite.

WORKSHOP: LEGAL AND BUSINESS ISSUES IN COLLEGIATE ATHLETICS (2 Credits) A practical workshop applying the legal doctrines and theories covered in Amateur Sports Law to current legal and business issues affecting the regulation and governance of intercollegiate athletics. Topics covered and practical skills developed may relate to challenges to intercollegiate eligibility and amateurism rules, academic progress and graduation rates; the NCAA’s Legislative Services Database (LSDBi), and enforcement of NCAA rules (including proceedings before the Committee on Infractions and Infractions Appeals Committee); athlete privacy (e.g., FERPA and HIPPA regulations); gender equity compliance; prevention of sexual and racial harassment; application of the Equal Pay Act, Title VII and collegiate coaching contract disputes; legal rights of former student-athletes (e.g., exploitation of right of publicity); the economics of collegiate athletics; and critiques of the collegiate model of athletics.  Amateur Sports Law is a prerequisite. 

WORKSHOP:LEGAL AND BUSINESS ISSUES IN ESPORTS (2 credits) Esports sits at the intersection of sports, entertainment, and media. This hybrid industry regularly presents issues of first impression, requiring a holistic legal approach to address any issues. This course will examine the fundamental structure of the esports industry and the many complex contractual relationships that comprise it.

WORKSHOP: SPORTS FACILITIES: LEGAL AND ECONOMIC ISSUES SURROUNDING SPORTS STADIUMS AND ARENAS (2 Credits) A practical workshop examining legal and economic issues surrounding the development of a professional sports stadium or arena and agreements that define the relationship between a community and team and the facility the team calls home.  The course examines the reasons for the stadium and arena development and renovation boom; public and private partnerships created to build sports facilities; the debate over the use of public funding for facility creation; the economic viability and impact of the development of a stadium or arena in a community; the ways in which sports facilities are financed and funded; sports facility referenda and legislation that enables a community to build a sports facility; the development of a long-term leasehold arrangement between sports organizations and communities, and involving default, retention, relocation and alternative dispute resolution; litigation challenging government participation in financing, the referenda process and team movement; and trends for the future of stadium development in professional sports in the United States.

WORKSHOP: LEGAL ISSUES IN YOUTH, HIGH SCHOOL, AND RECREATIONAL SPORTS (2 Credits) A practical workshop applying the legal doctrines and theories covered in Amateur Sports Law to current legal issues affecting the regulation and governance of youth, high school and recreational sports. Topics covered and practical skills developed may relate to the application of the Federal Volunteer Protection Act; review of constitution/bylaws of youth sports organizations for legal compliance; comparative analysis of high school athletic associations and their status as state actors; constitutional rights in high school athletics; student-athlete prayer; gender equity compliance and concerns in high school athletic programs; prevention of sexual and racial harassment and hazing of student-athletes; waivers and releases of tort liability for injuries; premises liability; recreational safety and user statutes; legal duties of care and risk management; and participation rights of homeschooled students.  Amateur Sports Law is a prerequisite.

WORKSHOP: NAME-IMAGE-LIKENESS (NIL) IN TODAY'S COLLEGE ATHLETICS (2 Credits) Will focus on the emergence of Name-Image- Likeness (NIL) in college athletics including a modern view of permissible student-athlete-led NIL activities. Themes covered in the workshop will include consideration of NCAA rules, state laws, and federal bills affecting amateurism, agents, recruiting, eligibility, boosters, NIL collectives, contracts, and intellectual property. The workshop will include examination of real-world NIL transactions in the context of NCAA rules and university NIL policies and procedures.

WORKSHOP: NCAA GOVERNANCE AND COMPLIANCE (2 Credits) This workshop will primarily be focused on NCAA Division I rules and regulations and will provide students with practical knowledge of the topics.  Topics covered will include NCAA governance and membership, specific Division I bylaws, NCAA Enforcement, interpretation process, waiver writing and legislative process as they relate to Division I.  This course will include hands-on experience using the NCAA’s Legislative Services Database (LSDBi) and NCAA Eligibility Center.  The course may also include “hot topic” issues that arise during the course of the semester.

WORKSHOP: SPORTS INDUSTRY GOVERNANCE (2 Credits) This course will focus on the intersection of legal and business issues that professional sports leagues and their member clubs encounter on a regular basis and their practical implications. Using the National Football League’s organization, business operations, and litigation experience as a point of reference, the course will examine the tensions between the business objectives of the league, its clubs, players, sponsors and fans as well as the developing legal precedents that govern these relationships.

WORKSHOP: SPORTS SPONSORSHIP - LEGAL AND BUSINESS ISSUES  (2 Credits)  This course will introduce students to a variety of sports sponsorship and marketing legal and business issues, particularly contract and intellectual property laws as applied to sports marketing arrangements and sports sponsorship agreements as well as their underlying business objectives and risks.  It will focus on the development of practical legal skills, including how to effectively negotiate and draft sports sponsorship and marketing contracts and to protect a client’s contract and intellectual property rights in connection with sports sponsorship agreements and marketing arrangements.  Professional Sports Law or Intellectual Property Law is a prerequisite for this course.

WORKSHOP: THE IMPACT OF GENDER EQUITY LAW ON SPORT (2 Credits) A practical and comprehensive overview of the ways in which gender equity laws and concerns have impacted youth, high school, college and U.S. Olympic sport.  The course will review the development of Title IX, the Clery Act, Title VII, the Equal Pay Act, and the Campus Save Act, among other laws.  It will then analyze the following areas of specific application to sport, including; what is considered to be a sport under these laws, the laws’ impact on athletics specific to participation opportunities (the 3 and 2 part tests), the policy interpretation and federal interpretive guidance, program benefits and aid, claims brought by male and female participations, discrimination, sexual harassment, violence, bullying and retaliation, transgender participation, employment discrimination, constitutional law, gender testing and Safesport initiatives.

WORKSHOP: WORKING AS IN-HOUSE COUNSEL IN PROFESSIONAL SPORTS (2 Credits) A practical workshop applying the legal doctrines and theories covered in Professional Sports Law and other courses to current legal and business issues affecting in-house counsel for professional sports teams in MLB and the NBA. Topics covered may relate to league governance and reporting structures; collective bargaining agreements and work stoppages; marketing, including athlete rights of publicity, sponsorships, social media, sweepstakes and promotions, re-branding, and other intellectual property concerns; stadium and arena development, including host non-sports events; and the effects of COVID-19 on team and business operations. Practical skills developed include ability to: respond to inquiries on legal matters and proactively provide legal advice on decisions related to team activities and policies; analyze marketing proposals and spot trademark, branding, and other issues; draft rules for sweepstakes and other contests; and negotiate with outside counsel over contract terms.

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