Sports Law: Course Offerings

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.

CONTEMPORARY LEGAL ISSUES: 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: SELECTED TOPICS 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: SELECTED TOPICS IN SPORTS LAW – THE LEGAL HISTORY OF THE SPORTS INDUSTRY (2 credits) This seminar explores the ways in which the structure of the North American sports industry has been shaped by its intersection with the legal system since the birth of modern spectator sports in the final third of the nineteenth century. Topics explored include the regulation of prize-fighting in the nineteenth century, the impact of contract law on early baseball’s labor relations, the application of the antitrust laws to professional team sports, intellectual property law and sports broadcasting, the interaction between modern labor and antitrust in sports labor relations, and the recent efforts to limit franchise relocation and the use of performance-enhancing drugs in sports. Students in the seminar will be expected to participate in class discussions and to prepare a substantial research paper on a topic appropriate to the course.

SPORTS AS A SOCIAL INSTITUTION (3 Credits) This course explores the way in which sports law and culture shape and construct our ideas, perceptions, and assumptions about race, gender, and sexual orientation and how race, gender, and sexual orientation influence sports law and culture.  This course will draw upon cases, film, and legal, historical, and sociological scholarship to consider these relationships and connections.

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; andcritiques of the collegiate model of athletics.  Amateur Sports Law is a prerequisite. 

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: 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: REPRESENTING PROFESSIONAL ATHLETES AND COACHES (2 Credits) The study of the formation, interpretation, negotiation and enforcement of sports marketing contracts as well as coaches' contracts. Topics covered include the agent's role in representing professional athletes and coaches, contract compliance with professional sports league collective bargaining agreements, tax planning for the athlete, and the ethical duties of attorney agents. Professional Sports Law is a prerequisite.

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: SPORTS VENUES (2 Credits) The course is dedicated to the study of the legal, financial, developmental, and political creation of sports facilities in the United States. The course will examine the reasons for the stadium boom and proliferation of sports facilities in our country; the current debate relative to the desirability of public tax dollars underwriting sports venues; the ways in which sports facilities are financed and funded; the creation of governmental bodies known as stadium or taxing authorities; the development process and the real estate implications of stadium creation; the development of a long-term leasehold arrangement between landlord and tenant; litigation challenging government participation in financing and referendums; the creation of public-private partnerships and the risks, financial requirements, and nature of the partnership; the creation of contractually obligated income and the ways in which revenue generation meets the bottom line needs of all interested parties; construction implications relative to the creation of facilities including issues of cost overruns, insurance, and the ADA; relocation and retention issues relative to utilization of facilities for keeping the team at home; a review of the so-called facilities arms race in our universities and the nature of this race; and finally, trends for the future of stadium development.

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.

TOPICS IN ADVANCED LEGAL RESEARCH: 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.