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Fall 2023 Course

Sports and the Law: Examining the Legal History and Evolution of America’s Three “Major League” Sports: MLB, NFL and NBA

Prerequisites: None

Exam Type: Last Class Take-home

This introductory Sports Law course will offer an overview of the three major sports that dominate the American sports scene today: Major League Baseball, the National Football League, and the National Basketball Association. The course will devote approximately equal time to each of these three major sports and compare/contrast the similarities and differences among them, from a historical legal perspective. Other professional sports, including hockey, soccer, and golf, will also be discussed via updated links to the most relevant Sports Law news. These links will be provided prior to each class.

Specifically, the course will evaluate the legal evolution of America’s “three major leagues” and examine how the Supreme Court’s, other courts’, and arbitrators’ landmark decisions have affected the path of each league’s progress. Guest Speakers with unique Sports Law expertise will be invited to help guide class discussions on selected topics throughout the course.

Class participation and successful completion of weekly assignments will count for a significant portion of the student’s final grade. In Week Three, a graded “Reflection Paper” on a relevant Sports Law topic will be assigned in preparation for the Final Exam. Other weeks, less formal Pass/Fail writing assignments will be assigned on topics with the then-greatest relevance to the course. The Final Exam will be available on the last day of the course and due on the last day of the Fall Semester.

Enrollment is available to second year, third year and LLM students. For JD students who take this course, independent writing projects can be pursued on any topic in the course for an additional one, or possibly two, credits.

Students who are interested in the winter or spring 2024 Sports Law Clinic are strongly encouraged to enroll in both of Professor Carfagna’s fall courses: “Sports and the Law: Examining the Legal History and Evolution of Americas Three “Major League” Sports: MLB, NFL and NBA” and “Sports Law: Advanced Contract Drafting.”

The “Sports Law: Advanced Contract Drafting” 2-credit seminar will provide students the opportunity to negotiate and draft agreements that a lawyer advising a sports team would encounter. Students in the seminar will learn about the various components of complex deal documents and have the opportunity to then draft these documents. Students in the seminar will also explore and experiment with negotiating strategies. Overall, the goal of the seminar is to have students master skills related to negotiating, drafting, and analyzing the various “moving parts” of complicated agreements regarding stadium leasing; naming rights; sponsorship; media rights; food and beverage; provision of medical; hospital and financial services; state-operated entities; and purchase and sale of sports teams.

Please see the clinic’s description or review the Sports Law Clinic Guide for more information. More information about the clinic can also be found in the Sports Law Clinic Q&A on the OCP website.

Note: This course will meet for the first six weeks of the term.