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Fall 2021 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

Class participation and successful completion of weekly assignments will count for a significant portion of the student’s final grade.

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 and soccer, will also be discussed via updated links to the most relevant Sports Law news, which links will be provided prior to each class.

Specifically, it 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.

Additionally, this course will address contemporary Sports Law topics, including COVID-19’s impact upon the three major leagues, the recently executed 2020 NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement, and the world of esports (professional video gaming).

“Reflection Papers” will be assigned on a periodic basis (2-3 Papers in total), on the then most-relevant Sports Law topics, in preparation for the Final Exam. “Discussion Posts” will also be included on 2-3 topics of the then-greatest relevance to the course.

Guest Speakers with unique Sports Law expertise will be invited to help guide class discussions on selected topics throughout the course.

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 taking this course and who are interested in sports law clinical placements during winter or spring are strongly encouraged to enroll in the 2-credit fall “Sports and the Law: Advanced Contract Drafting.” This 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.

This course fulfills the pre-requisite for the Sports Law Clinic. Please see the clinic’s description or review the Sports Law Clinic Guide for more information.

Note: 8 classes / first 9 weeks.

Students who are interested in the winter or spring 2022 Sports Law Clinic are strongly encouraged to enroll in both of Prof. Carfagna’s fall courses: “Sports and the Law: Examining the Legal History and Evolution of America’s Three “Major League” Sports: MLB, NFL and NBA” and “Sports Law: Advanced Contract Drafting.”