United States Sports Law

Subject LAWS70165 (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 7 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject is not offered in 2016.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: The total class time is between 24 and 26 hours.
Total Time Commitment:

The pre-teaching period commences four weeks before the subject commencement date. From this time, students are expected to access and review the Reading Guide that will be available from the LMS subject page and the subject materials provided by the subject coordinator, which will be available from Melbourne Law School. Refer to the Reading Guide for confirmation of which resources need to be read and what other preparation is required before the teaching period commences.

Prerequisites: None
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge:

Applicants without legal qualifications should note that subjects are offered in the discipline of law at an advanced graduate level. While every effort will be made to meet the needs of students trained in other fields, concessions will not be made in the general level of instruction or assessment. Most subjects assume the knowledge usually acquired in a degree in law (LLB, JD or equivalent). Applicants should note that admission to some subjects in the Melbourne Law Masters will be dependent upon the individual applicant’s educational background and professional experience.

Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

The Melbourne Law Masters welcomes applications from students with disabilities. The inherent academic requirements for study in the Melbourne Law Masters are:

  • The ability to attend a minimum of 75% of classes and actively engage in the analysis and critique of complex materials and debate;
  • The ability to read, analyse and comprehend complex written legal materials and complex interdisciplinary materials;
  • The ability to clearly and independently communicate in writing a knowledge and application of legal principles and interdisciplinary materials and to critically evaluate these;
  • The ability to clearly and independently communicate orally a knowledge and application of legal principles and interdisciplinary materials and critically evaluate these;
  • The ability to work independently and as a part of a group;
  • The ability to present orally and in writing legal analysis to a professional standard.

Students who feel their disability will inhibit them from meeting these inherent academic requirements are encouraged to contact the Disability Liaison Unit: www.services.unimelb.edu.au/disability/


For more information:

Email: law-masters@unimelb.edu.au
Phone: +61 3 8344 6190
Website: www.law.unimelb.edu.au/masters

Subject Overview:

This subject is for those interested in how United States (US) intercollegiate, Olympic and professional sports are internally structured and governed and externally regulated by a wide variety of federal and state laws. Those who have taken this subject say it provides ‘great insights into the US sports law industry’ and ‘a thorough and interesting look at how things are done in the US sports industry and the role the US law system plays in the administration of sports’.

Taking this subject provides students with a comparative sports law perspective by studying how US law shapes and regulates the major North American professional sports leagues’ business models as well as the relationships among their member clubs and with their players and labor unions. It also looks at the ‘amateur’ model of intercollegiate athletics and the nature of the legal relationships between universities and studentathletes along with the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s governing authority and legal limits thereon. This subject considers how Olympic sports are governed by the United States Olympic Committee pursuant to the legal framework established by the Ted Stephens Olympic and Amateur Sports Act. In addition, it covers some important legal issues affecting sports at each of these different levels of athletic competition such as protection of intellectual property and athlete health, safety and injury compensation issues.

The lecturer is the director of the premier sports law institute in the US and an internationally recognised sports law scholar who has substantial experience as a sports arbitrator, attorney and expert witness.

This subject will consider how intercollegiate, Olympic and professional sports are internally governed and regulated by the United States legal system.

Principal topics will include:

  • Structure and organisation of US sports
  • Regulating intercollegiate athletics, specifically the legal relationship between a university and its student athletes, university duty to protect student athletes’ health and safety, National Collegiate Athletic Association rules infraction enforcement process, scope of judicial review of NCAA rules and enforcement proceedings, antitrust issues and gender equity issues
  • Regulating Olympic sports within the US, including limits on use of national law to regulate Olympic sports and the operation of the United States Anti-doping Agency
  • Regulating professional athletics, specifically internal league governance and commissioner authority, antitrust limits on internal league governance, labor law and relations, labour arbitration, drug testing issues, and the injury compensation system for professional athletes as well as the legal framework for regulating athlete agents
  • Protection of sports-related intellectual property under US law.
Learning Outcomes:

A student who has successfully completed this subject should:

  • Understand how professional, Olympic and intercollegiate sports are regulated by the United States legal system, and be able to make comparisons with the legal regulation of Australian sports
  • Understand the key historical, sociological, economic and public policy issues influencing the development of US professional, Olympic and intercollegiate sports
  • Understand the differing internal processes for regulating professional, Olympic and intercollegiate sports within the US
  • Understand how various aspects of American public law, particularly antitrust and labour law, shape and constrain the internal regulatory authority of private sports leagues and organisations
  • Understand how sports-related intellectual property is protected by US law as well as the limits on the nature and scope of such protection
  • Be able to use this knowledge effectively in matters involving US sports organisations, leagues and athletes.

10,000 word research paper (100%) on a topic approved by the subject coordinator

Prescribed Texts:

Core subject materials will be provided free of charge to all students. Some subjects require further texts to be purchased. Details regarding any prescribed texts will be provided prior to the commencement of the subject.

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Links to further information: www.law.unimelb.edu.au/subject/LAWS70165/2013

This subject has a quota of 30 students. Please refer to the website www.law.unimelb.edu.au/masters/courses-and-subjects/subjects/subject-timing-and-format for further information about the management of subject quotas and waitlists.

Related Course(s): Graduate Diploma in Legal Studies
Graduate Diploma in Sports Law
Master of Commercial Law
Master of Laws

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