Sports Law • Risk Management


August 4, 2010: Cash Collection by Volunteers for Club Sports

Here is a scenario that commonly occurs: You oversee the operations of a non-profit youth club sport. To keep costs down, you use volunteers to process registration applications and to collect game day and tournament fees. This is a brilliant plan to use volunteers because parents gladly give their time to support the team for which their son or daughter plays.

July 30, 2010: “The right to swing my fist ends where the other man’s nose begins.” Oliver Wendell Homes

The above quote can also be applied to sports and recreation if you substitute golf club, bat or racquet with “fist”. However, the problem with golf, baseball, tennis and other sports is probably more with lack of attention than what Justice Homes is referring to, which is most likely the intentional swinging of fists rather than with the above mentioned sports….unless you’re talking about hockey.
An example of a court case involving a golf club swing is Hemady v. Long Beach Unified School District, et al., 49 Cal. Rptr.3d 464, 143 Cal.App.4th 566 (2006). In this case, Jane Hemady, a twelve year old student, filed a lawsuit against the Long Beach Unified School District, after she was hit in the face with a golf club that was swung by another student while she was taking a golf class for seventh grade physical education.

July 27, 2010: The Ruling: Cheerleading Not a Sport

In a much publicized Title IX suit, a federal judge ruled against Quinnipiac University. As part of the judge’s decision, the judge declared that cheerleading at Quinnipiac is not a sport. Thus, in its current state, cheerleading cannot be counted towards Title IX compliance at Quinnipiac.

As shocking as this ruling seems on its face, arguably this might not be a setback for women in athletics. Although the judge did not allow Quinnipiac to count cheerleading towards Title IX compliance, this in effect can offer more opportunities for women to participate in athletics.

July 26, 2010: Fundamentals of Disaster Planning for Sports and Recreation Organizations

There are three fundamentals that your organization should keep in mind when preparing for potential disasters.

1. Plan to save human lives;
2. Plan to protect physical resources; and
3. Plan for Continuity of the sport programs and organization.

When addressing the concern for saving human lives, it is a good idea to list those persons whose lives you are seeking to protect. Sports and recreation programs generally will list athletes, participants, coaches, employees, fans, customers, clients, managers, suppliers, vendors, and any other people that might be on the premises should a disaster strike.

July 21, 2010: Proximate Cause: An Essential Element of Negligence

As you may understand, negligence is conduct that falls below a reasonable standard. A plaintiff in a lawsuit must prove the elements of negligence, including that there is a proximate causal connection between the negligent conduct and the resulting injury. If you’ve ever wondered if a plaintiff’s alleged injuries are related to the injury that he suffered and is blaming on your organization or facility, you are really wondering if the plaintiff can prove proximate cause.

July 20, 2010: Unpaid Internship Test

The U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division (“WHD”) in April 2010 published guidance for for-profit businesses who utilize unpaid interns. The fact sheet can be found at:

To avoid infringing on the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) which imposes minimum wage laws for qualified employees, WHD has introduced a six part test to keep alive the integrity of internships. Factor one is that the internship must simulate an “educational environment” by incorporating training into the program. Essentially the business should not be in reliance on the intern’s productivity for its routine business, yet interns should learn new skills.