Sports Law • Risk Management


March 25, 2011: Nader Proposes To Do Away With Athletic Scholarships

If colleges were no longer permitted to offer athletic scholarships, how would the game change? The Seattle Times reported late last night that Ralph Nader is seeking to change the way the game of sports is played at the university level.

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 15, 2010: Motherhood vs. Professional Athlete

How does a woman choose between being at the top of her game or in becoming a mom? One particular sport’s organization help mom’s do both. The L.P.G.A. Tour assists women golfers by providing complimentary day care during domestic events. By supporting moms, the tour can continue to attract the sport’s top athletes.

Sometimes, however, athlete sponsors put indirect pressure on female athletes to avoid pregnancy. Some sponsors impose contract clauses which require an athlete to maintain a certain level of success in athletic competition.

July 14, 2010: A Lesson From Wal-Mart in Crowd Control

Managing crowd control is a lesson that can be learned from Wal-Mart. The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) imposed a modest fine against Wal-Mart following the customers’ trampling of its employee, which led to the employee’s death. Customers lined up outside of a New York based Wal-Mart in anticipation of an after Thanksgiving sale there. OSHA accuses Wal-Mart of failing to protect its employee from a situation that would likely cause such serious physical harm.

July 13, 2010: Jersey Swapping at the World Cup

Jersey swapping after a soccer game is a common practice since 1931 and has occurred in the World Cup since 1954. This begs for sports teams to accommodate for this tradition. That means sports teams will need to budget to foot the bill to replace the swapped uniforms. Even if a player profits from the sale of a swapped jersey, the team cannot likely expect to recover expenses from any of the proceeds. Another consideration for soccer clubs is the anxiety that might be caused in fans, or amongst players, who are eager to acquire a particular jersey.

July 12, 2010: TITLE IX: Check With Legal Counsel Before Altering College Sports Programs

Prior to cutting college sports programs or its coaches, consult legal counsel. This seems like a simple concept, but Diablo Valley College still managed to get itself into hot water. When the college tried to eliminate funding for several men’s and women’s sports teams, it triggered a gender equality Title IX compliance investigation by the U.S. Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”). Early on the college succumbed to the pressure and reinstated the sports teams, but refused to rehire the coaches who made the complaint to the OCR.