Sports Law • Risk Management

Federal Law

September 23, 2010: Concussion Discussion in Congress Ramps Up

While creating guidelines to help coaches and parents identify when it is safe for a concussed minor child to return to sports; there is potential harm to coaches and sport organizations. Two federal House committees are each working on a federal bill to propose legislation to protect youth from the harms of concussions. One bill is intended to gather experts to draft guidelines on how to manage concussions then dangle a carrot of incentive by offering federal grants to states to establish standards. The other bill would mandate public school districts adopt or adhere to certain standards.

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: http://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/whdfs71.pdf.

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.

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.