Sports Law Research Guide
Legal issues related to sports revolve around a number of areas of law, ranging from contracts to torts to intellectual property and others, so secondary sources are often the best place to begin when researching a sports law question.
Introduction & Scope
Legal issues related to sports revolve around a number of areas of law, ranging from contracts to torts to intellectual property and others, so secondary sources are often the best place to begin when researching a sports law question. These secondary sources will point researchers to relevant statutory and case law. This guide will identify a few of the major federal statutes directly impacting sports law, but its primary focus will be on the secondary resources available to members of the Georgetown Law community to begin sports law research.
For international sports law research, please refer to our Olympics & International Sports Law Research Guide. Guides on specific legal topics, such as contract law, tort law, etc., are included in our entire listing of research guides.
It is often recommended that researchers begin by finding a treatise which provides an in depth analysis of a topical area of law. Some of the recommended treatises for Sports Law include:
- Patrick K. Thornton, Sports Law (2011) KF3989 .T48 2011 This treatise looks at the major cases, statutes and regulations for a range of legal issues in sports law, including contracts, agents, drug testing, amateur athletics and labor relations in the sports arena. Each chapter includes additional reference materials and suggested readings.
- Walter T. Champion, Sports Law in a Nutshell (2009) KF3989.Z9 C48 For a quick introduction to the legal environment surrounding the sports world, Champion's nutshell covers topics such as contracts, financial considerations, antitrust, torts and liabilities. Appendices include sample contracts and the Mitchell Report on illegal use of steroids.
- Walter T. Champion, Fundamentals of Sports Law (2004) KF3989 .C47 The major sections of this West publication include injuries, constitutional implications, contracts and statutory implications. Other features include helpful research references and key number guidance. Updated by pocket parts.
Primary Law Sources
Casebooks are useful for finding court opinions dealing with sports law, as well as commentary on the decisions. Some casebooks on sports law include the following:
- Matthew J. Mitten, et. al., Sports Law and Regulation: Cases, Materials, and Problems (2009) KF3989 .S6775 Material includes regulation of interscholastic, intercollegiate and professional athletics, with additional chapters on coaches' contracts, league governance and intellectual property issues in sports.
- Ray Yasser, et. al., Sports Law Cases and Materials (4th ed., 2000) KF3989.A7 Material is presented for amateur sports, professional sports and issues common to amateur and professional sports.
Recent Developments in Sports Law (formerly You Make the Call) - This semi-annual newsletter, published by the National Sports Law Institute at Marquette University Law School, identifies and analyzes the most recent cases in sports law.
Federal statutes (select statutes applicable to sports law)
- Amateur Sports Act of 1978, Pub. L. 95-606, 36 U.S.C. secs. 220501-220529
- Sports Broadcasting Act of 1961, Pub. L. 87-331, 15 U.S.C. secs. 1291-1295
- Title IX of the 1972 Education Amendments, Pub. L. 92-318, Title IX, 20 U.S.C. secs. 1681 et.seq.
State Statutes (50 state surveys)
- Subject Compilations of State Laws (KF1 .F67)
Also available electronically on HeinOnline
Organized by subject, this is an annual list of sources, including journal articles, books, reports, and databases, that include state law surveys. Relevant subjects include sports, athletes, sports officials, sports agents and individual sports, such as baseball, etc.
Over the years, the U.S. Congress has gotten involved in the sports world, by introducing legislation and conducting hearings on topics such as anti-doping, work stoppages in professional sports and the efffect of smokeless tobacco use on the health of our nation's youth. The hearings, reports and committee prints generated can be accessed through ProQuest Congressional .
Recent Congressional material is also available through the federal government website, FDsys. For the most efficient search, select a specific collection(i.e. Congressional Hearings) to search using the Advanced Search capability.
The Congressional Research Service publishes backgrounders for members of Congress on numerous topics. A few recent reports on Sports include:
- Congressional Responses to Selected Work Stoppages in Professional Sports (Feb. 1, 2010) - available on ProQuest Congressional
- Title IX, Sex Discrimination, and Intercollegiate Athletics: A Legal Overview (Jan. 12, 2010) - available on ProQuest Congressional
- Former NFL Players: Disabilities, Benefits, and Related Issues (April 8, 2008)
- Drug Testing in Sports: Proposed Legislation (June 10, 2005)
Selective specialized journals on Sports Law include:
- Journal of Legal Aspects of Sport (available electronically) (1991- )
- Marquette Sports Law Review (formerly Marquette Sports Law Journal) (available in print at K13 .A703 and electronically) (1990- )
- University of Miami Entertainment & Sports Law Review (available electronically) (1980-1997)
- Seton Hall Journal of Sports & Entertainment (formerly Seton Hall Journal of Sport Law) (available in print at K23 .E29 and electronically ) (1991- )
- Sports Lawyers Journal (available in print at K23 .P673 and electronically) (1994- )
- Villanova Sports & Entertainment Law Journal (formerly Villanova Sports & Entertainment Forum) (available in print at K26 .I4392 and electronically) (1994- )
- Virginia Sports & Entertainment Law Journal (formerly Journal of Virginia Journal of Sports & the Law) (available in print at K26 .I76 and electronically) (2001- )
On HeinOnline in the Law Journal Library, you can browse by Subject to "Sports Law" and then conduct a search within those predefined journals.
- Sports Research Network (GULConly) - Research, statistics, reports and articles are arranged by sport. Publications can be searched back to 1995.
- SportsDiscus (GULConly - limited to one user at a time) - This EBSCO database provides access to full-text articles and bibliographic entries on sports law & legislation, sports management, college & university sport, as well as all other aspect of sports.
- ProQuest - Interdisciplinary academic and popular journal database which provides access to publications such as Sports Illustrated, Sporting News, Journal of Sport Behavior , and others.
News & Current Awareness
- Entertainment & Sports Lawyer (available in print at KF4290.A15 E57 and electronically) (1982- ) Published quarterly by the ABA Forum on Entertainment & Sports Industries
- National Sports Law Institute (Marquette University) Links to recent blog postings and Twitter feeds on Sports Law.
- Sports Law Blog - Chosen by the ABA as one of the Top 100 Legal Blogs and updated on a regular basis with "All things legal relating to the sports world"
- The Sports Law Professor Blog - Timely posts integrate sports and the law, as well as provide links to other Sports sites & Sports Law resources.
Sports Organizations & Leagues
- National Football League (NFL)
- Major League Baseball (MLB)
- National Hockey League (NHL)
- National Basketball Association (NBA)
- Professional Golfers Associaiton (PGA)
Academic Sports Institutes & Legal Associations
- ABA Forum on Entertainment & Sports Industries
- National Sports Law Institute (Marquette University Law School)
- Penn State Institute for Sports Law, Policy & Research
- Sports Lawyers Association
- National Women's Law Center (Title IX-Athletics) Includes briefs from recent court decisions on Title IX.
- United States Anti-Doping Agency
- Entertainment Law Research Guide (Georgetown Law Library) - sports law is often covered in more general entertainment law reporters & law journals, so this guide expands on the resources found above
- Sports Law ( Legal Information Institute) - basic overview of the areas covered by sports law, including amateur vs. professional sports
- Sports Law Resource Guide (Cleveland-Marshall College of Law)
- Sports Management Research Guide (Lauinger Library)- includes links to statistics, sports management resources, and journals and books on sports
- Stark Center for Physical Culture and Sports - University of Texas' digital archive of historical sports material.
Updated 3/13 (MK)
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