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Sports Law
University of California, Hastings School of Law
Goldstein, Jennifer Mulligan

The Governing Bodies
·         Commissioner’s Powers and Responsibilities
o       Decide what is in THE BEST INTERESTS OF THE SPORT
o       Resolve dispute
o       Act as CEO of joint venture
·         Rose v. Giamatti
o       Best interests of baseball to outlaw gambling? The Commish decides…
·         The Legal Scope of the Comish’s Authority
o       Milwaukee v. Landis
§         Agreements/rules of baseball display a clear intent to give the Commish all the powers of the pater familias =BENEVOLENT DESPOT
·         Only out of bounds:
o       Fraud
o       Arbitrary
o       No evidence
o       No legal basis
o       FINLEY V. KUHN
§         Free agency looming, A owner Finley sells off talent to invest in farm system
§         Commish Kuhn objects to sale of talent as “INCONSISTENT W/BEST INTERESTS OF BASEBALL”
·         Debilitates Oakland
·         Hurts balance b/c wealthier clubs can buy best talent
·         Unsettled reserve system
§         Commish =sweeping authority
·         Restrained and restored over time
§         π CL:
·         Kuhn’s decision disproving the assignment was “arbitrary, capricious, unreasonable, discriminatory, contrary to tradition”
·         Comish’s decision (like any head of private assoc.) must be PROCEDURALLY FAIR
·         HELD: Commish has authority to stop assignments when in b/I of baseball
o       Reserve system is unsettled
o       Baseball is special
o       Commish decisions insulated from judicial review
§         Voluntary waiver
·         If violates laws of land or charter of association
·         If association has failed to follow rudiments of due process of law
§         Would reverse only if
·         Comish did not act in g/f
·         Did not follow established procedures
o       TURNER V. KUHN
§         Dealt w/Commish authority to discipline owners
§         After Free Agency, Turner starts recruiting prior to the reentry draft = TAMPERING.
§         Commish upholds K, but bans Turner for 1 year and took Atlanta’s #1 draft pick
§         π CL:
·         COMMISH POWER Must

ndards under which arbitrator are empowered to reverse comish decisions vary greatly from league to league
o       Nfl/nhl = no auth. To overturn comish. On matters of discipline
o       MLB = DISCIPLINE CAN BE GRIEVED UNDER “just cause” standard (see CBA Art. XII) –
§         steve Howe Case P. 51
§         However, no grievance can be brought for these types of discipline
·         For conduct on the playing field or in ballpark
·         The comish removes it from arb. By declaring that it involves “integrity or public confidence in game of baseball”
o       NBA = convoluted lang.
§         Discipline involving “integrity of or maintenance of public confidence” & >$25k impact can be grieved under “arbitrary and capricious standard”
§         Disc. Involving “conduct on the playing court” or involving “integrity of or maintenance of public confidence” &