1) There is no such thing as “Sports Law”: Main body is labor and employment. Anti-trust law smaller body.
2) Professional v. Amateur
a) Amateur Collegiate: NCAA (major one) and NIA
b) Amateur Non-Collegiate
i) Olympic Committee
ii) Ted Stevens Acthelps define which to use, NCAA or Olympic.
(1) Overlap—if athlete tests + for drugs in NCAA event, banned from Olympics. Athlete DQed as well as anyone w/ knowledge who competed w/ or against him.
i) Tennis/Golf [individual sports]: Labor law is not as prominent here
ii) Football/Baseball/Basketball/Hockey/Soccer [team sports]: Labor law is prominent here
When can you appeal these decisions to court?
1) Michael Vick [Commish suspended him & allowed team to suspend him /stop paying him if they wanted to.] a) Teams are not free to do anything until the commish says so.
b) Can suspend player if it affects your product/tix sales, even if it doesn’t have anything to do with the sport.
i) Dog fighting doesn’t have anything to do with football, neither does betting on it.
c) Vick could try to sue in court arguing that the penalty was too much b/c judge was bribed, biased, racist, etc.
i) This system that allows a commish to make the decision is one that must depend on fairness in hearings.
2) Gambling is high on the sports “not to do” list
a) Landis, 1st commish of baseball, suspended 1919 “Black Sox” even though they were acquitted in trial. He asked for & was given unlimited decision power as commish.
b) Gambling drives less confidence in the game.
c) Steroid use is different b/c it affects the game. Shaving points too affects the game.
3) Yankees v. Johnson (NY 1919); p. 12 [Commish indefinitely suspended player for walking off during a game & going fishing next day claiming he had the auth to suspend. Yankees argued the power belongs to the club, not Commish.] + Yankees
a) Player’s offense wasn’t w/in the prohibition of the rules; it was not an overt act committed on the field.
b) Note: ‘19 scandal emerged, & owners dismantled tripartite commission & replace it w/ single commish.
4) Milwaukee v. Landis (IL 1931); p. 15 [π contended that ∆ commish had no power to declare a player a free agent.] a) Commish given great discretion to determinate of whether something is detrimental to the sport.
b) Commish must keep baseball clean, promote clean competition, prevent fraudulent Ks, protect players.
5) Finley v. Kuhn (7th Cir. 1978); p. 18 [Oakland sold best players to Yankees & BoSox & Commish said it was not in the best interests of baseball. Finley sued arguing that the commish didn’t have the power to do this.]+ Kuhn
a) Commish has auth to determine whether any act, txn, or practice is not in the best interests of baseball & to take whatever preventive or remedial action he deems appropriate.
6) Molinas v. NBA (NY 1961); p. 41 [Molinas sued NBA for antitrust violations for denying his reinstatement to play basketball after he had been suspended for betting on his own team.] +NBA
a) The league decision was justified b/c it is important to avoid connection w/ gamblers/gambling in sports.
Overview of the Federal Antitrust Laws
1) Early Antitrust in Sports
a) Prior to 1984 NCAA strictly controlled # of games shown on TV and controlled the costs.
(1) College Football Challenged using federal antitrust laws in NCAA v. Bd. of Reg. of Okla.
(i) Court found NCAA television marketing rights were illegal
ii) Hopscotch Conference (i.e. Chicago Cardinals à St. Louis Cardinals à Arizona Cardinals)
else can buy once the K was made, so have arguably restrained trade.
(b) Thus no longer open to the highest bidder.
(2) § 1 has been interpreted to prohibit only unreasonable restraints of trade
(a) Restraint is unreasonable if its anticompetitive effects outweigh its procompetitive effects.
4) Steps To Determine if there Has been Restraint of Trade
a) Step 1: Define the Relevant Market(if football not available, what would consumer do instead?)
i) Product Market and the Geographic Market
(1) Relevant Product Market: all goods/services that are reasonably interchangeable with the ∆’s goods/services.
(a) What is the range of goods that place a check on the power?
(i) Consumer perceptions
(ii) Int’l Boxing: [Championship boxing market its own relative market & not lumped w/ regular fights b/c they had different prices, premiums, more viewers, movie rights, etc.] 1. Weinberg v. Blackhawk Hockey Team (IL 1995); p. 719 [π sued ∆ for IL Antitrust Act violations when ∆ wouldn’t give π access to media info so π could compete w/ ∆’s hockey program.] +π
a. ∆’s conduct had an anti-competitive effect.
(2) Relevant Geographical Market: area in which the ∆ faces competition from other firms that compete in the relevant product market and to which consumers can reasonably turn for purchases.
AFL v. NFL (4th Cir. 1963); p. 689 [π football league & its owners filed suit against ∆ football league and its owners under Sherman Act.]