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Sports Law
University of Toledo School of Law
Rapp, Geoffrey C.

 
I.                    What are sports?
a.       A sport is-
                                                               i.      Competition
                                                             ii.      Scoring/ winner
                                                            iii.      Primary function
b.       there is no property interest in sports/extracurricular activities
c.       what value to we put on sports?
                                                               i.      Social values: character, fitness, teamwork
                                                             ii.      Economic value: big business
                                                            iii.      International dimensions
d.       What is sports law?
                                                               i.      Why are we here?
1.       traditional, moderate, and separate field views
a.       traditional- wasn’t its own field, just take other types of law and apply them to sports
b.       moderate- developing into its own field of law because of new laws (title 9)
c.       separate- sports law is a distinct separate field of law
                                                                                                                                       i.      possibility that sports law is distinct on an institutional level (separate institutions for dealing with sport issues- arbitration institutions) and the small institution may process a sport dispute differently that a different dispute. 
                                                             ii.      what are the key components
1.       players, agents, teams, umpires, etc
                                                            iii.      modes of law
1.       anti-trust (most important), contract, torts, labor, criminal, constitution, immigration
II.                  Possessory Interest
a.       Popov. Hayashi
                                                               i.      possession is so ambiguous, so you have to look to the industry to see what it means. It seems to be a sliding scale. 
1.       If two people have an interest how do you determine who has actual possessory interest.
2.       Sell it and split the proceeds- cannot keep the ball.
3.       encourages fans to fight over ball
b.       Rapp essay: give ownership to the person who puts value in the ball
                                                               i.      Give best incentives- create things of value not fight each other
                                                             ii.      From locke’s labor theory
III.                Intro to Professional Sports
a.       League Models
                                                               i.      Centralized League that creates teams subsidiary to the centralized team
1.       Major League Soccer
2.       teams do not exist until league creates them
3.       benefits-
a.       centralization of control- planning, marketing are easier, legal advantage in dealing with anti-trust
4.       disadvantage-
a.       not flexible, vulnerable to outside challenges (rival soccer league)
b.       hard to argue from employer point of view for labor law
                                                             ii.      True Democracy- separately constituted teams that get together and vote on rules of the league
1.       advantages- individual members are participated and less likely to get conflicts
2.       disadvantage- every decision must be voted on, expensive, individual who votes the other way is dissatisfied
                                                            iii.      Teams delegate authority to makes decisions to a central league office which in turn has control
1.       advantage- low cost, don’t have to vote on everything
2.       disadvantage- once you delegate power how do you get it back
                                                           iv.      No league- all teams are separate and negotiate between them when they feel like competing. 
1.       some aspects of collegiate sports, and European soccer
2.       very high transaction cost, problems establishing team and getting team loyalty
b.       How US Organizes League
                                                               i.      Centralized power of commissioner
                                                             ii.      Paradigm: Baseball
                                                            iii.      1919: Yankees v. Johnson: power to punish player was up to team and if team did not president could not
                                                           iv.      evolution of the office
1.       Black Sox Scandal- gambling on games led to creation of new role of commission
c.       Baseball Commissioner rights and power
                                                               i.      Commissioner decisions not reviewable except for bad faith, public policy violations, abuse of discretion, etc OR clear violations of league constitution
                                                             ii.      Some limitations on punishments, at least to some courts
                                                            iii.      Power- can do what is in the “best interest” of baseball
1.       tampering (Braves v. Kuhn)
a.       the contract gives the commissioner the broad power to investigate what’s in the best interest and to determine what punishments should be given. (Article VII §2 in the agreement)
b.       Tampering is not in the best interest of baseball to buy players
c.       the commissioner has not abused the right to impose the punishment, however, the punishment of taking away the draft pick is not one of the punishments the commissioner may give (Article 7 §3)
2.       player approvements (Finley v. Kuhn)
a.       the commissioner have the power to invoke the best interest power when there is no moral turpitude or clear violation of rule
                                                           iv.      No action taken in compliance of major league action will be construed to be detrimental to the sport of baseball. 
                                                             v.      The courts opinion seems to state that the commissioner can never be fired if he does what he thinks is in the best interest of baseball. 
d.       Punishment- NBA commissioner
                                                               i.      section 14© of NBA CBA- the parties recognize that a player may be subjected to disciplinary action for just cause by his team or by the commissioner. Therefore, in grievances regarding disciple, the issue to be resolved shall be whether there has been just cause for the penalty imposed
                                                             ii.      sprewell is saying that the word OR means that either the team could discipline him or the

out
                                                                                                                                     ii.      reasonable expectation of privacy?
1.       diminished expectation of privacy because there was notice and opportunity to consent
2.       also, because of things that occur in locker rooms
                                                                                                                                    iii.      serious invasion of interest
c.       NCAA’s interest
                                                                                                                                       i.      Protect health and safety of players
                                                                                                                                     ii.      Protect integrity of game
4.       court ruled it passed the rational basis test because of diminished expectation of privacy.
                                                             v.      High school- court held that it did not violate the students right to be free from unreasonable search and seizures
1.       they have consent forms and notice
2.       however, band members do not have the same diminished privacy like sports members
a.       not the same locker room scene
b.       class was taken for credit
c.       no evidence of drug use of extracurricular students
                                                           vi.      Courts will look at the reasonableness of the test
1.       balance the intrusiveness of the search and individual’s forth amendment against a legitimate government interest
2.       Courts will have a lot of discretion
V.                  Sports Contracts
a.       Overview: How are sports contracts different
                                                               i.      Level of compensation, employment contracts, and SPK
                                                             ii.      Enforcement of Player Contracts
1.       what rights do teams have to enforce contracts?
2.       Rights to seek damages?
a.       recover signing bonuses
b.       sue for damages
                                                                                                                                       i.      what are the damages? Costs to find another athlete, signing bonus
3.       right to an injunction to prevent jumping to another team? (sport?)
4.       right to an injunction ordering the player to play
5.       Lumley rule for personal service contracts
a.       There is an implied covenant not to compete, and to take your service and sell to a competitor. Once someone is a seller of a personal service then the remedy is a negative injunction.