SPORTS LAW. A RESEARCH GUIDE… FOCUSING ON PROFESSIONAL SPORTS: BASEBALL BASKETBALL FOOTBALL HOCKEY. A Presentation by: Amber Ju University of Denver College of Law Spring 2002. INTRODUCTION.
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A Presentation by: Amber Ju
University of Denver College of Law
In researching a topic this broad, I used a variety of search terms in the various different sources. Some of the most helpful were the following:
Often these search terms would lead me to other unexpected, but helpful search terms related to sports law.
Case law is judge made law developed in a case-by-case fashion that forms the basis of the common law.The goal of case law research is to find binding precedent in the relevant jurisdiction. Court decisions are published in case reporters according to which court is rendering the decision, or in which jurisdiction or geographical area of the country the case is decided. Case reporters are paired with digests which allow you to find relevant case law by topic. Case citators such as Shepard’s allow you to verify that the case law that you have found is still good law and has not been reversed or overruled.
For this project I used the descriptive word index of the West’s Digest system and used various search terms related to sports law. The index referred me topics and key numbers. The West key number system ties case headnotes from the West’s reporters to case abstracts in the West’s Digests. Key numbers allow you to find cases on the same topic and subtopic in any of the digests published by West, which in turn direct you to case decisions raising the same topic. Since sports law is an amalgam of different legal topics there were several relevant topics and key numbers.
Assumption of risk, football player, angry opponent striking. Theaters 6(19)
Commerce regulations. Commerce 62.7
Monopolies, combinations prohibited. Monop 12(6)
Questions of fact-personal injuries. Theaters 6(30, 37)
Lease, professional sports teams from municipality, service charge based on admission price constituting tax. Tax 1
Contests and activities, regulation, licenses and taxes. Theaters 3.60
Injuries to participant or spectator. Theaters 6
Rain insurance, risks and causes of loss. Insurance 423
Sunday plaing. Sunday 6(2)
Professional player of, game injury sustained by, compensability, intentional infliction. Theaters 6(7)
Players not declared ineligible, probation. Assoc 7, Colleges 9
Statutes are legal rules that apply to broad categories of parties and situations. These rules are enacted by legislatures. Statutes can codify or supplement common law, but others can overturn common law or create new areas of law not covered by the common law. Statutes are published in subject arrangements called codes. Federal statutes are codified in the United States Code Service (U.S.C.S.) and the United States Code Annotated (U.S.C.A.) Annotated codes contain digests of cases that interpret statutory sections and references to useful research sources related to those sections. Colorado state statutes are codified in West’s Colorado Revised Statutes Annotated (C.R.S.A.) and in Bradford’s Colorado Revised Statutes.
For this project I searched the index of the U.S.C.A. and of West’s C.R.S.A. for terms relating to sports law and in turn was referred to statutes relevant to my topic.
Controlled substances, White House Task Force on Drug Use in Sports, 21 § 1701 nt EON 13165
Unemployment compensation, denial to athletes, 26 § 3304
Professional league, Antitrust laws, exemption of agreements covering merger, 15 § 1291
Income tax, Exemption, 26 § 501
Television and radio, 15 § 1292 et seq.
Monopolies and combinations, 15 § 27a
Player contract, Gain or loss on disposition of property, special rules, basis limitation, transfer in connection with sale of franchise, 26 § 1056
Agents, college athletes, 23-16-101 et seq.
Alcoholic beverages, special event permits, 12-8-101 et seq.
Baseball, spectator safety, warning notices, 13-21-120
Bribery, to influence outcome, 18-5-403
Employment security, 8-73-107
Denver Metropolitan Major League Baseball Stadium District, 32-14-101 et seq.
Baseball Commission, Generally, 32-14-131
Metropolitan football stadium district, 32-15-101
Football stadium site selection commission, 32-15-132
Administrative agencies at the federal, state, and local levels make a vast amount of administrative law. Agencies are created by enabling statutes which are passed by Congress and direct the agencies to perform specified tasks. An agency may create rules to interpret enabling statutes and also may adjudicate disputes arising under the enabling legislation and agency rules. Agency actions are reviewable by the judiciary. Administrative research consists of locating and analyzing the enabling statute and judicial opinions interpreting the agency’s action as well as the law made by the agency itself. Federal agency regulations are published in the Code of Federal Regulations (C.F.R.) and Colorado state agency regulations are published in the Colorado Code of Regulations (C.C.R.).
For this project I checked the indexes of both the Code of Federal Regulations and the Colorado Code of Regulations to see if there were any regulations applicable to sports law. I also checked the suggested federal agency websites and the Colorado home page to see if there were any federal or state agencies that match my topic. Not surprisingly, since sports law doesn’t really lend itself to administrative research, I found very little. However, I was able to find a Federal regulation related to horse and dog racing and a state agency that regulates Boxing.
1)Go to the Colorado Home Page :
OR Go to:
Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies
2) Execute a search on sports regulations and agencies.
Only 1 relevant sports regulatory agency found:
Office of Boxing:
Hopefully, this research guide has been a helpful starting point geared to novice legal researchers with an interest in sports law. Researching for this guide has given me some great ideas for topics for my upcoming research paper in my elective sports contracts course. In sum, this project synthesized many of the legal research skills that I partially learned, but never really grasped as a first year, and expanded and solidified my level of comfort in the area of legal research.
The following sources were extremely helpful in writing the overviews and introductions on the different sources:
C. Edward Good, Legal Research Without Losing Your Mind (1993).
Christina L. Kunz et al., The Process of Legal Research (1992).
Lawyering Process handouts on legal research
Advanced Legal Research lecture handouts