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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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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


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INTRODUCTION

  • Sports law is a broad based mixture of laws that apply to athletes and the sports they play. It is not a singular legal topic with generally applicable principles, but incorporates a variety of legal areas, including:

    • Agency Law

    • Antitrust Law

    • Constitutional Law

    • Contract law

    • Criminal Law

    • Labor Law

    • Tax Law

    • Tort Law

    • Trademark Law

  • Sports law can be divided into three areas:

    • Amateur

    • Professional

    • International


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SEARCH TERMS

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:

Athletics

Entertainment

Sports

Professional Sports

Baseball

Basketball

Football

Hockey

Sports contracts

Often these search terms would lead me to other unexpected, but helpful search terms related to sports law.


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PRIMARY AUTHORITY

  • Cases

    • Finding Tools: West’s Digests, Descriptive Word Index, Topic Outlines, and Headnotes

  • Statutes

    • Federal (U.S.C.A.)

    • State (West’s C.R.S.A.)

  • Administrative Materials

    • Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) and Federal Agency Decisions

    • Code of Colorado Regulations and State Agency Decisions



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PRIMARY AUTHORITY: OVERVIEW

  • Primary authority is the law! It is issued by the government or a government body. It consists of legislation (ie. statutes), case law, and administrative law.

  • Legislative bodies at the federal, state, and local levels create legislation in different forms (ie. Constitutions, statutes, and ordinances). These forms of legislation govern future situations and disputes.

  • The judiciary at federal and state levels decides cases based on controversies that have already arisen. The court writes an opinion which then constitutes precedent, which is to be followed in future situations in that jurisdiction. Case opinions are found in case reporters.

  • Various administrative agencies at the federal, state and local levels make administrative law.

  • Primary Authority tells you what the law in a particular jurisdiction is and allows you to analyze and interpret legal issues and topics.


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CASES: INTRODUCTION

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.


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CASES

Sports:

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)

Sports Stadiums:

Lease, professional sports teams from municipality, service charge based on admission price constituting tax. Tax 1

Athletics:

Contests and activities, regulation, licenses and taxes. Theaters 3.60

Injuries to participant or spectator. Theaters 6

Baseball:

Rain insurance, risks and causes of loss. Insurance 423

Sunday plaing. Sunday 6(2)

Football:

Professional player of, game injury sustained by, compensability, intentional infliction. Theaters 6(7)

Hockey:

University-

Players not declared ineligible, probation. Assoc 7, Colleges 9


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STATUTES: INTRODUCTION

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.


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FEDERAL STATUTES(U.S.C.A.)

Athletics:

Controlled substances, White House Task Force on Drug Use in Sports, 21 § 1701 nt EON 13165

Unemployment compensation, denial to athletes, 26 § 3304

Football:

Professional league, Antitrust laws, exemption of agreements covering merger, 15 § 1291

Income tax, Exemption, 26 § 501

Television and radio, 15 § 1292 et seq.

Baseball:

Monopolies and combinations, 15 § 27a

Income Tax:

Player contract, Gain or loss on disposition of property, special rules, basis limitation, transfer in connection with sale of franchise, 26 § 1056


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STATE STATUTES(West’s C.R.S.A.)

Athletics:

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

Baseball:

Denver Metropolitan Major League Baseball Stadium District, 32-14-101 et seq.

Baseball Commission, Generally, 32-14-131

Football:

Metropolitan football stadium district, 32-15-101

Football stadium site selection commission, 32-15-132


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ADMINISTRATIVE MATERIALS: INTRODUCTION

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.


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ADMINISTRATIVE MATERIALS: Code of Federal Regulations(C.F.R.)

Sports:

  • Horseracing and dog racing industries, National Labor Relations Board, jurisdictional standards and remedial orders, 29 CFR 103


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ADMINISTRATIVE MATERIALS:State Agency Websites

1)Go to the Colorado Home Page :

http://www.colorado.gov

OR Go to:

Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies

http://www.dora.state.co.us/

2) Execute a search on sports regulations and agencies.

Only 1 relevant sports regulatory agency found:

Office of Boxing:

http://www.dora.state.co.us/boxing/about.htm


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CONCLUSION

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.


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HELPFUL REFERENCES

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