While questions concerning athletic skill are generally settled on the playing field, the commercial and social aspects of “Sport” often gives rise to conflicts that can only be addressed by the political and legal framework in which a given society functions. Or to put it another way, a surprising number of sporting contests involve disputes that cannot be settled by the Rules of the Game, but only by the Laws of the Land.
“Sports Law” is the resolution of legal disputes arising from sporting activities and the business of sports management. The practice of “Sports Law,” therefore, will encompass the laws of contract, property, tort, intellectual property, agency, civil rights, labor, products liability, medicine, education, criminal law, international law, and, indeed, almost every area of law imaginable. As the ubiquitous human endeavor of sport involves the fullest range of human social interaction, so too will the legal conflicts arising from these activities implicate the fullest scope of the law. A “Sports Law” practitioner must be prepared to recognize, research and apply the area of law that the facts of their case implicates.
This Pathfinder is designed as a study supplement for Villanova Law School students, and is not intended to constitute legal advice. The Pathfinder features resources available through the Villanova School of Law’s Law Library or on the Internet. For such a potentially vast field, it is impossible to be comprehensive, but this work does provide a point of departure for law students and researchers seeking information on Sports Law practice. Certain electronic resources noted below are freely available on the Internet while others are available through the Law Library’s webpage, and may require a password for access. Consult a Reference Librarian if you need assistance in accessing any of the Library’s electronic databases.
Primary Legal Sources:
United States Law: The most essential source of United States law is of course the Constitution. Statutes and Regulations may be found at the following links and also in Lexis, Westlaw and WestLawNext. Print versions of these resources are generally available in the Library’s collection; consult the Library’s Online Public Access Catalog (OPAC) or a Reference Librarian:
The Constitution of the United States.
United States Code ; United States Code Annotated (U.S.C.A.; Westlaw, WestlawNext); United States Code Service
Selected Federal Laws:
- Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12101-12213.
- Sports Agent Responsibility and Trust Act (SPARTA Act), 15 U.S.C. §§ 7801-7807.
- Sports Broadcasting Act of 1961, 15 U.S.C. §§ 1291-1295.
- Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, 28 U.S.C. §§ 3701-3704.
- Patsy Takemoto Mink Equal Opportunity in Education Act (Title IX) (Title IX of the Education Amendments 1972), 20 U.S.C. §§ 1681-1688.
Code of Federal Regulations
: Use the Federal Register (published daily) to research the latest changes to federal regulations.
State Law: Find Pennsylvania and other state statutory codes in print form using the Library’s OPAC or on Lexis, Westlaw and WestlawNext:
Purdon’s Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes Annotated (Reserve, Third Floor: KFP30 1930 .A44).
Selected Pennsylvania Statutes:
- 24 P.S.§ 15-1512.1. Physical Education.
- Interscholastic Athletics Accountability, 24 P.S. §§ 16-1601-a-16-1605-A.
- Safety in Youth Sports Act, 24 P.S. §§ 5321-5323.
Pennsylvania Code: 22 Pa. Code § 4.27. Physical Education and Athletics.
Federal Case Law: Use Westlaw or WestlawNext for access to the West Digest System, focusing your search on the jurisdiction in question to find cases relevant to sports law inquiries:
West’s Supreme Court Reporter
(Second Floor; Compact Shelving KF101 .S3)
West’s Federal Reporter (Second Floor; Compact Shelving KF105 .F3)
West’s Federal Supplement (Second Floor; Compact Shelving KF120 .F4)
West’s Federal Practice Digest 4th (Second Floor KF127 .W47 1989)
Pennsylvania and other State Case Law:
West’s Atlantic Reporter (Second Floor; Compact Shelving KF135 .A7)
West’s Atlantic Digest 2d (Second Floor; Compact Shelving KF135 .A71)
West’s Pennsylvania Digest 2d (Third Floor, KFP57 .W47 1983)
Court websites, Federal (Pennsylvania):
Supreme Court of the United States
Third Judicial Circuit (Court of Appeals)
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
Court Websites, Pennsylvania:
Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania
Other Court websites for other jurisdictions in the United States are available online.
Foreign and International Law: Foreign law is the law of foreign sovereignties; International Law is a separate body of law and legal practice that frequently draws upon foreign law. Use the following resources to research the laws of individual nations in relation to sports law matters:
Foreign Law Guide: Current Source of Codes and Basic Legislation in Jurisdictions of the World.
Globalex International Sports Law: International Sports Law resources, along with links to international sporting governance
bodies and associations.
LLRX.com Comparative/Foreign Law Research Guide: Resources for research foreign and international law.
Washburn University School of Law—Wash Law Legal Research on the Web: Database of foreign and international law, maintained by
the Staff of Washburn University School of Law Library.
For more information on researching foreign and international law issues in sports law, see the International Law and U.S. Treaties Pathfinders on the Villanova Law Library’s website.
International Sports Tribunals:
Tribual Arbitral du Sport/Court of Arbitration for Sport . Founded in 1984, the Tribunal hears sports-related disputes on commercial and disciplinary matters. Find recent and archived arbitration decisions on the organization’s website.
Secondary Legal Sources:
Legal Dictionaries: Use legal dictionaries to define unfamiliar legal terms.
Black’s Law Dictionary (9th ed. 2009) (Reserve KF156 .B53 2009).
- John Bouvier, Bouvier’s Law Dictionary and Concise Encyclopedia (1914) (KF156 .B668).
Encyclopedia: Legal Encyclopedia can provide a concise introduction to the full scope of a subject, along with citations to primary and secondary sources of law that illustrate the discussion of various issues. Some suggested works appear below:
American Jurisprudence 2d (Second Floor, KF154 .A42).
Pennsylvania Law Encyclopedia (Third Floor, KFP65 .P4 1957).
Summary of Pennsylvania Jurisprudence 2d (Third Floor, KFP65 .S86 1991).
Restatements of the Law: Compiled by the American Law Institute, these authoritative secondary sources feature concise statements of legal rules, commentary, discussions of the rules applied to hypothetical situations, and citation to cases. Check the catalog for print versions of the Restatements, or see this Checklist of Restatement publications from the American Law Institute website. Restatements are also available electronically on Lexis, Westlaw, and WestlawNext.
American Law Reports
and American Law Reports International:
Available in print form in the Library, (Second Floor: KF137 .I5 2010). American Law Reports is also available on Lexis, Westlaw and WestlawNext.
Legislative History: Use these resources to research the legislative history of state and federal statutes related to sports matters.
See the Proposed Legislation, Compiled Legislation, PA Legislative History and PA Legal Materials Pathfinders on the Law Library’s website for more information on researching legislative histories, or consult one of the Reference Librarians.
Treatises: To find treatises on Sports Law and related topics, use the Law Library’s (or another library’s) online public access catalog (OPAC), or use the WORLDCAT database available to Villanova students through Falvey Library, the main campus library (use the “Databases A-Z” link on the Falvey Library website). Some suggested material is listed below:
Equal Play: Title IX and Social Change (Nancy Hogshead-Maker and Andrew Zimbalist, eds., 2007)
(Second Floor KF4166 .E68 2007).
- Robert M. Goldman, One Man Out: Curt Flood versus Baseball (2008) (Second Floor, KFXXX .Ax 2008).
- Adam Epstein, Sports Law (2002) (Second Floor, KF3989 .E67 2002).
- Matthew C. McKinnon, et al., Sports Law (1996) (Second Floor, KF3989 .M34 1996).
- Paul M. Anderson, Sports Law: A Desktop Handbook (1999) (Second Floor, KF3989 .A53 1999).
- Martin J. Greenberg & James T. Grey, Sports Law Practice (2009) (Second Floor, KF3989 .G73 2009).
- Joseph G. Hylton & Paul M. Anderson, Sports Law and Regulation (1999) (Second Floor, KF3989 .S765 1999).
Study Aids and General Reference:
International Encyclopaedia of Laws: Sports Law (Frank Hendrikx, ed., 2004) (Lower Level, K3702 .I57 2004).
- George W. Schubert, et al., Sports Law (1986) (Hornbook Reserve, KF3989 .Sch79 1986).
- John Hladczuk, et al., Sports Law and Legislation: An Annotated Bibliography (1991) (Second Floor, KF3989 .A1S66 1991).
- Walther T. Champion, Sports Law in a Nutshell (2009) (Hornbook Reserve, KF3989 .Z9 .C48 2009).
Practice Guides: Many of these titles are available electronically through Lexis, Westlaw or WestlawNext:
American Jurisprudence Legal Forms 2d (Form Books, KF170 .A542)
American Jurisprudence Pleading and Practice Forms Annotated
(Form Books, KF8836 .A44)
American Jurisprudence Proof of Facts 3d (Third Floor, KF8933 .A42).
American Jurisprudence Trials (Third Floor, KF8915 .A74).
Bender’s Forms of Discovery (Form Books, KF8900 .A3 .B43).
Dunlap-Hanna Pennsylvania Forms (Hornbook Reserve, KFP68 .A6 .D92).
Federal Practice and Procedure (Reserve; Third Floor, KF8754 .W93).
Liability Issues in Playgrounds, Gyms, Playing Fields & Physical Education Classes (Pennsylvania Bar Institute, 2005) (Second Floor, KF1290 .S66 L53 2005)
- Henry I. Langsam & David E. Romine, Pennsylvania Causes of Action (2011) (Third Floor, KFP533 .L36 2011)
Shepard’s Causes of Action (Third Floor, KF8863 .S53 1993)
Law Reviews and Journals: Research law reviews and journals dealing with Sports Law matters using legal periodical indexes and databases such as Lexis,Westlaw, WestLawNext, Heinonline, and Index databases such as LegalTrac (available on the Law Library’s Law Databases page). The following are selected Sports Law journals available in print in the Villanova Law Library:
DePaul Journal of Sports Law & Contemporary Problems (Lower Level, K4 .E76)
Marquette Sports Law Review (Lower Level, K13 .A76)
The Sports Lawyers Journal (Lower Level, K23 .P75)
Texas Review of Entertainment & Sports Law (Lower Level, K24 .E9)
Jeffrey S. Moorad Journal of Sports Law
(formerly theVillanova Sports and Entertainment Law Journal) (Lower Level, K26 .I58)
Check the Library’s OPAC for more print journals.
Electronic Resources for Sports Law:
Villanova Law Library Databases: A number of law resources are available on the Law Library’s Databases page. To use these resources in a location other than the Villanova Law School building, it may be necessary to enter your Law School username and password. Other resources may require to you to have personal accounts. If you need assistance using these databases, please speak
to a Reference Librarian. The following databases are suggested for International Law Research:
Sports Law Associations:
The Sports Lawyers Association
Black Entertainment and Sports Lawyers Association
Foreign and International Sports Law Associations:
World Sports Governance Bodies:
United States Professional Sports Leagues:
United States College Sports Associations:
United States Youth Sports Organizations:
Pennsylvania Youth Sports Organizations:
Sports News Resources: The following is a small sample of resources in this area:
Sports Blogs: Sports Law “Blogs” can be a useful source of news and commentary on recent developments in the field. As with all information freely available on the Internet, the researcher should carefully examine the information provided by such sources for accuracy and timeliness.
Lexis, Westlaw and WestlawNext: Law students and practitioners who have password access to Westlaw and Lexis may use the resources provided by these legal information systems. Subscribers to Lexis and Westlaw can make a shortcut to entertainment law and other related databases in either system by using the database tab displays. In Westlaw, use the “Add a Tab” function to add tab to your browser display. In Lexis, use the “Tab” link to add tab.
The tab shortcuts in Lexis and Westlaw are helpful, but you may proceed without them if you prefer. With whatever databases you select, remember to examine the “Scope Information for the database” button in Westlaw or the “Source Description” button in Lexis to learn what a particular database contains, and tips on how to efficiently access that information.