Willamette Sports Law Journal

First published in 2004, the Willamette Sports Law Journal (WSLJ) was the first sports law journal in the Northwest. The student-run online journal was published when fully staffed each fall and spring through Spring 2016. The journal provided students, educators, practitioners and other enthusiasts with timely, well-written commentary and analysis about the evolving field of sports law, with a specific focus on how the law affects leagues, players, colleges and fans. Article topics ranged broadly from Title IX to torts in sports to anti-trust and labor law issues. The complete volumes are available in this repository.

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Now showing 1 - 20 of 70
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    Show Her the Money: How Title IX Complicates Paying Student-Athletes Following O'Bannon v. NCAA
    (2015) Murphy, Timothy; ;
    (12 Willamette Sports L.J., no. 2, 2015, at 22). This article examines student-athlete compensation in college sports programs in light of Title IX requirements. The author argues that limiting compensation to men student-athletes who comprised the class in O'Bannon v. NCAA would violate Title IX because it would result in unequal opportunities for women student-athletes.
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    No Privacy For the Intolerant: A Reflection on Using an Illegal Recording of Donald Sterling to Set NBA Precedent
    (2016) Stirparo, Zachary
    (13 Willamette Sports L.J., no. 2, 2016, at 1). This article criticizes the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) treatment of Donald Sterling, an NBA team owner who was recorded making racist comments during what he thought was a private conversation. The article describes the underlying events, then looks at the history of constitutional privacy in California (where the recording was made), examining common law and statutes. Next, the article discusses the legal battle between the NBA and Sterling. The author concludes by arguing that the NBA should not have been able to use an illegal recording to deprive Sterling of his ownership rights.
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    Gender Diversity in the NFL: The Importance of Female Leadership in a Historically Male-Dominated Organization
    (2016) Vincent, Devon
    (13 Willamette Sports L.J., no. 2, 2016, at 60). This article looks at the lack of female leadership in the National Football League (NFL), particularly in light of the NFL executive board’s neglect of the issue of domestic violence. The article describes domestic violence associated with the NFL, including the Ray Rice scandal and other major scandals. The article explores NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s failure to adequately address the issue of domestic violence. The article then describes the NFL’s personal conduct policies in place during the scandals, the small penalties imposed by the executive board on players who committed violence against women, and organizational responses to the NFL’s mishandling of domestic violence issues. Next, it discusses NFL’s past hiring practices under the so-called Rooney Rule, hiring minority males into leadership positions to resolve racial discrimination issues without addressing hiring policies that disparately impacted the hiring of women. The article concludes by highlighting the importance of the employment of women, including women of color, as future leaders in the NFL.
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    Getting an Icy Reception: Do Canadian Hockey League Players Deserve to Be Paid?
    (2016) Steadman, Andrew
    (13 WIllamette Sports L.J., no. 2, 2016, at 39). This article considers whether high-level junior hockey players should be considered employees and thus paid for their participation in the leagues, focusing on the three Canadian Hockey League (CHL) leagues located in the United States and Canada. The article examines the progression of junior hockey from the mid-1960s to the present, including how American and Canadian courts have handled cases involving “amateur hockey.” The article looks at the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s (NCAA) rules on eligibility of ex-junior hockey players and analyzes the state of junior hockey in light of the recent O’Bannon v. NCAA decision. The article concludes by examining proposed Washington State legislation that would officially designate junior players for Washington’s four WHL teams as nonemployees.
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    What the United Nations Convention Against Corruption Can Teach FIFA
    (2016) Drohsel, Franziska
    (13 Willamette Sports L.J., no. 2, 2016, at 30). This article analyzes how the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) can teach Fédération Internationale de Footbal Association (FIFA) to implement structural reforms that would enable FIFA to investigate past corruption, and to prevent future corruption. First, the article examines the structure of FIFA and its problems. Second, the article describes recent developments regarding FIFA officials charged with corruption. Third, the article describes relevant provisions of the UNCAC, and how these provisions suggest structural reforms to achieve transparency, accountability, and consistency. The article concludes by listing immediate steps FIFA should take to combat corruption.
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    The Hidden Ball Trick: Major League Baseball's Collective Bargaining Agreement Attempts to Hide Tobacco Use by Players
    (2015) Gilgan, Lee
    (13 Willamette Sports L.J., no. 1, 2015, at 41). This article describes the history of tobacco use in Major League Baseball (MLB) and its regulation by the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). The CBA permits some tobacco use, but requires players and coaches to conceal tobacco packages and prohibits them from using tobacco during media interviews. The article traces the development of tobacco-control laws in the US. The author argues that states and municipalities should ban all use of tobacco in MLB stadiums, thereby circumventing the CBA.
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    Blind Draw: How Major League Soccer's Single Entity Structure and Unique Rules Have Impacted Soccer in the United States
    (2015) Stebbins, Hank
    (13 Willamette Sports L.J., no. 1, 2015, at 1). This article examines the current structure of Major League Soccer (MLS), and US antitrust law that might threaten that structure. It examines the history of the League’s formation; next, it looks at legal developments surrounding the League’s current antitrust status. It then analyzes the antitrust case Fraser v. MLS and subsequent changes to MLS. The article next explores the competitive realities that MLS faces and how they affect its legal future. The article then looks at the rules governing talent acquisition. Next, it considers possible legal action that could change the current system. The article concludes with analysis of the durability of the current system and prospects for change.
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    Getting the Gold But Losing the Money: Taxing Olympic Cash Prizes
    (2014) Kearns, Meghan
    (12 Willamette Sports L.J., no. 1, 2014, at 68). This article considers whether the US should tax prize money won at the Olympics by US athletes. The US Olympic Committee (USOC) pays cash prizes for Olympic medals to American athletes; the IRS considers these prizes taxable income. The article considers proposed legislation such as the Olympic Tax Elimination Act and the Tax Exemptions for American Medalists Act. The article considers arguments for and against taxing the prize money; for example, that Nobel and Pulitzer Prize awards are taxable. After discussing the history of the modern Olympics, the article describes USOC and how US Olympic athletes fund their training, compared to Canadians. The article then analyzes the tax code provisions that apply to Olympic prizes and advances the author’s preferred legislative solutions.
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    Jones v. Schneiderman and the Right to Fight: Why New York's Ban on Mixed Martial Arts is Unconstitutional
    (2014) Oaks, Katherine
    (12 Willamette Sports L.J., no. 1, 2014, at 50). This article analyzes a New York State ban on mixed martial arts (MMA) fighting in light of the case of Jones v. Schneiderman, a First Amendment challenge to the ban. The article gives the facts of the case, then describes a two-part test articulated in Spence v. Washington to determine whether conduct is “symbolic” enough to qualify as protected speech. The article gives background on MMA and the New York ban, as well as the development of rules to mitigate the violence of MMA fights. Next, the article analyzes MMA under the Spence test, arguing that MMA “is about tradition and fighting ability” and that because reasonable viewers understand this, the First Amendment protects live MMA fights as speech. The article also considers a claim that the New York ban violates due process due to its vagueness.
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    Figuring It Out: Proposed Reforms to the U.S. Figure Skating Athlete Selection Proposals For the Olymic Games
    (2014) Cho, Christie
    (12 Willamette Sports L.J., no. 1, 2014, at 28). This article examine the current U.S. Figure Skating (USFS) selection process for the Winter Olympics. It describes the 2014 U.S. Figure Skating Championships, which sparked a new debate about USFS team selection procedures. It then describes the selection process and its historical application, and places that process in the context of the Ted Stevens Olympic and Amateur Sports Act, which governs selection of national teams for international sports competitions. Next, the article considers the pros and cons of the current USFS selection policies, especially its consideration of an athlete’s “body of work.” Finally, the article looks to the team selection criteria employed by U.S. Freestyle Skiing as a model for a more transparent, objective method of selecting athletes for international competition.
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    Spirited Away: The Silna Brothers' Infamous Deal and the Explosion of NBA Media Rights
    (2014) Wrapp, Michael
    (12 Willamette Sports L.J., no. 1, 2014, at 1). This article examines the evolution of media rights in the National Basketball Association (NBA) through the lens of the 1976 NBA-ABA merger, during which two teams, including the Spirits of St. Louis, were denied entry to the merged league. The article describes the history of the Spirits franchise and the merger, including the media rights agreement that the team’s owners made with the NBA as part of the settlement. Next, the article analyzes the evolution of NBA media rights since the merger. Finally, the article describes the impact that changes in media rights have had on the ramifications of the NBA’s agreement with the owners of the Spirits, including the recent lawsuit filed by the owners, and the associated settlement discussions between the owners and the league.
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    Reviving an Educational Malpractice Argument for Student-Athletes: What Remedy Exists for Student-Athletes Denied an Educational Opportunity?
    (2014) Rodriguez, Ann H.
    (11 Willamette Sports L.J., no. 2, 2014, at 65). This article examines the problem of universities recruiting and accepting student-athletes, but not providing them an education. It explores the root of the conflict between a university and its student-athletes, the potential for abuse and exploitation, and the legal theory that offers a potential solution. It analyzes case law on the topic.
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    Seen But Not Heard: Consitututional Questions Surrounding Social Media Policies Affecting Student-Athletes
    (2014) Etherton, Elizabeth
    (11 Willamette Sports L.J., no. 2, 2014, at 41). This article focuses on the constitutional implications of universities enacting social media policies. Part II discusses types of social media, focusing on Facebook and Twitter, which are the most popular media outlets among college athletes. Part III explores existing social media policies from the NCAA and professional sports leagues, while defining the two methods used by universities: social media monitoring and social media bans. Part IV analyzes the implications of social media policies for the First, Fourth, and Fourteenth Amendments, concluding that universities and the NCAA have the right to impose social media policies under existing Supreme Court precedents.
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    Arguments for an NCAA Paternity Waiver: A Student-Athlete Father and His Relationship with Title IX and the Equal Protection Clause
    (2014) Pahl, Andrew F.
    (11 Willamette Sports L.J., no. 2, 2014, at 20). This article discusses the legal, social, and practical implications resulting from a pregnancy eligibility waiver for men (“paternity waiver”). The National Collegiate Athletics Association permits female athletes a one-year eligibility waiver if they become pregnant, but offers no similar waiver for men who have children. The article discusses the legal arguments and necessary posture in which an athlete could prevail on a claim for such a waiver. The article examines both Title IX and the Equal Protection Clause as necessary weapons for gender equality. The author argues that public pressure must be applied to member universities, not necessarily to the NCAA, if the NCAA’s status quo is to be altered.
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    Sports Betting: Why the United States Should Go All In
    (2014) Vacca, Andrew
    (11 Willamette Sports L.J., no. 2, 2014, at 1). This article compares Canada’s current sports gambling laws with those of the United States and proposes that the United States overturn the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PAPSA) and legalize sports betting. The article begins with background information on PAPSA’s legislative purpose and the Federal Wire Act, including criticisms of both acts. The article then examines the Canadian Criminal Code, which governs sports betting in Canada. Next, the article evaluates current sports betting issues in New Jersey. The article outlines the benefits from Canadian gambling laws and predicts how a similar system would benefit the US. The article also considers sports betting’s negative impacts and discusses potential modifications to the Canadian system that could alleviate those impacts. The article concludes by suggesting a system of sports betting that would benefit states while maintaining the integrity of professional and amateur sports.
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    Amateur Draft "Signing Bonus Pools": The Latest Inequity Made Possible by Baseball's Archaic Antitrust Exemption
    (2013) Michel, Eric
    (11 Willamette Sports L.J., no. 1, 2013, at 46). This article argues the amateur draft “Signing Bonus Pools” of Major League Baseball (MLB) violate federal antitrust and labor policy. It begins by describing baseball’s amateur draft and how it affects draftees’ ability to negotiate the terms of their first MLB contract. Next, it traces MLB’s attempts to curb escalating bonuses and details the latest attempt: the Signing Bonus Pool system. The article describes the evolution of baseball’s judicially-crafted exemption from the antitrust laws, followed by an examination of the scope of this exemption. The article discusses the intersection of federal antitrust and labor policy in the context of professional sports, focusing on the “nonstatutory labor exemption” from antitrust law. The author then argues that without baseball’s archaic antitrust exemption, the “Signing Bonus Pool” system included in the newest collective bargaining agreement would be invalid.
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    Athletic Interest Surveys: A Necessary Tool in an Institution's Title IX Compliance Tool Belt
    (2013) Bentley, Eric D.
    (11 Willamette Sports L.J., no. 1, 2013, at 28). This article focuses on the use of surveys in demonstrating compliance with Title IX. It describes controversy that surrounded the 2005 model survey and the Department of Education Office of Civil Right’s 2010 Clarification withdrawing the 2005 model survey. The author argues that surveys are usually a necessary tool to prove compliance, and describes how athletic departments with football as a sport should use an athletic interest survey.
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    Two Lessons of Anticommandeering: The Preemptive Significance of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act
    (2013) Carey, W. Dane
    (11 Willamette Sports L.J., no. 1, 2013, at 1). This article considers whether states can legalize sports betting without violating the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA). The article examines the history and constitutionality of PASPA; specifically, the two main constitutional arguments for invalidating PASPA— the Tenth Amendment and the Commerce Clause. The article then discusses how the anti-commandeering principle constrains federal regulatory power, specifically with respect to PASPA and the New Jersey Sports Gambling Law. The article discusses how federalism principles limit the effect of Congress’s sports gambling ban—chiefly, that the federal government may not compel states to actively support or participate in enforcing federal law. The article then considers the anti-commandeering principle’s limits on enforcement in the event of “uncooperative federalism.”
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    The N.B.P.A. Disclaimer: The End of the Bargaining Relationship or a Sham?
    (2013) Sedeh, Milad
    (10 Willamette Sports L.J., no. 2, 2013, at 56). This article considers how to terminate the judicially-created non-statutory labor exemption to antitrust laws. The article relates the history of the nonstatutory labor exemption for professional sports. The next section discusses terminating the nonstatutory labor exemption to pursue an antitrust lawsuit, in the context of labor disputes. The article focuses on a 2011 contract dispute between the National Basketball Association (NBA) during which the NBA locked out its players. The article argues that the players’ league’s attempt to end the exception by disclaiming its interest in representing NBA players was invalid, and therefore it did not end the collective bargaining relationship nor terminate the nonstatutory labor exemption that protects the NBA from an antitrust lawsuit. Specifically, the disclaimer was not sufficiently distant in time and circumstances from the collective bargaining process. Further, the disclaimer was not made in good faith, and was not unequivocal. The article then briefly analyzes the possibility of forum shopping in labor disputes concerning professional sports and concludes by arguing that the economics of these labor disputes will encourage the continued use of tactics such as bad-faith disclaimers.
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    Goals and Obstacles in Legislating Concussion Management in Youth Sports
    (2013) Brandwein, Kevin
    (10 Willamette Sports L.J., no. 2, 2013, at 28). This article addresses concussions in youth sports. It examines a model law in Washington State and proposed federal legislation, and defines the role legislation can and should play in limiting the harmful effects of concussions on young athletes. The article describes the science of concussions and other brain damage, including Second Impact Syndrome (SIS), chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease. Next, the article examines the scope of the concussion problem in youth sports such as football, soccer, baseball, softball, and cheerleading. The article analyzes the challenges inherent in using legislation to protect young athletes. It further examines the strengths and weaknesses of current and proposed state and federal laws. The author recommends broader application, stronger enforcement mechanisms, and stronger penalties. Federal legislative action should be limited to ensuring all states have adopted strict “return-to-play” restrictions at all schools and have required clearance by a medical professional before students return to a practice or game.