Oregon Summer Sports Law Institute Curriculum

July 6 - August 6, 2021

From economics to regulation, race and gender to intellectual property, the Oregon Summer Sports Law Institute offers a broad range of sports law topics.

The UO Summer Sports Law Institute’s comprehensive curriculum introduces aspiring sports lawyers to a broad range of legal topics relevant to the practice of sports law. The Institute features a unique mix of classes, lectures, and career panels, each led by experts in their respective fields.

During the rigorous five-week program, students immerse themselves in the wide world of sports law theory and practice.


The Institute curriculum consists of 6 credit hours of instruction.

Students attend two 2-hour class sessions each day, 9:30–11:20 am and 1:30–3:20 pm, followed by a final exam on the last day. Afternoons and evenings are filled with panels, guest speakers, movies, and games.

Students who are unable to stay for the entire program may make other arrangements to sit for the exam with the approval of the program director.

Sample Curriculum

The exact details of the curriculum, outside events, faculty, and speakers will change each year in response to student feedback, speaker availability, and current events in the sports industry. The final curriculum for the 2020 Institute will be available in late spring.

Week 1

Sports in the Context of Law (2 sessions)

This course introduces the main topics and themes that characterize sports law. By focusing on tensions that are felt within the dual worlds of amateur and professional sports, it provides a framework for understanding and connecting all the other topics considered over the summer.

Economics of Sports (2 sessions)

This course introduces and examines the business of sports from a financial viewpoint. Which is bigger, Nike or the Seattle Seahawks? By how much? How are sports teams valued? And what about the transfer market? These and other topics are used to place the sports industry within the context of the larger economy and to uncover for future lawyers their sports clients’ financial goals and stressors.

Interscholastic Sports (2 sessions)

High school and youth sports are generally dominated by state actors, like high schools and public universities. As a result, legal disputes among amateur athletes frequently pose constitutional issues. This course explores the basis for determining whether a youth sports organization qualifies as a state actor, as well as the implications of such status for the athlete’s rights under the First, Fourth, and Fourteenth Amendments.

NCAA Regulation (4 sessions)

University athletics’ compliance with the NCAA’s nearly 500-page rulebook has grown into a significant practice area for sports lawyers. This course will provide an overview of compliance issues, with special focus on federal and state limitations on the NCAA’s authority.

Week 2

Race and Gender in Sports (4 sessions)

The history and evolution of sports in the United States are closely intertwined with issues of race and gender. This course examines the impact of Title IX as well as the law’s response to racial and gender-based discrimination in sports.

Athletes with Disabilities (1 session)

Can a pro golfer ride a cart while competing in the PGA? What about college athletes who have been diagnosed with heart disease? This course examines the participation rights of athletes with mental and physical disabilities.

Gay and Trans Athletes (1 session)

As the 21st Century has progressed, teams and leagues have been confronted with important questions regarding the participation rights of transgendered athletes. Meanwhile, although discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community has decreased markedly, professional and elite-level sports remains a hostile environment for many. This course examines the intersection of the sports industry and an individual’s right to freely express their sexuality and gender identity.

Safeguarding (2 sessions)

Unfortunately, violence by and against athletes remains all too common. This course examines efforts to protect vulnerable athletes from abuse as well as how to respond appropriately to athletes whose off-the-field conduct fails to comport to society’s reasonable expectations.

Week 3

Sports and Antitrust Law (4 sessions)

This course considers the growth and expansion of professional sports leagues together with the antitrust law challenges presented by rival leagues and errant team owners. Also at issue will be the antitrust implications of the NCAA’s near-monopoly on college sports.

Sports and Labor Law (4 sessions)

This course considers the many labor and employment law issues that complicate a talent-based industry like sports.

Sports and IP (2 sessions)

This course examines intellectual property issues relevant to professional and amateur sports, including the marketing and branding of athletics and the use (and misuse) of images. It argues that the sports industry is really a subset of the larger entertainment industry.

Week 4

International Sports Arbitration (2 sessions)

This course considers the relationship between the regulation of American athletes by US authorities and the rules and requirements of international competitions like the Olympics, World Cup, and Tour de France.

NCAA Sports Arbitration (2 sessions)

Disputes within intercollegiate athletics follow their own system of resolution. In this course, we examine how to navigate its internal rules and procedures.

Negotiation in the Context of Sports Workshop (1 double session)

This workshop will introduce students to the world of sports negotiation through the use of simulations and hands-on exercises.

Developing Issues in Sports Regulation (2 sessions)

The sports industry continues to grapple with the implications of important developments, including both sports betting and head concussions/CTE. This course examines the current status of the applicable legal responses.

Week 5

Hot Topics in Sports Regulation (4 sessions)

College basketball and the FBI; #MeToo in the locker room; kneeling during the National Anthem; “Deflategate” and the “bounty scandal.” This course examines these and other current events in sports law.

The Law of Coaches and Agents (2 sessions)

This course addresses common legal issues faced by coaches and player agents.