School Sports

News & Analysis as of

Protecting Young Players from Head Injuries

Playing sports is a great way to improve a child’s health and enhance their athletic skill. While competition can be exciting and enjoyable, it can also be rather dangerous. Each year thousands of young players are injured...more

Interest Groups Support NCAA’s Anti-Felon Policy on Appeal

Recently, three interest groups filed an amicus brief to support the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s (“NCAA”) policy that bars anyone who has been convicted of a felony from coaching in NCAA-certified high school...more

Office for Civil Rights Clarifies That Cost of Attendance "Counts" for Title IX Purposes

Scholarships up to the cost of attendance "count as athletic financial assistance and are subject to the same rules under Title IX as other athletic scholarships," according to the U.S. Department of Education's Office for...more

Pinning It Down: Section 504 and Reasonable Accommodations in Kempf V. The Michigan High School Athletic Association

Less than two weeks after a deaf high school wrestler filed suit against Michigan’s governing body for interscholastic athletics, the parties voluntarily entered into a December 11, 2015 Consent Decree, thereby resolving...more

Congress to Shine Spotlight on Concussion Science in 2016

On December 22, Fred Upton, Chair of the House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee announced that his committee with commence a “broad review” of concussion science in 2016. Although the announcement...more

Arkansas Football and Non-Competes?

Three years ago, we addressed the question of why college football programs do not use non-compete restrictions to prevent coaches from moving to direct rivals. At the time, we mentioned the fact that Arkansas was a program...more

Title IX Implications of the O'Bannon Decision

The recent federal appellate decision in O'Bannon v. NCAA may have profound implications for colleges obligated to ensure gender equity in athletics under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (Title IX). In the...more

After He Allegedly Showed Up Drunk to Practice, Should Former USC Football Coach Steve Sarkisian Have Been Placed on FMLA Leave...

A question was posed to me on Twitter this past week: Shouldn’t former University of Southern California (USC) football coach Steve Sarkisian have been placed on FMLA leave to get treatment for apparent alcoholism instead of...more

Alcoholism and how USC may have violated ADA by firing Steve Sarkisian

On October 12, 2015, Steve Sarkisian was fired as head coach of the University of Southern California (USC) football team. While USC contends Sarkisian was fired for “cause,” there is no question that his alcohol-related...more

NLRB Ruling on Northwestern Football Players Highlights Need for Congressional Action on College Sports

In August, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB or "the Board") unanimously ruled that it lacked jurisdiction to decide whether college football players at Northwestern University are "employees" under the National Labor...more

School Districts Seeing Stars Over New Concussion Legislation

Last week, Governor Rauner signed into law the Youth Sports Concussion Safety Act (Public Act 99-0245) which includes a number of new requirements relating to student concussions for school districts, charter schools, and...more

Strong Athletic Compliance Programs: A Win-Win for Athletic Departments and Universities

Universities can minimize risk by developing a compliance program with a few essential attributes. Collegiate athletic departments are increasingly under fire for compliance-related concerns, including allegations of...more

Proposal Made to the Knight Commission Re Alternative Regulatory Scheme for College Sport

The Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics met in Washington, D.C. on May 19, 2015. Manatt’s Sports Law Practice Group Chair, Ron Katz, was invited to give a statement on alternative regulatory schemes for college...more

Illinois Appellate Court Affirms Preliminary Injunction Allowing International High School Student to Play Sports

Recently, in Makindu v. Illinois High School Student Association, the Second District of the Illinois Appellate Court affirmed a trial court’s grant of a preliminary injunction in favor of an international high school...more

Institute of Sports Law and Ethics, Co-Founded by Manatt’s Ron Katz, Is Currently Active on Three Fronts: Deflategate, Homophobia...

The Institute of Sports Law and Ethics (ISLE) at Santa Clara University is currently active on three fronts: Deflategate, homophobia and safer soccer. Re Deflategate, Ron Katz, co-founder of ISLE, has been quoted extensively...more

Head Injuries: Protecting Players in Youth Sports

A recent study by the Datalys Center for Sports Injury Research and Prevention revealed this: Coaches who underwent training by USA Football's Heads-Up Football program are better equipped to prevent player injuries....more

Clear Thinking: The State Board of Education’s Concussion Education Plan and Guidelines for Connecticut Schools

With each new year, it seems as if Connecticut legislators collectively agree to the same resolution – create new legal obligations for local and regional school boards. This year is no different. Although passed in early...more

The College Football Playoff™ college football playoff

This past Sunday, the College Football Playoff Committee unveiled the four college football teams that will be participating the very first playoff in college football. The festivities begin Jan. 1, 2015, with Oregon battling...more

Proposed Transgender Student-Athlete Policy Sparks Public Controversy in Minnesota

It looks like transgender students in Minnesota will have to wait a few more months to receive clarity on whether they can participate in school athletics and play on sports teams based on their preferred gender identity...more

NCAA to Appeal O’Bannon Decision

Last Thursday, the NCAA announced that it had filed a notice of appeal of Judge Claudia Wilken’s August 8, 2014 decision in O’Bannon v. National Collegiate Athletic Association et al. The appeal was widely anticipated as the...more

Back-to-School Signals a Review of Your Concussion Management Protocols

As another school year approaches, student-athletes and coaches will soon be involved with pre-season practices to prepare for sports contests. Emphasizing student-athlete safety has never been greater, particularly with...more

Do Referees Face Liability for Their Decisions in Sports Contests?

The doctrine of assumption of risk is a familiar one in the sports-torts arena. The general rule is that an athlete assumes the normal, commonly appreciated risks associated with playing his or her particular sport. It cannot...more

Northwestern Football Players and Academic Medical Centers: The Other Shoe Has Dropped

In a move that has surprised many, but not all, National Labor Relations Board (NLRB)-watchers and collegiate football fans, Chicago-area NLRB regional director Peter Sung Ohr has determined that Northwestern University...more

Critical Limitations Soften Blow Of Seventh Circuit Decision Voiding Indiana School’s Boys Basketball Hair Length Rule

The Seventh Circuit’s decision, which is one of the first of its kind and one of the first decisions addressing hair lengths in schools in decades, has garnered media attention and warrants a close look at hair length...more

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