To understand how law pervades sports, you must view sports from a new perspective. When
To understand how law pervades sports, you must view sports from a new perspective. When was the last time you attended a baseball game? Did you sit behind the fence behind home plate, or did you sit near first or third base behind your team’s dugout to support your team and get into the game (without fencing blocking your view)? Did you ever consider that the better view of the game might lead to the loss of one of your eyes? If you worked for the home team, and someone lost their eye as a result of the game, what would you do, especially if you found out that your fence could have prevented the loss if your 4 foot fence were merely 2 feet higher? The situation occurs more frequently than you may expect:
Now that you have witnessed the consequences, will you second-guess your seat choice, or will you at least choose to watch each at bat rather than texting during play? If you worked for the home team, would you have known to call attention to the fence’s height may expose the team to unnecessary liability? If you did not know, baseball field fence dimensions have been heavily litigated in the past, but different jurisdictions possess different regulations surrounding what is high and wide “enough” protection. Failing to meet these standards may open your organization up to serious liability.For this assignment, you must get out from behind your computers, and either witness a game you love (e.g., football, baseball, soccer) or experience a new game (e.g., polo, cricket, rugby). Whether you select little league, high school, college, or professional levels (I doubt Olympic would be realistic), you need to attend a real game/match/round/etc. to not only experience the joy of being a spectator, but to observe the sport through a new pair of lenses–legal glasses. Yes, I mean a real, competitive game. No, your television programming of a real game (recorded or live) does not qualify. For example, watching a surf competition with significant swells does not compare to watching a bunch of inexperienced people try to remain standing on a longboard in tiny ocean ripples.
View the attachment, Brief Real-World Game Assessment Example, which provides a quick example of what you could see at an athletic event while watching the game from your seat. While you attend the event, think about some of the legal ramifications that may influence those involved with the game directly (e.g., the athletes) and indirectly (e.g., spectators, like you). You will then discuss the following topic areas in a properly written (including correlating research when needed), APA-style paper, which must be a minimum of 7-pages (not including your title or references page) and incorporate at least 4 references in addition to your textbook (and references answering specific legal issues will count toward the 4 references, but not pure law, such as a Constitutional provision or individual statute/rule, which may also be expected):
- Discuss whether contracts may be involved in the event? Are there employment contracts? What about facility use contracts? Did you need to sign a waiver, or what type of waivers did the athletes sign? [Feel free to ask questions where possible.]
- What type of employment might the employees have? For instance, is the State where you viewed the event an at-will state? Also, what are some potential tort issues that may arise from the hiring process? [Use outside research for this information based on where the event occurred. Do not ask someone inappropriate questions, such as asking whether they fraudulently misrepresented their resume.]
- What organizations are involved in the event? Do you have a parent company that hires workers to facilitate the event? What about outside contractors? What type of liability may arise in each situation? Who all may be liable?
- Touching briefly, assess whether there appear to be any discrepancies in the program, particularly regarding employment, protected classes, and possible claims that may be raised (e.g., violating the ADA, race- or sex-discrimination, etc.). Also, do you see religion reflected during the event? If so, what, and how might this raise legal concerns?
- What employment pay structure may be involved? How might the FLSA be implicated? Identify various individuals to determine who would and who would not receive workers’ compensation.
- What labor laws have you learn about that may be implicated during the event? How would you go about determining what you need to know as a sport manager handling the event? Are unions represented?
- Do you see any athlete agents? You may not recognize them (or they are likely not there), but what might be their involvement in the event? Are there any other types of agency involved?
- What participant liability may arise from the event? If you are outdoors, how could you minimize Acts of God, or damages from various types of injuries? What defenses might be implicated with the event? Are there legal protections that may protect the event operators from spectator liability? What about player injury? Do you notice any individuals who seem to control the situation when an injury occurs, or might be trying to limit possible injury?
- Did you witness any violence during the event? What about reckless misconduct? What civil liability may arise from this violence?
- Finally, look around. From what you have learned, what have you noticed about the premises and facilities that may cause you to worry about tort liability for the event organizers? If someone is injured on the premises, who may be to blame or held responsible? What defenses might the premises owners raise? Is alcohol consumed during the event, and what ramifications might this cause? What are some other event issues that may arise?
Once completed, select the “Week 6 Assignment: Third Quarter Learning Activity” link above these instructions, and upload your Word document. Other documents forms, such as PDF, will not be accepted. This assignment accounts for ten (10) percent of your final grade.
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