The mission of the Center for Sports Law and Policy (CSLP) is to integrate Thomas Jefferson School of Law (TJSL) with, and prepare its students for employment in, the growing sports industry. With its emphasis on both professional, amateur and international sports law and policy, its location in San Diego, and its involvement with the three other centers of academic excellence at TJSL, the Center is ideally suited to become a major force in dealing with sports law and policy issues and preparing its students for involvement in the industry. Unlike any other Center located at a Law School in the United States, the CLSP is committed, through hosting of conferences and preparing of whitepapers, to helping find solutions to the major problems in the sports industry. As they are engaged in the work of the Center’s mission to help find viable solutions to the major problems confronting the sports industry in the 21st century, students learn skills as problem-solvers. Students participate in developing whitepapers, hosting conferences, and studying sports law and policy in a curriculum specifically designed to emphasize problem-solving skills.
The centerpiece of the CSLP is its certificate program that permits students to emphasize sports law and policy as a part of their legal education. As a part of this certificate program, students will be required to take fifteen (15) units in the rich sports law and related course curriculum at TJSL. Required courses include: Amateur Sports Law (2 units); Professional Sports Law (2 units); International Sports Law (2 units) and Internship in Sports Law (3 units); and a special projects or independent study (paper or project) under the supervision of a faculty member associated with the Center on a topic related to the sports industry (2 units.) In addition to those eleven (11) required units, students will take four additional units in sports law or related courses, such as Infractions and Compliance (2 units); Collective Bargaining in Professional Sports (2 units); Race and Gender in Sports (2 units); Contract Drafting in the Sports Context; or other independent studies, seminars or (2 unit) courses in sports law. With approval of the Director of the CSLP, students may also satisfy this four credit elective requirement by taking courses in TJSL’s rich curriculum in a subject matter that relates to the sports industry, in which the student may either write a major sports-related paper or complete a sports-related project.
As part of the Certificate Program, students will also be expected to participate in the policy-related work of the Center described in the following section. Students and faculty will also work with our Sports Law Society and our graduates working or interested in the sports industry in hosting various activities, including the National Sports Law Negotiation Competition, which is sponsored by the Thomas Jefferson School of Law. In fulfilling its mission of preparing students for engagement with and employment in the sports industry, the CSLP is committed to helping students understand how theory, practice and policy are integrated in solving problems in the sports law and policy area.
Law and Policy
The CSLP is unique in its capacity to engage in research and study regarding sports law and policy related topics. Through the work of the CSLP, TJSL is committed to being a leader in the study of sports law and policy issues. Sports are a major force in our economy and culture, but it is rarely studied in depth. In the United States, it has been reported that we spend more dollars on sports than on education. Our nation’s media also provide more time and space (coverage) for sports and sports-related issues than for other issues covered in education. If such issues are studied in disciplinary isolation (e.g., articles in legal or business journals), the analysis is inadequate. The issues do not arise in isolation, in a disciplinary sense, so effective study of those issues requires cross-disciplinary study and research. As a free-standing, non-profit law school, TJSL is specially situated to build bridges with other major academic and professional entities and organizations throughout the world and is committed to doing so.
Students will be directly involved with faculty in hosting conferences, symposia and speakers. Students and faculty will also work jointly on projects and the generation of white-papers and other materials designed to contribute to improved policymaking in the sports law and policy area. With its recognition that policymaking and problem solving in the sports industry is by its very nature cross-disciplinary, students and faculty associated with the CSLP will work with those who are not necessarily lawyers within the industry to endeavor to find viable solutions to issues in the sports law and policy area.
The CSLP is committed to being a leader nationally and internationally in the sports law and policy area. By providing students with an engaging and balanced curriculum and opportunities to be involved with leading lawyers and policymakers in the sports industry, the CSLP offers students a unique opportunity to pursue their legal education and interest in sports law and policy.
We encourage students to visit campus, attend classes, talk with students and faculty and see for themselves whether they would benefit from being associated with the CSLP, with its commitment to being a leader in the sports law and policy area.
Qualifications of Director: Professor Rodney K. Smith
- B.A., Western State College (academic All American); J.D., cum laude, Brigham Young University; LL.M. and S.J.D., The University of Pennsylvania
- Co-author of Sports Law, basic text series, West Publishing Company
- Co-author of Sports Law and Regulation, Wolters Kluwer Publishing, now in 2nd Edition (3rd Edition will be published in 2013)
- Co-author of Sports Law and Regulation, a text for undergraduate and graduate sports management programs (to be published by Wolters Kluwer in 2013
- Past Chair, AALS Sports Law Section
- Published multiple articles in the sports law and policy area, including seminal articles in the Indiana Law Journal (which called for and led to the development of certification of intercollegiate athletic programs as a part of the accreditation process); Nevada Law Journal (which called for and led to the development of graduation incentives and disincentives in commercialized intercollegiate athletics); South Texas Law Review (which called for and contributed to the development of women’s football in Florida and other states as a means of dealing with the Title IX conundrum); and articles published at Wake Forest University and the University of Mississippi regarding the future of the Bowl Championship Series
- Regularly publishes and presents commentaries and makes media appearances in the national media
- Former Member, Infractions Appeals Committee, NCAA Division-I
- Member, Advisory Board, National Sports Law Institute at Marquette University
- Former Faculty Athletics Representative and Chair of the Athletics Committee, The University of Memphis
- Past Advisor to Uniform Laws Commission regarding the law related to sports agents
- President, Southern Virginia University, with experience overseeing an intercollegiate athletic program
- Dean, Schools of Law at Capital, Montana, the University of Arkansas-Little Rock, and Memphis (interim, while serving as the Herff Chair of Excellence in Law)
Conferences Planned for 2012-13 Academic Year
September 30, 2012: Annual Conference held in Conjunction with Thomas Jefferson’s sponsorship of the National Sports Law Negotiation Competition
This conference, which is held annually in conjunction with the National Sports Law Negotiation Competition, brings practitioners and other sports law and policy figures together to discuss major issues in professional and amateur sports. Panelists also discuss job opportunities in the sports industry.
November 10, 2012: “Gladiators in the 21st Century: Addressing the Problem of Violence and Injuries in Athletics"
This conference will bring legal, medical and business professionals together to address problems associated with violence and injuries in athletics. One session will address the problem of concussions and other injuries that are of significant contemporary concern in athletics at all levels, including sports as diverse as football and cheer. The other session will examine violence in sports, including the recent bounties controversy. In keeping with the Center’s mission, the sessions will examine the problems associated with injuries and violence and will offer and evaluate solutions to those problems.
Spring 2013: “The Fifth Decade of Title IX: Challenges and Opportunities”
This conference will bring leaders in law and policy together to celebrate four decades of success for Title IX and to explore challenges and opportunities for Title IX in its fifth decade. In particular, the Center will present and engage participants in a vigorous discussion regarding its whitepaper for recognizing women’s football and women’s cheer as intercollegiate sports.