Athletes Law and Legal Definition

Athletes compete in organized, officiated sports events to entertain spectators. When playing a game, athletes are required to understand the strategies of their game while obeying the rules and regulations of the sport. The events in which they compete include both team sports—such as baseball, basketball, football, hockey, and soccer—and individual sports—such as golf, tennis, and bowling. As the type of sport varies, so does the level of play, ranging from unpaid high school athletics to professional sports, in which the best from around the world compete before international television audiences.

Sports Law encompasses many areas of law, such as antitrust, contracts, drug testing, and torts are quite common. Sports law is generally divided into the areas of amateur, professional, and international sports. Also the definitions vary, amateur sports are generally defined as those participated in for hobby or recreational purposes, while professional sports are engaged in for vocational purposes.

Athletic activities are often organized and managed by individual groups that establish rules for eligibility and competition, and courts usually uphold the actions of these groups as long as their rules are reasonably applied. Perhaps the most important of these organizations is the National Collegiate Athletic Association ("NCAA"). The NCAA is the governing body for intercollegiate sports and has over 1000 member colleges and universities.

Colleges and universities which receive federal aid are subject to Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 ("Title IX") and must not discriminate on the basis of sex in their athletic programs. In professional sports, the contractual relationshipbetween the individual player and the team owner is governed by basic contract principles. Most sports leagues now have a Standard Player's Contract which serves as a model employment contract between players and owners. The relationship between players nad the agents who represent them is governed by a Standard Representation Contract which defines the duties and compensation of the agent. Many state legislatures now require agents to register with some type of administrative agency.

The two major international sports competitions are the Olympics, sponsored by the International Olympic Committee, and the World Cup, sponsored by FIFA. The United States Olympic Committee ("USOC") governs US teams sent to participate in the Olympics and other related competitions.