Law School to Host Nov. 15 Panel on Maryland Football, Athlete Abuse and the Legal Structure of Sport

The tragic death this past June of University of Maryland, College Park football player Jordan McNair, following complications from heatstroke at team practice, has led to scrutiny of the school’s athletic program, and of college sports programs nationwide. Law professors Dionne Koller, of the University of Baltimore School of Law, and Marc Edelman, of City University of New York, will explore the legal and ethical climate around college sports in a discussion at the University of Baltimore School of Law at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 15, in Room 202 of the Angelos Law Center.

Dionne -- small fileA sports medicine consulting firm hired to investigate the college football team’s procedures found that the team’s athletic trainers did not follow proper protocols for treating suspected heatstroke in players. An examination of coaching practices found a disturbing culture that included physical and mental abuse of players.

The University System of Maryland Board of Regents’ handling of the findings, and decision to retain the football coach, caused a backlash from students and the public. It resulted in the University President Wallace Loh’s offer of resignation, followed by his decision to fire the coach, which was itself followed by the resignation of the board’s chair.

Professors Koller and Edelman will examine the legal structure of collegiate sports, in which athletes have almost no rights. They will also discuss sexual abuse scandals at USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University, and explore how systemic weaknesses allowed these behaviors to continue unabated for years, claiming many victims.

Dionne Koller is a professor of law, associate dean for academic affairs, and director of the Center for Sport and the Law at UB School of Law. Her scholarly focus is Olympic and amateur sports law, and she is a frequent media commentator on issues related to sports and the law. Dean Koller has served as chair and as a member of the Executive Board for the Sports Law Section of the Association of American Law Schools and is a member of the United States Anti-Doping Agency’s Anti-Doping Review Board. She is also on the editorial board for the International Sports Law Journal.

Marc Edelman is a professor of law at the Zicklin School of Business, Baruch College, City University of New York, where he specializes in sports law, antitrust law, intellectual property law, and gaming / fantasy sports law. He also serves as the Faculty Athletics Representative for Baruch College.

In addition to his full-time role as a law professor, Prof. Edelman is the founder of Edelman Law, where he provides legal consulting and expert witness services to businesses in the commercial sports, entertainment and online gaming industries. Some of Prof. Edelman’s recent clients include a Major League Baseball team, the Arena Football League Players Union, and several online fantasy sports providers.

Prof. Edelman is regularly cited by the media on a wide range of topics, including how the Sherman Act applies to professional sports leagues, how gaming laws apply to fantasy sports contests, and how both labor laws and antitrust laws apply within the college sports industry.


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