"Emerging and Key Legal Issues in Sports" CPD Recap

  • March 20, 2024
  • Samantha F. Glass

I attended the "Emerging and Key Legal Issues in Sports" CPD hosted by the Entertainment, Media, and Communications Law Section on February 13, 2024. There was a multitude of topics discussed by a skilled panel of speakers. The first part of the event was a peek into the journeys of those on the panel into the area of sports law and how they were able to build it into their practice. A few tidbits of information on this topic that stood out to me personally were as follows:

  • In the field of sports law, you will wear many hats and there are many avenues in the matrix of sports law.
  • You could be conducting arbitrations, negotiating contracts, dealing with labour and employment issues, human rights etc.

A few of the key issues that were focused on were:

1. Safe Sport – addressing abuse, harassment and maltreatment in sport.

How has sports culture changed? There is more awareness to these issues based on a greater amount of training. There is more a more consistent definition of harassment so that these issues can be dealt with sooner.

For instance, the Safe Sport complaint process – an independent third-party process that is set up (see https://athleticsontario.ca/safe-sport-information). On a national level, there is a program called “Abuse Free Sport” (see https://abuse-free-sport.ca/). Their code of conduct can be found here: https://sportintegritycommissioner.ca/files/UCCMS-v6.0-20220531.pdf

The provincial level faces issues that are different from those at the national level as many provincial sports run on volunteers.

2. Name, image and likeness rights “(NILR”)

What are they?

  • Rights that an athlete has in relation to the use of their name.
  • Tied up in a contract with their team and at an organization level so the team can promote their affiliation with the athlete in various forms.
  • As of July 2021, the NCAA has allowed athletics who have not received monetization previously, to now be able to monetise free from restrictions
  • Can enter into own deals, live streaming etc.

The panelists also shared advice shared for law students interested in exploring sports law.

First, industry knowledge is important. Having numerous years of experience in general practice is important and will not be wasted. You can then slowly transition into sports. In your years of general practice, it is important to stay on top of industry developments - look to sports and entertainment law journals. There is no one way to enter into the industry. Attend seminars and conferences. Be excellent at what you do and determine how you can apply your skillset and add value to sports clients. Be open to various opportunities.

This CPD program was chaired by Kayley C. Leon – Vice Chair of the Entertainment, Media and Communications Law Section of the OBA.  It was filled with great information. I would highly recommend you watch the replay to gain even more information and insightful tips. 

Any article or other information or content expressed or made available in this Section is that of the respective author(s) and not of the OBA.