Legal Issues in Sport – SMGT 505

CG • Section 8WK • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020 • Modified 07/28/2020

Course Description

This course provides an examination of risk management and the current legal principles which affect sport and recreation organizations.




Sport managers need to understand the legal concepts encountered in the operation of sport and recreation programs, events, and facilities. This increased awareness of legal issues prevents liability, promotes safety, and reduces exposure to risk.

Measurable Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Apply various aspects of law to the concept of risk management within a sport or recreation setting.
  2. Utilize the library and electronic resources to research sport law cases and legal principles.
  3. Demonstrate an understanding of how U.S. law applies to sport and recreation organizations.
  4. Analyze and interpret court cases, and identify future applications of the legal principles within a sport setting.
  5. Describe the applicable legal defenses that may be utilized by sport and recreation organizations.

Course Assignment

Textbook readings and online articles

Course Requirements Checklist

After reading the Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in Module/Week 1.

Discussion Board Forums (3)

The student will participate in 3 Discussion Board Forums intended for interactive reflection. Each forum assignment will be completed in two parts: 1) the student will post a thread in response to the instructor’s prompt and 2) the student will then post replies to the threads of 3 other classmates. Each thread must be at least 400 words and the three replies must be at least 200 words each.

Legal Issues Paper: Annotated Bibliography

Before beginning the Legal Issues Paper, the student will create an annotated bibliography consisting of 10 peer-reviewed sources. It must not summarize the article or book, nor must it list the article's content; rather, it must briefly explain 1) the author’s main point or argument; 2) the author’s method or approach; and 3) the place of the piece in the literature as a whole (e.g., does the author agree with other scholars?). The bibliography as a whole must provide a solid overview of the existing state research in the area that the student is studying.

Legal Issues Paper

The student will research a topic in sport law and write a 10–15-page paper that integrates the research with one specific sport or recreation of his/her choosing. Once the research is complete, the student will compose a thesis that unifies the research, using the findings to support the paper’s main ideas. Fifteen articles and five case studies must be cited. The paper should have a title page, abstract, and references page (these are not included in the total page count); all content must be formatted in current APA style.

Special Events Contingency Planning Certificate

The student will take a 5-hour web-based mini-course offered through FEMA's Emergency Management Institute, which will provide information related to pre-event planning, forming the planning team, event hazard analysis, and responding to incidents during special events in any community. This mini-course will provide universal guidelines regarding contingency planning for special events of all sizes, and it will provide instruction for how to use the Incident Command System (ICS) as an efficient way of managing special events. Upon completion of the mini-course, and successfully passing the accompanying exam, students will submit the FEMA certificate as proof of course completion.

Risk Management Presentation

The student will submit a 15–20-slide PowerPoint presentation that applies a portion of their Legal Issues Paper to the process of risk management. More specifically, the student will use the identified legal issues (from his/her previously completed paper), and develop a risk management plan to mitigate the issues for managerial practice. The presentation will be submitted as if it is intended to train employees on the process, plan, and practical treatments of risk management.

Midterm Exam

The midterm exam will be utilized to measure the student’s ability to recall, analyze, and apply the concepts covered in the first four modules of the course. The student must choose 4 essay questions out of 13 questions provided. Each essay answer must cite 2 resources that have not yet been used in the course. The midterm’s answers should be submitted in a Word document.