Saunders_Athletics and the Law

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Athletics and the Law:

Athletics and the Law Ashley Saunders Azusa Pacific University April 2015


Negligence An act or omission that injures a person (could be committed by coach, teacher, ATC, etc.) Two types Ordinary & Gross Ordinary: failure to act with reasonable care and lack of ordinary diligence (not helping at all) Gross: blatant disregard to use reasonable care (recklessly helping)

Defenses Against Negligence:

Defenses Against Negligence Must prove three things to have a case : 1. T here was a duty to exercise reasonable care. 2 . D uty was breached by failing to use reasonable care. 3 . Reasonable connection between the failure to use reasonable care & the injury sustained Good Samaritan Law: can protect one against possible negligence who voluntarily chooses to help by administering first aid

Waivers and Releases:

Waivers and Releases All athletes or legal guardians (if athlete is under 18) must sign waiver to participate An “Agreement to Participate” is not considered a waiver because there is no contract Waivers and release forms are not always upheld in court. Be specific. These documents are in place to protect the service provider. In order to “assume a risk,” one must have knowledge- educate your athletes!

Premises and Product Liability :

Premises and Product Liability Premises liability landowners/property owners could be held responsible for accident or injury sustained on property includes land and facilities Product liability Product causes accident or injury Two types Manufacturing defect: error occurred during assembly of product D esign defect: defect was there before being manufactured

Emergency Care and Supervision:

Emergency Care and Supervision Coaches and physical education teachers should consider requiring CPR certification for themselves and staff, if it is not already required by the institution. Coaches/teachers are the first responders if there is no athletic trainer. Coaches/teachers/athletic trainers should be aware of the Emergency Action Plan (EAP) and run through it annually with team/class.


Transportation Duty of driver begins at departure point and ends at arrival Drivers must present a driving record and license in order to transport athletes. Check with school to determine if extra paperwork or classes are required to transport athletes in a vehicle owned by the institution. If needed, on rare occasion, athletes can carpool and transport themselves, but become liable.

Assault and Battery:

Assault and Battery Elements of Assault T here was an intent to cause harm O ne felt apprehension of harm There was a lack of consent Elements of Battery I ntent to touch was there A ctual touching occurred There was a lack of consent Mere threat of harm could be an assault; there does not need to be physical touch.

Criminal Law and Sport:

Criminal Law and Sport Athletes need to be held to the same standard as every non-athlete. Athletes have the same rights as every non-athlete. Institutions can write their own contracts detailing the consequences of any criminal action. * If the athlete agrees to uphold the contract by signing it, he/she is agreeing to face the consequences

Risk Management :

Risk Management Five steps Identify the risk E xamine feasibility of alternate techniques S elect best technique Techniques: avoidance of risk, transfer of risk, retention of risk, reduction of risk Implement technique, Continue to monitor plan Audit : systematic inspection for possible hazards and development of a plan Steps to audit 1 . Initial inspection 2 . Risk treatment 3 . Random check-ups

Crisis Management:

Crisis Management Emergency Action Plan (EAP) must be established and visibly displayed/accessible in facility. EAP must be reviewed annually by coaches/teachers/athletic trainers. EAP must include medical, weather and campus emergencies. Name of institution, address, phone number, Campus Safety and emergency phone numbers

Due Process:

Due Process A requirement that the state must respect all legal rights owed to a person Fourteenth Amendment protects due process Two Types Substantive due process: a right that is owed to one is being taken away Procedural due process: one is not given the proper procedures that law allows ( search & seizure)

Search and Seizure:

Search and Seizure Three basic issues the courts must consider: 1 . Is there state action? 2 . Is the conduct a search? 3 . Is the conduct a reasonable search? Important to know/be aware of for drug testing, Athletes and parents will have questions and want answers if athlete is busted Fourth Amendment protects one’s rights regarding search and seizure.

Drug Testing:

Drug Testing Drug testing is conducted by medical professionals. Positive tests result in consequences. Consequences vary for a high school athlete v. NCAA athlete v. professional athlete Educate athletes on consequences. Urinalysis is not a violation of the Fourth Amendment. There needs to be a probable to cause to be searched for drugs, but not to be tested through urinalysis.

Participants with Disabilities:

Participants with Disabilities Americans with Disabilities Act * Protects rights of those with disabilities * Requires all facilities be handicap accessible Athletes cannot be held out because of their disability alone * Team physicians give the final clearance for participation Section 504 * " no qualified individual with a disability in the United States shall be excluded from, denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under" (US Department of Justice, 2009) any program or activity that either receives Federal financial assistance

Gender Equality and Title IX:

Gender Equality and Title IX Title IX does not apply to after school sports that are not federally funded i.e. Little League AB 2404 Bill was unsuccessful in implementing Title IX in municipal sports, but the “Raise the Bar” initiative has been successful in encouraging girls to join municipal sports. Title IX does not just apply to girls playing sports, but also regulates the number of male and female sport programs, salaries, budgets, etc.


References Cotten , D., & Wolohan , J. (2013). Law for recreation and sport managers (6 th ed.). Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall Hunt Publishing Prentice , W., & Arnheim , D. (2009). Arnheim's principles of athletic training: A competency-based approach (13th ed .). Boston: McGraw-Hill Higher Education . US Department of Justice. (2009). A guide to disability rights law. Retrieved from http://