Historically, the commissioners of the U.S. professional sports league have had a duty to preserve the integrity of the leagues. Developing from this concept through collective bargaining between the leagues and players’ associations, the disciplinary systems of the leagues are designed to keep conflicts out of the U.S. courts. Recently, these systems have come under considerable public scrutiny questioning their fairness and effectiveness and, in some cases, the integrity of the commissioners and sports. Specifically, there have been issues with conflict of interest of the commissioners and arbitrary decision-making in disciplining players. This Comment explores the disciplinary systems of the four major U.S. professional sports leagues to determine whether they currently preserve justice. It then examines some of the most successful international sports disputes systems as a comparison. To preserve the public’s faith in the integrity of sport, this Comment proposes a new independent arbitral body, the American Sports Arbitral Tribunal (ASAT), which would hear the disciplinary appeals from these U.S. professional sports leagues, at least removing the potential conflict of interest within the current systems. Finally, this Comment concludes that the leagues and players’ associations would have to help create and incorporate this ASAT, but likely will not because nearly all of the collective bargaining negotiations involve mainly monetary distribution. Unfortunately, this may lead to the public losing faith in these sports leagues.
Jeremy R. Abrams,
Making the Right Call: Why Fairness Requires Independent Appeals in U.S. Professional Sports Leagues,
97 Marq. L. Rev. 469
Available at: http://scholarship.law.marquette.edu/mulr/vol97/iss2/7