Institute of Sports Law and Ethics

Timely commentary regarding ethical and legal issues in sports by Mike Gilleran, Executive Director of Institute of Sports Law and Ethics, and Jack Bowen, ISLE Board Member.

The Institute of Sports Law and Ethics (ISLE) was founded by Santa Clara Law, the SCU Department of Athletics and Recreation, and the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics. Its 30-member board includes distinguished athletes and sports executives. The institute’s signature event is an annual Symposium on Sports Law and Ethics in September, covering subjects such as concussions, steroids, amateurism, and the commercial use of athletes’ images. In 2012 ISLE added a community outreach component, established the ETHOS Award, and created a task force to study amateurism.


Audience Responses: Unethical? Unsportsmanlike? And Why…?

What follows is a transcript of the audience comments during our Interactive Session at the 5th Annual Sports Law & Ethics Symposium.  While audience members spoke I transcribed their comments in a live feed on the screens.  As you’ll see,

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A Big Picture View of Ethics in Sport: The Audience Weighs In

“Today,” I began, standing behind the podium at Santa Clara University’s Fifth Annual Sports Law & Ethics Symposium, “I am the moderator.”  I let the comment float amongst the audience as they looked at the empty seats on stage which

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The Ray McDonald Matter: Business as Usual in the NFL?

I wrote this over the past weekend in Washington, D.C., where I was attending and speaking at meetings of the Knight Commission on College Athletics. I was interested in how the decision of the San Francisco Forty Niners to play

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The Sports Field as Venue for Big Ideas

A youth sports team provides the unique opportunity to have a group of adolescents sit together—boys, no less—look each other in the eye, and discuss some of life’s most important issues, all from a place of trust.  It’s actually quite

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Women’s World Cup Soccer: Is FIFA Simply Out of Touch?

FIFA, the international governing body for the sport of soccer, has been criticized for many things. The laundry list would include, but certainly not be limited to, the following: The selection of Qatar as the host site of the 2022

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Joe Mixon and the University of Oklahoma: Appropriate Penalty for Violence Against a Woman?

As you probably have read, University of Oklahoma freshman star football recruit Joe Mixon has been charged with misdemeanor assault and has been suspended from the university’s football team for the upcoming season for his role in an altercation at

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“Life Isn’t Fair,” Ergo Sport Shouldn’t Be Either (Oops)

To help us cope with the minor setbacks and injustices in life, we have developed certain aphoristic tidbits.  Displayed often on bumper stickers and t-shirts, they include sayings like “It is what it is,” or the French version “C’est la

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Memorable Week for the NCAA: What’s Next?

This past week has seen significant changes to the NCAA, both in terms of its governance model and in terms of its ability to restrict compensation to Division 1 men’s basketball players and Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) players for their

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Ray Rice Two-Game Suspension:  Appropriate for a Case of Significant Physical Abuse of a Woman?

When I saw the video of Baltimore Ravens player Ray Rice dragging his unconscious girlfriend (now wife) out of a hotel elevator, my immediate reaction was that Rice would face significant legal issues as well as a lengthy suspension from

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The Ethics Of Headers in Youth Soccer: Using Our Heads Correctly

Our lives are filled with risk.  Just being alive is risky.  And that gets me immediately to the point: humans don’t choose to accept the risk of coming into existence, but for those next eighteen years, those of us who

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