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.


Intentionally Losing: Part III—The Sake and Purpose of Sport

            In most walks of life, it’s easy to explain why an immoral action is immoral.  You catch someone stealing your purse and you might say, “You should not do that.  I have a right to my property, it’s against

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Instant Replay: Is there an Ethical Obligation to Get the Call Right?

We saw it time and again this past NFL season. A bang-bang play, a coach’s challenge to the resulting call by the officials, and a seemingly endless delay before a judgment was finally rendered. And we saw it recently at

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Intentionally Losing: Part II—The Absurdity Of It All

            No doubt, part of the ethical depravity of the intentional loss relates to the fact that it’s being done deceptively.  The badminton player behaves as though the birdie is going out of bounds only to act surprised when it

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Northwestern University Football: Catalyst for Change?

A recent ruling by the regional director of the National Labor Relations Board in Chicago that football players at Northwestern University are university employees is a jarring example, in my view, of the need for further movement in the NCAA

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Intentionally Losing: Part I of III—Ethical Considerations

Determining the ethics of intentionally losing a game to gain something greater in the future—known as “tanking” or “throwing the game”—seems like a no-brainer in that the practice is just wrong.  Though…deciphering the logic of this conclusion actually does require

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NCAA Deadline Concerning the NBA Draft: Good for Coaches and Schools, Bad for the Players. What Else is New?

The NCAA has a very narrow time frame within which men’s basketball players have to decide whether to withdraw their names from the NBA draft.  This year, a young man with NCAA eligibility remaining who submits his name to the

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March Madness:  A Time for Celebration and Litigation

Even as NCAA March Madness prepares to consume America for the next few weeks, the foundation of amateurism on which the NCAA is based continues to be threatened.  Please see this link for information on the most recent piece of

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Taking the Low Road: Anticipated Negative Recruitment of Missouri Football Following Michael Sam’s Announcement

The unfortunate reality of negative recruiting, the practice of a coach criticizing a rival rather than focusing on the merits of his or her own school, was something I dealt with on a continuing basis during my time as an

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Dance Like Everybody’s Watching: What Sport Can Learn From Dance

This week I’m going to attend our school’s annual Dance Performance Concert.  If it’s anything like the past 13 years, it will yet again inspire like no other event I attend at our exceptionally inspiring school.  I’d like to share

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Hey Curling, It’s Not You It’s Us: The Silliness And Seriousness Of Sports

One of my favorite diversions during the Winter Olympics involves tracking the popular opinion of curling. The overriding conception seems to be that it’s just plain silly.  A New York Post article deems curling the “weirdest” Olympic sport and an episode

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