Jurisprudence of sport laws

글 | 박연정 기자 2021-10-03 / 21:43

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The University of Michigan has produced academic achievements and outstanding alumni in the fields of arts and sports, including music. I heard that there is a scholar who analyzes sports legally at this university, so I sent an email asking to meet him. However, the meeting with Professor Richard Friedman did not happen due to the schedule. However, before leaving the country, he reply and met finally.  met him on the American Memorial Day.


Professor Friedman is known as a rare genius who completed his undergraduate and law schools at Harvard University and studied the sociology of law at Oxford University in England. His main field of study is criminal law to evidence law. In particular, he published a number of papers on the 'opposite newspaper guarantee' in the witness newspaper. He is also interested in alternative dispute resolution procedures such as arbitration, and is one of the few scholars who observe and analyze sports as a legal system.

The reason I wanted to meet Professor Friedman was his unique approach to sports and law. He is famous as a scholar who deeply studies the legal basis or logical justification of the legal norms (restrictions) in the sports field itself, without treating the sports field as a general legal approach (general legal principles such as labor law and contract law). In other words, he has studied how autonomous legal norms within sports are governed, and how these internal disciplines have accommodated changes in times and technologies in the course of the development of sports through a fundamental approach.

University of Michigan Law Library. In order not to damage the old law school building, a library was built over three basement floors.

If we look at sports from a philosophical and humanistic approach,


This happened. As I mentioned in my observatory note, professional golf requires that all players travel on foot. Controversy arose over whether it was reasonable to allow carts for players with back or leg problems in light of the nature of the sport of golf.


In other words, it was a controversy over whether the use of carts by disabled people was in accordance with the principle of equity in the Constitution and furthermore, did not damage the essential elements of golf. In the end, the U.S. Supreme Court decided to allow golf player with disabilities to use carts after much deliberation. The reason was that 'it is difficult to see that walking itself is an essential element of golf. It was said that it was in accordance with the constitutional principle to allow players with back pain or difficulty walking to play a round on a cart in accordance with the principle of equity.


The sports field has many other controversies. For example, in a high jump event, if all athletes jump over the pole by jumping forward, but one athlete jumps backwards and jumps over the pole to achieve good results, should this be disqualified as a violation of the rules? Or should it be recognized as a new innovative high jump method?


In this case too, it is a matter of how to jump forward or backward, and the fact that it does not infringe on the essential element of the high jump can be the basis for judgment. In other words, it is common to jump backwards in the high jump now, but it is unknown which method the new challenger will take in the future. However, in this case, it is not simple whether new attempts should be viewed as creative innovations or as damaging essential elements of athletics. Perhaps philosophical and humanistic thinking should be presupposed.


Recently, a regulation was announced that bans the use of belly button putters in golf. It is expected that there is a lot of controversy about whether putting this part using a belly putter is against the essential swing of golf. In fact, for a player who is familiar with the belly putter, such a ban is quite embarrassing. What kind of legal basis does this prohibition have, and how can we secure its legitimacy?

In any case, only when the rules in the sports field are reasonable, the game is meaningful and the participating players and spectators can feel the joy of the sport. As an author interested in the philosophical approach to the various and complex regulations of each sport, I would like to express my deep respect to interested in his valuable dedication and  remarkable accomplishments .

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