The Future of Alternative Dispute Resolution in Sports Recording:

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Special thank you to our speakers:

‣ Kacie Wallace, Ombudsman, United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee,
‣ Casey Jorgensen, General Counsel of USA Hockey,
‣ Christian Dennie, USOPC arbitrator,
‣ Gabe Feldman, Professor and Head of the Sports Law Program at Tulane University Law School, and
‣ Moderator, Collin Williams, Founder, New Era ADR

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Article: The Biden Amendments: How Will Title IX Changes Impact Collegiate Athletic Departments? by Collin Williams, Founder of New Era ADR

Five Key Takeaways:

  1. History of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) in Sports: ADR became prominent in sports through baseball. There was a shift to empowering athletes and not just the commissioner. Baseball’s idea moved into almost every professional sport. Football is the one outlier. All sports differ because they have their own bylaws, regulations, and constitutions. 
  2. There is a need for expediency and to retain relationships: Athletes’ biggest fear is missing their competition. These are often once-in-a-lifetime opportunities for these athletes. Olympic athletes may have a competition that is in days, not weeks.  It is not uncommon to do an arbitration in Olympic sports in 48 hours. Ancillary concerns are maintaining relationships with coaches and fellow athletes.
  3. NGBs are huge umbrella organizations: USA Hockey, for example, has over 3,000 associations sitting under the umbrella and over 500,000 players. everyone under the umbrella needs to be operating by the same set of rules to resolve disputes efficiently. Failure to resolve disputes efficiently could also result in subsidiaries and their members being barred from participating in parent organization competitions. Additionally, SafeSport issues may arise.
  4. There is little uniformity in how sports organizations resolve disputes: Domestic professional sports will likely continue to be very individualized. Olympic movements is creating some uniformity over NGBs and “olympic sports.”
  5. The Future of ADR in Sports: Technology can play a role in enabling participation in disputes from any location with the use of virtual platforms. Technology can enable athletes to feel their grievances will be heard in a more efficient and less painful forum, they will be less likely to lash out on social media and cause organizations to suffer with poor optics.

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