Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Statistics and Sports Law

As was the case at last year's Southern Economic Association conference, the American Statistical Association's annual meeting (July 30 to August 4 in Miami) includes a number of presentations that overlap with issues widely discussed here on the Sports Law Blog. A panel entitled "Controversies in Sports" features papers devoted to both the BCS and the effects of steroids. A basketball-focused session includes an analysis of NCAA Division I men's basketball tournament selection process. Finally, there is an entire panel devoted to the role of human nature in judging/officiating athletic contests. Jay Emerson organized the session and is presenting his paper pertaining to figure skating. Phil Birnbaum is offering new evidence regarding possible racial bias by MLB umpires. Kurt Rotthoff's paper involves various biases in gymnastics. My presentation focuses on NBA referees. In the course of attending a variety of conferences the past several years, my sense is that the interaction between sports law and statistics is growing. I will be curious if the (apparent) trend continues.