Tuesday, August 13, 2013

When a (Sports Law) Research Line Ends

Edward Elger recently published the Handbook on the Economics of Women in Sports.  The 443 page tome was edited by Eva Marikova Leeds and Michael A. Leeds.  I contributed a chapter entitled "The Goals and Impacts of Age Restrictions in Sports."  As I was flipping through the pages, it dawned on me that the publication of my chapter marked the end of my decade-long inquiry into the legality and efficacy of minimum age rules in the sports industry.

My inquiry started as 2L, when I wrote a full length law review article examining the WTA Tour's so-called "Capriati Rule" under American antitrust law  A few years later, I penned a case note about the Toscana v. PGA Tour case.  After the NBA and NBPA agreed on a minimum age rule, I wrote a short piece about the new rule in basketball.

After a trilogy of law-focused articles, my attention turned to testing the efficacy (and effect) of such rules.  With sports labor market data largely in the public domain, I opted to statistically test both the WTA Tour rule and the NBA-NBPA policy.  The former was published in 2011 in the Journal of Labor Research.  The latter was published last year in the Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports.  With a dozen unrelated research projects in my queue and my interests moving elsewhere, I am fairly certain that my survey piece in the handbook edited by Leeds and Leeds will be my last contribution in this area for quite some time.

If/when there is another Clarett-type lawsuit challenging a sports league's age rule, there will, undoubtedly, be another flurry of academic work in the area.  Likewise, on the empirical side, researchers will have access to larger data sets with less censored data in the years ahead.  I will be very interested to see how this "sports law analytics" research line is extended by others.