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Sports Law: Primary Legal Sources

Federal Statutes and Regulations

The most essential source of law in the United States is of course the Constitution.  Statutes and Regulations may be found at the following links and also in Lexis Advance, WestLaw and Bloomberg Law.  Print versions of these resources are generally available in the Library’s collection; consult the Library’s Online Public Access Catalog ( or a Reference Librarian:

The Constitution of the United States of America.

United States Code; United States Code Annotated (U.S.C.A.:  Westlaw); United States Code Service (U.S.C.S.:  Lexis Advance)


Selected Federal Statutes:

Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), PL 101–336, July 26, 1990, 104 Stat 327, 42 U.S.C. §§ 12101-12213.

Sports Agent Responsibility and Trust Act (SPARTA Act), PL 108–304, September 24, 2004, 118 Stat 1125, 15 U.S.C. §§ 7801-7807.

Sports Broadcasting Act of 1961, Pub.L. 87-331, § 1, Sept. 30, 1961, 75 Stat. 732, 15 U.S.C. §§ 1291-1295.

Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, PL 102–559, October 28, 1992, 106 Stat 4227, 28 U.S.C. §§ 3701-3704.

Patsy Takemoto Mink Equal Opportunity in Education Act (Title IX) (Title IX of the Education Amendments 1972), Pub. L. 92-318, Title IX, § 901, June 23, 1972, 20 U.S.C. §§ 1681-1688.


Federal Regulations:

Code of Federal Regulations (CFR):  Annually-revised codification of federal agency rules, and related material.  Use and update the CFR with the Federal Register (FR) and the List of CFR Sections Affected (LSA).  See also the e-CFR resource.

Federal Register:  Use the Federal Register (published daily) to research the latest changes to federal regulations.

Federal Case Law Resources (Pennsylvania)

Case Law:  Focus case law research on the jurisdiction in question to find useful precedent relevant to sports law issues. Opinions of the United States Supreme Court are available online and in print:  United States Reports (Second Floor, KF101 .A3).  Use Westlaw for access to the West Key Number System and various case law databases.  In addition to the resources available on Westlaw, state and federal court opinions may also be found on Lexis Advance and Bloomberg Law.  The federal court Dockets search service on Bloomberg Law is also a very useful resource available to subscribers. 


Federal Courts (Pennsylvania) and related Court Resources:

Supreme Court of the United States

Third Judicial Circuit (Court of Appeals) 

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania

United States Bankruptcy Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania

U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania

U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania

Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER)


Additional Federal Case Law Resources:  Precedential and non-precedential court decisions of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals are available through Villanova Law Library's Electronic Archive of Third Circuit Opinions, starting from 1994.  Case law researchers should always remember to update their cases by using a Citator service such as Shepard's (Lexis Advance), KeyCite (Westlaw) or BCite (Bloomberg Law).

Pennsylvania Statutes and Regulations

Pennsylvania Statutes are available freely online and on Lexis Advance and Westlaw.

Purdon’s Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes Annotated (Third Floor:  KFP30 1930 .A44).

Selected Pennsylvania Statutes:

24 P.S.§ 15-1512.1.  Physical Education.

Interscholastic Athletics Accountability, 24 P.S. §§ 16-1601-A thru 16-1605-A.

Safety in Youth Sports Act, 24 P.S. §§ 5321-5323. 

The Pennsylvania Code:

22 Pa. Code § 4.27.  Physical Education and Athletics.

Pennsylvania Case Law Resources

Resources for Pennsylvania Case Law:  Use Lexis Advance or Westlaw to find Pennsylvania court decisions. 

Court Websites, Pennsylvania:

Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania

Other Court websites for other jurisdictions in the United States may be found online.

Foreign & International Sports Law

Foreign and International Law:  Foreign law is the law of foreign sovereignties; International Law is a separate body of law and legal practice that frequently draws upon foreign law.  Use the following resources to research the laws of individual nations in relation to sports law matters:

Foreign Law Guide:  Current Source of Codes and Basic Legislation in Jurisdictions of the World.

Globalex International Sports Law:  International Sports Law resources, along with links to international sporting governance bodies and associations. Comparative/Foreign Law Research Guide: Resources for research foreign and international law.

Washburn University School of Law—Wash Law Legal Research on the Web:  Database of foreign and international law, maintained by the Staff of Washburn University School of Law Library.

For more information on researching foreign and international law issues in sports law, see the International Law and U.S. Treaties Research Guides on the Villanova Law Library’s website.


International Sports Tribunals:

Tribual Arbitral du Sport/Court of Arbitration for Sport.  Founded in 1984, the Tribunal hears sports-related disputes on commercial and disciplinary matters.  Find recent and archived arbitration decisions on the organization’s website. 


Legislative History Research

Legislative history research may be helpful in understanding the origin and purpose of various state and federal legislation relevent to particular sports law matters.  Some suggested resources for this type of research are:

Pennsylvania General Assembly-Session Information  Official information on federal legislation, compiled from government sources by the Library of Congress

United States Code Congressional and Administrative News (Second Floor, KF48 .W47)

See the PA Legislative History and PA Legal Materials Research Guides on the Law Library’s website for more information on researching Pennsylvania legislative histories, or consult one of the Reference Librarians.