International professor coordinates new sport law class

Written by: Justin Ikpo (
Post date: October 26, 2015

The Department of Health and Kinesiology will soon feature a new online international sport law course led under the direction of Dr. David McArdle. Dr. McArdle currently teaches sport law at the University of Stirling in Dunblane, Scotland.

Dr. McArdle developed a professional relationship with Texas A&M University through his colleague associate professor Dr. Paul Batista. The two met years ago, and have both attended numerous international sport law conferences.

“By lucky chance, there was a new program at Texas A&M that they wanted someone to put together for international sports law,” Dr. McArdle said. “I had never been to Texas before but it’s been working out well with everyone.”

The upcoming course will be offered next semester and will inform students about the inner workings, structure, similarities, and differences of the international courts that govern athletes around the world.

“My role is getting people to realize why the [sports] world works the way it works,” Dr. McArdle said. “The things that interest me are the low level stuff — the things that float under the radar within these high-profile sports.”

Throughout the course, students will get an in-depth look at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), the independent institution that governs sports organizations and sports-related disputes dealing with specific needs of the sports world.

“There are all sorts of different modes of governance in professional sports that practitioners on that level are going to need to be aware of,” Dr. McArdle said.

Dr. McArdle claims that when lawsuits take place in professional sports, there are different regulatory structures that must be taken into account especially location. For example, the CAS is based in Lausanne, Switzerland so Swiss law will usually govern any cases dealing with the CAS. This applies regardless of where the parties in the case come from, where the incident complained of occurs, or where the CAS Panel hearing the matter physically sits. Therefore, those who are interested in how Olympic disciplines and other global sports are regulated need to be aware of how CAS operates and how the Swiss courts have oversight of it.

“There is a challenge when you’re in college in the states, especially in Texas, getting people to think about what goes on beyond college sports,” he said. “I’d like for this class to get people to know that things do happen differently in different sports and in different countries, and that there are different ways of approaching the same problems we see in sports.”