Q&A with the Expert – Barbara Osborne

Q&A with the Expert – Barbara Osborne

Barbara is an Associate Professor and Coordinator for the University of North Carolina’s Graduate Program in the Sport Administration specialization. She holds a secondary appointment teaching Sports Law at the UNC Law School. She teaches Legal Issues in College Sport and NCAA Governance and Compliance in the graduate program, as well as Legal Aspects of Sports, Discrimination and Sport, and Women and Sport in the undergraduate program.

What were the circumstances that caused you to gravitate to sports law?

I was working in college athletics administration and dealing with many legal issues; the plan was to use the law degree to advance a career in athletics administration, but I detoured into academics instead.

Within the sports law field, what are your areas of expertise?

My expertise is in college athletics – all legal issues in college athletics – with a focus on gender discrimination, Title IX, Title VII and the related sexual harassment, sexual assault, pregnancy, etc. issues

What is the most significant sports law case that you’ve been involved in?

I am not a litigator, but I have served as a consultant for many college athletics departments and as an expert witness.  Clients expect confidentiality for sensitive matters!

What is the most rewarding thing about being a sports law professor?

The students!  I love seeing the light bulb turn on when they grasp a legal concept and can apply it.  The other aspect I love is the research – you are only limited by your own lack of creativity (and time, never enough time!).

Do you have a pedagogical philosophy when it comes to your academic practice?

I am a critical pragmatist, so I try to balance theory with practice.

Do you teach in the fall, spring and/or summer?

I teach fall, spring and summer – at the law school, graduate students, and undergraduates.

Do you use a text? If so, which one?

I use different texts for different courses:  Sports Law and Regulation (4th Edition) by Mitten, Davis, Smith and Duru;  Law for Recreation and Sport Managers (7th Ed.) Cotton & Wolohan (eds.); Sports Law, Governance, and Regulation (2nd Edition) by Mitten, Davis, Smith, Shropshire, Osborne