Dionne Koller is Professor of Law and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at the University of Baltimore School of Law, where she also directs the Center for Sport and the Law. Professor Koller’s scholarly focus is Olympic and amateur sports law and she is a frequent media commentator on issues related to sports and the law. Professor Koller has served as chair and as a member of the Executive Board for the Sports Law Section of the Association of American Law Schools and is a member of the United States Anti-Doping Agency’s Anti-Doping Review Board. Professor Koller is also on the editorial board for the International Sports Law Journal and she provides pro bono representation to Olympic Movement athletes. In 2017, Professor Koller was awarded the University of Baltimore’s President’s Faculty Award for outstanding achievement in teaching, scholarship, and community service.
Question: What were the circumstances that caused you to gravitate to sports law?
Answer: I was an athlete growing up, so my appreciation for the benefits of sports participation spurred my interest in the intersection between law and sports.
Q: Within the sports law field, what are your areas of expertise?
A: Olympic and amateur sports.
Q: What is the most significant sports law case that you’ve been involved in?
A: I had the opportunity to work with Yuliya Stepanova, the athlete who blew the whistle on Russia’s systemic doping of its athletes. Her courage and commitment to the truth are a lasting inspiration to me.
Q: What is the most rewarding thing about being a sports law professor?
A: The combination of working with students and contributing to the community. I enjoy being able to work on issues that will protect the integrity of sport and bring the benefits of sport to more children and help a generation of students do the same.
Q: Do you have a pedagogical philosophy when it comes to your academic practice?
A: My teaching philosophy is built on the model of good coaching. I want students to push themselves to be their personal best and define their standard of excellence.
Q: Do you teach in the fall, spring and/or summer?
A: Fall and spring.
Q: Do you use a text? If so, which one?
A: I have always liked Matthew Mitten and Tim Davis’s Sports Law and Regulation because it balances the material on professional sports with the important issues in Olympic and amateur sports.