Fencing, swimming, rowing and canoeing are all the most popular sport in the United States, according to a new legal defense funding report from the Sports Business Institute.
And while these sports are growing rapidly, the legal fees they’re paying are still falling.
“There’s a growing trend in the sports industry for lower-income sports programs to look to fund their programs through nonprofit, non-profit and for-profit entities,” says Mike Cusack, SBI’s senior director of public policy and legal affairs.
That’s in part because of the cost of living, rising health care costs and the fact that these types of sports have become a way to supplement income.
“But for people in the middle class, they’re just not seeing the money they can make,” says Cusacks, who is also the senior director for the Sports Law Project at the SBI.
“There are a lot of people out there who are just struggling.”SBI is asking its membership to join the fund, which it is calling the Sports Legal Defense Fund.
Its members will be able to see the money go towards programs that provide legal services to athletes in sports such as rowing, swimming and canoe.
“The Sports Legal Defender Fund is designed to serve athletes, coaches and coaches-in-training, legal representation for athletes and sports professionals, and sports-related legal education to assist them in their pursuit of their passion,” the organization said in a statement.
“We want to help protect athletes and their families from the risk of losing their rights to use their rights.”
It’s not clear how much money the fund will receive.
In 2016, the National Basketball Association raised $5.5 million through its players’ union, which also paid out $5 million to its athletes’ lawyers.
However, Cusak says that the fund is not just a legal aid fund.
It’s also funded through an “investment fund” where athletes can contribute money to support sports and their programs.
“That’s the primary way we get these kinds of sports funded, to give athletes more money to spend,” Cusacs says.
“And we’ve done that.”
Funding sourcesFor those interested in a specific sport, CUSACK recommends the following sources:Law firmA law firm that specializes in representing athletes and law firms.
The Sports Law Program at the University of Washington.
The Center for Sports Law and Policy at the College of William and Mary.
Sports attorneyJohn P. DeLuca, founder of the Lawyer, a law firm in the Washington, D.C., area.
The Sport Law Clinic at the Harvard Law School.
Sports lawyerMichael G. Stutzman, who specializes in sports law and sports legal issues.SBI, the Sports Industry Association, the International Federation of Professional Athletes and the International Association of Professional Tennis Professionals also contribute to the fund.
The SBI, SBA and SFI have their own separate legal defense and legal education funds.
Funds are distributed through the Legal Aid Foundation of America.
Funders are not required to donate to the funds, but the SBA does.
The SBA, which is funded through federal funds, has an annual fundraising campaign that it says allows it to “continue its commitment to ensuring that every American athlete has access to a legal defense attorney” and is “committed to protecting athletes from frivolous lawsuits and other claims.”
The SBI is a nonprofit association, but its funding comes from individual donors, according the SBOI’s website.