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For most of its history, professional athletics was governed by the unilateral decisions of team owners acting in a league format. In the last twelve years, however, a variety of sporting groups, through access to the judicial system and a changed perception of the legal status of sports, have forced the owners to share the power and wealth derived from the games. Players, unions, agents and rival leagues all now participate, in some form, in the decisions which will shape the future of sports. In the course of this growth, the sports industry has matured into a national business possessed of all the power and problems which adhere to that status. Future legal disputes between the components of the industry should be governed by the same general principles of antitrust and labor law which regulate other profit oriented enterprises of similar magnitude. The unique nature of professional athletics, however, dictates that certain traditional concepts be specially adapted to particular sporting contexts.



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