Law Site Spotlights Athletes’ Legal Woes

For sports fans across the nation who gripe about the state of collegiate and professional sports these days, the new legal sports site launched by FindLaw, Inc. will add more fuel to the fire.

The Mountain View, California-based law and government portal announced the launch of Thursday, saying that legal issues in sports have become far more pressing than in the past.

“Almost every American is a sports fan and many of us are fascinated — sometimes deeply troubled — by the legal issues faced by the sporting world,” said FindLaw CEO and co-founder, Tim Stanley. “FindLaw wanted to fill a niche by developing a site that focuses on law and sports and that will provide information and serve as a forum for discussion on the many important legal issues regarding sports.”

The announcement for the launch comes one day after Major League Baseball accepted the resignation of 22 umpires and brought in rookie replacements to replace them. The backroom conniving and dealing that led to the forced resignations will surely prove to be perfect fodder for FindLaw’s new site.

Hall of Shame

To liven up a controversial subject even more, FindLaw is producing a “Tarnished Twenty” ranking of college football teams based on criminal, civil and other violations.

Topping the inaugural list are the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame, followed by Florida, Florida State, Washington State, UCLA, Michigan, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Alabama and Nebraska. Cincinnati, Auburn, Arizona, Virginia Tech, Washington, Michigan State, Georgia, Iowa and Iowa State round out the ignoble twenty.

FindLaw says it plans on introducing a similar ranking for college basketball in November. The site has message boards that offer fans the chance to debate the rankings and report new violations — a snitch board with potentially enormous repercussions.

Legally, It’s Binding

FindLaw was launched by two California lawyers back in 1995 as a list of Internet resources. The site has taken off from there. It is reportedly the busiest legal site on the Web and has been the recipient of dozens of awards, including being found the best legal online Web site by American Lawyer Media for three consecutive years.

With revenue driven by advertising, FindLaw has a huge free database of legal links and case findings. It holds Supreme Court decisions that date back to 1893, offers the LawCrawler search engine and has links to federal and state government.

The site is as accessible to the layman as it is to those in the legal profession. The Findlaw Consumer Law Center helps consumers with legal issues and the site’s Small Business Center contains information on starting, financing and managing a business.

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