Michael McCann

Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Professor of Law, and Director of the Sports and Entertainment Law Institute
Educational Background
  • LLM, Harvard Law School
  • JD, University of Virginia School of Law
  • BA, Georgetown University
Courses Taught
  • Article II Sales (Uniform Commercial Code)
  • Deflategate: The Intersection of Sports, Law & Journalism
  • Pro Sports Law: Unique Relationship, Leagues, Team & Players
General Areas of Interest, Scholarship, Research, & Practice

• Sports law • Antitrust law • Media law • Journalism law • Advertising law • Communications law • Food and Drug law


Michael McCann is the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at UNH Law. Dean McCann is responsible for overseeing the law school’s program of legal education. His specific duties include day-to-day management of UNH Law’s degree programs with an emphasis on implementation and analysis of strategic initiatives to achieve institutional excellence. Dean McCann also supervises senior staff offices, including the registrar and career services, and he manages budgets, contracts and international programing.

Dean McCann is the Founding Director of the UNH Law Sports and Entertainment Law Institute (SELI). SELI offers hands-on training and experiential opportunities in this cutting-edge area of law. Dean McCann has held several other leadership posts at the University including Chair of the UNH Law Faculty Appointments Committee and Co-Chair of the UNH Law Dean Search and Selection Committee. Graduating students in UNH Law’s Class of 2015 selected McCann to deliver the faculty portion of their commencement address.

Dean McCann is one of the nation’s leading experts in sports law. He is Sports Illustrated’s Legal Analyst, an Investigative Writer for Sports Illustrated and the on-air Legal Analyst for NBA TV. McCann has authored more than 700 legal columns and articles for SI and is a key member of SI’s investigative team. He has covered the Boston Marathon bombings, Deflategate, the murder trials of Aaron Hernandez, sexual misconduct allegations against players, owners and team executives, the USA Gymnastics sex abuse scandal, the ouster of Donald Sterling from the NBA Colin Kaepernick’s collusion grievance against the NFL, the FBI’s investigation into college basketball corruption, amateurism litigation against the NCAA, concussion class actions, the legality of sports betting and numerous other legal controversies .

McCann was the first member of the media to interview Lance Armstrong after Armstrong’s interview with Oprah Winfrey. He interviewed Armstrong at his home in Austin, Texas and authored “My Dance With Lance” (Sports Illustrated, March 11, 2013 issue, pages 14-15).

As a journalist, McCann has also broken several national news stories. Those stories include that relevant FBI wiretaps did not implicate University of Arizona basketball coach Sean Miller in the college hoops scandal, that attorneys for Colin Kaepernick deposed New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, that University of Arkansas football coach Bobby Petrino hired his mistress over 150 more qualified candidates, that Donald Sterling informed the NBA of his refusal to comply with the NBA’s sanction and that Sterling hired a legal team with a threat to sue the NBA, and that the Los Angeles Angels were set to trade troubled outfielder Josh Hamilton.

McCann is also a best-selling author and an accomplished scholar. McCann and former UCLA basketball star Ed O’Bannon co-authored “Court Justice: The Inside Story of My Battle Against the NCAA” (Diversion Books, 2018). The book — which was named by The Christian Science Monitor as the No. 1 Sports Book in Spring 2018 and has been a best-selling book in several Amazon categories — tells the story of O’Bannon’s life in basketball and his historic court case against the NCAA. McCann is also the Editor and co-author of “The Oxford Handbook of American Sports Law” (Oxford University Press, 2017). The book is intended for law students, graduate students, college students and attorneys interested in the study of American sports law. In addition, McCann has authored more than 20 law review articles, with placements in the Yale Law Journal, Wisconsin Law Review, and Boston College Law Review, among other prominent law reviews. One notable law review article is “American Needle v. NFL: An Opportunity to Reshape Sports Law”, 119 Yale L.J. 726 (2010).

McCann is also an established expert in the laws governing journalism, media and communications. Along with Jon Hanson, the Alfred Smart Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, McCann is co-founder of The Project on Law and Mind Sciences at Harvard Law School. Hanson and McCann were recipients of the 2011 Media Prize awarded by the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, an international organization of scholars devoted to social and personality psychology.

In 2016, McCann was appointed to the Board of Advisors of the Harvard Law School Systemic Justice Project. He is also the Distinguished Visiting Hall of Fame Professor of Law at Mississippi College School of Law, where he taught full-time between 2005 and 2008 and won several teaching awards. In addition, McCann teaches in the Oregon Law Summer Sports Institute. McCann has also taught a sports law and analytics reading group at Yale Law School – the first such course to be offered at any law school – and sports law and administrative law courses at Boston College Law School and Vermont Law School. He was chair of the Association of American Law School’s Section on Law and Sports in 2008.

McCann’s work as a sports attorney is extensive. In 2004, McCann served as counsel to college football star Maurice Clarett in his lawsuit against the National Football League and its age eligibility rule. McCann was retained by Clarett’s legal team after a paper he wrote in law school – “Illegal Defense: The Irrational Economics of Banning High School Players from the NBA” – was published in the Virginia Sports and Entertainment Law Journal and read by Clarett’s attorneys. Clarett v. NFL is considered one of the most important cases in U.S. sports law history. McCann has also represented sports technology companies in business development and intellectual property matters. In addition, he has served as a Visiting Researcher at Harvard Law School, Legal Counsel to U.S. Congressman Marty Meehan, an antitrust and intellectual property law litigator at Boston law firms and a communications aide to Massachusetts Attorney General Tom Reilly.

McCann is a regular panelist at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conferences. He provides daily sports law commentary on Twitter @McCannSportsLaw. As of August 2018, McCann has more than 64,500 followers on Twitter. McCann has received numerous honors for outstanding legal commentary. Forbes Magazine, Boston Magazine, The Boston Globe and The Huffington Post have named McCann to award lists for top commentary in sports. McCann has appeared as a legal expert on numerous TV shows and film documentaries, including Katie Couric’s 2013 ABC special on the Penn State scandal involving Jerry Sandusky, CNN’s 2015 documentary film “Downward Spiral: Inside the Case Against Aaron Hernandez” and the award-winning 2018 movie “Four Games in Fall,” which focused on Deflategate and science for hire in the legal system.

representative publications

In addition to authoring more than 700 legal columns and investigative articles for Sports Illustrated, McCann has authored the following books, book chapters and law review articles:

Court Justice: The Inside Story of My Battle Against the NCAA and My Life in Basketball, (Co-Author with Ed O’Bannon, Diversion Books, 2018)

Oxford Handbook of American Sports Law (2017) (Editor, Oxford University Press, 2017)

American Sports Law through Deflategate, in Oxford Handbook of American Sports Law 1 (Oxford University Press, 2017)

Leagues and Owners: the Donald Sterling Story, in Oxford Handbook of American Sports Law 45 (Oxford University Press, 2017)

Catalyzing Fans, 6 Harvard Journal of Sports and Entertainment Law 1 (With Dan Markel and Howard Wasserman) (2015)

Do You Believe He Can Fly? Royce White and Reasonable Accommodations under the ADA for NBA Players with Anxiety Disorder and Fear of Flying, 41 Pepperdine Law Review 397 (2014)

Antitrust, Governance, and Postseason College Football, 52 Boston College Law Review 517 (2011)

American Needle v. NFL: An Opportunity to Reshape Sports Law, 119 Yale Law Journal 726 (2010)

Justice Sonia Sotomayor and the Relationship between Leagues and Players: Insights and Implications, 42 Connecticut Law Review 901 (2010)

The NBA and the Single Entity Defense: A Better Case?, 1 Harvard Journal of Sports and Entertainment Law 40 (2010)

Using Social Psychology to Evaluate Race and Law in Sports, in Reversing Field: Examining Commercialization, Labor, Gender, and Race in 21st Century Sports Law 125 (2010) (West Virginia University Press)

Situationist Torts 41 Loyola Los Angeles Law Review 1347 (with Jon Hanson, 2008)

It’s Not About the Money: The Role of Preferences, Cognitive Biases and Heuristics Among Professional Athletes, 71 Brooklyn Law Review 1459 (2006)

Legality of Age Restrictions in the NBA and NFL, 56 Case Western Reserve Law Review 731 (with Joseph Rosen, 2006)

The Reckless Pursuit of Dominion: A Situational Analysis of the NBA and Diminishing Player Autonomy, 8 University of Pennsylvania Journal of Labor and Employment Law 819 (2006)

Social Psychology, Calamities, and Sports Law, 42 Willamette Law Review 585 (2006)

Dietary Supplement Labeling: Cognitive Biases, Market Manipulation & Consumer Choice, 31 Boston University American Journal of Law and Medicine 215 (2005)

Economic Efficiency and Consumer Choice Theory in Nutritional Labeling, 2004 Wisconsin Law Review 1161 (2004)

Illegal Defense: The Irrational Economics of Banning High School Players from the NBA Draft, 3

Virginia Sports and Entertainment Law Journal 113 (2004)

Resolving Physician-Patient E-mail through Contract Law, 5 Yale Journal of Law and Technology102 (2003)

A Vote Cast; A Vote Counted: Quantifying Voting Rights through Proportional Representation in

Congressional Elections, 12 Kansas Journal of Law and Public Policy 191 (2002)

National Missile Defense: Legal & Policy Justifications, 3 San Diego International Law Journal 207 (2002)

Additional Information

McCann is a native of Andover, Massachusetts and a graduate of St. John’s Prep in Danvers, Massachusetts. 

While a J.D. student at the University of Virginia School of Law, McCann was the Editor-in-Chief of the Virginia Sports and Entertainment Law Journal, a Hardy Cross Dillard Fellow and recipient of the Best Oral Advocacy Award. 

As an LL.M. student at Harvard Law School, McCann was nominated for the John M. Olin Law and Economics Prize. Professor Jon Hanson supervised McCann’s thesis, “Pharmaceutical Drugs, Consumers and the Law.”

(603) 513-5254