Professor Michael McCann is the Founding Director of the Sports and Entertainment Law Institute. He served as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs from 2017 to 2019.
McCann has won the Professor of the Year Award multiple times for excellence in teaching. Graduating students in the Class of 2015 selected McCann to deliver the faculty portion of the commencement address. McCann has been an innovator in legal education, creating the first law school course on “Name, Image and Likeness” and designing first-of-their-kind online programs. He also built the much-publicized “Deflategate” course.
McCann is one of the nation’s leading experts in sports law. In 2021, he testified before the United States Senate in a Commerce Committee hearing that included NCAA president Mark Emmert and centered on name, image and likeness and other reforms.
McCann is a best-selling author and an accomplished legal scholar. He and former NBA player Ed O’Bannon co-authored “Court Justice: The Inside Story of My Battle Against the NCAA” (Diversion Books, 2018). The book—named by The Christian Science Monitor as the No. 1 Sports Book in Spring 2018 and a leader in several Amazon categories—tells the story of O’Bannon’s life and his historic court case against the NCAA.
McCann is the Editor and co-author of “The Oxford Handbook of American Sports Law” (Oxford University Press, 2018). The book is used in sports law courses.
In addition, McCann has authored more than 20 law review articles and book chapters, including placements in the Yale Law Journal, Wisconsin Law Review, and Boston College Law Review. One notable article is “American Needle v. NFL: An Opportunity to Reshape Sports Law”, 119 YALE LAW JOURNAL 726 (2010).
McCann has frequently appeared as a legal expert on national TV programs, including: The Today Show; Good Morning America; The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer; Washington Journal; Katie; The Story with Martha MacCallum; Lou Dobbs Tonight; and The News with Shepard Smith. He also was a legal expert in Four Games in Fall (Deflategate film) and CNN’s Downward Spiral: Inside the Case Against Aaron Hernandez.
McCann is also an award-winning journalist. In 2020, he joined the staff of Sportico, which is published by Penske Media (the publisher of Rolling Stone and Variety). From 2007 to 2020, McCann authored more than 1,000 legal and investigative stories for Sports Illustrated, including 203 stories in 2019. McCann has covered the Boston Marathon bombings, the murder trials of Aaron Hernandez, the NBA's ouster of Donald Sterling, USWNT pay litigation, Colin Kaepernick’s grievance and other controversies.
McCann was the first journalist to interview Lance Armstrong after Armstrong’s interview with Oprah Winfrey. He met Armstrong at his home in Austin, Texas and authored “My Dance With Lance” (Sports Illustrated, 5/11/2013 issue, pages 14-15).
The International Business Times named McCann one of the “11 Entrepreneurs, Marketers, and Coaches to Follow” in 2021. The list also included Elon Musk and Eric Yuan. The Aspen Institute named McCann one of the 50 people to follow in 2021 and he has been recognized by Forbes and The Boston Globe as a leading voice in sports.
Along with Harvard Law School Professor Jon Hanson, 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 & Social Psychology.
McCann served on the legal team of college football star Maurice Clarett in his lawsuit against the NFL’s age eligibility rule. Clarett v. NFL is one of the most important cases in sports law history. McCann has also represented Your Call Football and other sports clients. In addition, he was Legal Counsel to U.S. Congressman (now UMass President) Marty Meehan, an attorney at Boston law firms and an aide to Massachusetts Attorney General Tom Reilly.
A graduate of St. John’s Prep, McCann hails from Andover, Massachusetts.
J.D., University of Virginia
LL.M., Harvard Law School
B.A., American Government & Politics, Georgetown University
INCO 460: Deflategate
LAW 460: Sports Law
LGP 956: Professional Sports Law
LGP 969: Article II Sales
LIP 914: Amateur Sports Law
LIP 932: Name Image & Likeness in Sport
LRS 905: Independent Study
LSW 905: Intro US Sports Betting Law
Jump Ball: The Unsettled Law of Representing College Basketball Stars and Monetizing Their Names, Images, and Likeness (2020).
O'Bannon, E., & McCann, M. (2018). Court Justice The Inside Story of My Battle Against the NCAA. Diversion Books.
McCann, M. (2018). Introduction: American Sports Law through Deflategate. In The Oxford Handbook of American Sports Law.
McCann, M. (2018). Leagues and Owners: The Donald Sterling Story. In The Oxford Handbook of American Sports Law.
McCann, M. (2014). Do you Believe He Can Fly? Royce White and Reasonable Accommodations Under the Americans with Disabilities Act for NBA Players with Anxiety Disorder and Fear of Flying. Pepperdine Law Review, 41, 397-438. Retrieved from http://scholars.unh.edu/law_facpub/37
McCann, M. (2010). Justice Sonia Sotomayor and the Relationship between Leagues and Players: Insights and Implications. Connecticut Law Review, 42, 901-923. Retrieved from http://scholars.unh.edu/law_facpub/36
McCann, M. A. (2005). Dietary supplement labeling: Cognitive biases, market manipulation & consumer choice. AMERICAN JOURNAL OF LAW & MEDICINE, 31(2-3), 215-268. doi:10.1177/009885880503100204