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 also taught the first law school course on “Name, Image and Likeness” and the undergraduate “Deflategate” course. He was previously on the faculties of Vermont Law School and Mississippi College School of Law and was a visiting professor at Boston College Law School.
McCann is one of the nation’s leading experts in sports law and an award-winning journalist. In June 2020, McCann joined Sportico as a writer and legal analyst. Sportico is the newest addition to Rolling Stone, Variety and other Penske Media publications. From August 2007 to June 2020, McCann was a writer and legal analyst for Sports Illustrated. He authored more than 1,000 legal and investigative stories for SI, 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 collusion grievance, NIL, concussion class actions, the legality of sports betting and many other 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 broken several national news stories. They include that attorneys for Colin Kaepernick deposed New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, that Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino hired his mistress over more qualified candidates, that Donald Sterling planned to sue the NBA, and that the Los Angeles Angels would trade outfielder Josh Hamilton.
McCann is also a best-selling author and an accomplished legal scholar. McCann and former UCLA basketball star and NBA player 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-seller in several Amazon categories — tells the story of O’Bannon’s life 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, 2018).
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 law review article is “American Needle v. NFL: An Opportunity to Reshape Sports Law”, 119 YALE L.J. 726 (2010).
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 and Social Psychology.
McCann’s work as a sports attorney is extensive. In 2004, McCann served on the legal team of college football star Maurice Clarett in his lawsuit against the NFL and its age eligibility rule. Clarett v. NFL is considered one of the most important cases in sports law history. McCann has also represented Your Call Football and other sports industry 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.
At UVA Law, McCann was the Editor-in-Chief of the Virginia Sports and Entertainment Law Journal, a Hardy Cross Dillard Fellow and winner of the Best Oral Argument Award.
McCann is a native of Andover, Massachusetts and a graduate of St. John’s Prep.
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 932: Name Image & Likeness in Sport
LRS 905: Independent Study
LSW 905: Intro US Sports Betting Law
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