Following a one year hiatus after teaching as a visiting professor at Salmon P. Chase College of Law, Professor Tan Boston is returning to the faculty lineup as a tenure-track professor of law – and bringing with her leadership positions in two national sports law associations.
“I was trying to be an engaged general member when earlier this year the leadership of the Association of American Law Schools Section on Law & Sports and later the Sports and Recreation Law Association president asked me to run for offices,” she recalls. The result for her new academic year: Along with teaching Sports Law and Property, she is taking the field as secretary of the Section on Law & Sports and chair of the newly created Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee of the Sports and Recreation Law Association.
As a visiting professor during the 2020-21 academic year she taught Property and Uniform Commercial Code courses. For the following 2021-22 academic year she returned to the University of Dayton (Ohio) School of Law, where she had been an assistant professor of law and director of the Master of Law and Master in the Study of Law programs, to teach courses that were familiar or new. “I taught Secured Transactions, and it was also my first time teaching Contracts I and Transactional Drafting.”
Then came the opportunity to return to Chase – one of six tenure-track positions she was offered – and to teach the property law courses she had taught before, and to link her past, present and future in sports law.
Professor Boston was a lawyer with the National Collegiate Athletic Association following graduation from the University of Virginia School of Law. It was her first “wish-list” job. “It was an amazing place to start a career, and I was there just long enough to publish my first law review article and work on various projects in the NCAA’s governance and general counsel offices.”
At the University of Dayton and at Chase she has taught largely commerce-related courses. Her niche specialty, though, is sports law. But even there, commercial factors are in play.
“I have always been athletic and passionate about sports,” she says. “My scholarship focuses on the business of intercollegiate athletics, with an emphasis on intellectual property and athletes’ rights.
“I chose to focus on this area because the issues that arise in sports tend to mirror those in American society. That keeps it exciting for me because almost every societal challenge and area of law is reflected under this one big umbrella. For example, the narrow topic of name, image and likeness rights for intercollegiate athletes [commonly referred to as NIL] raises issues of racial and gender equity, freedom of contract, rights of publicity, and income tax, to name a few.”
Her larger focus, with its numerous subcategories, in effect, extends her academic field. “I am finding that writing about sports law allows me to engage with broader audiences in ways that are informative, yet still relatable to everyday life,” she says.
In addition to a Juris Doctor from the University of Virginia, Professor Boston holds a Master of Laws from the University of Dayton School of Law and a Bachelor of Arts from Florida Atlantic University.