Ron Katz is a civil litigator with over four decades of experience, including numerous jury trials in the areas of intellectual property, antitrust and sports law. He currently focuses primarily on the legal issues in sports law, and is a widely published author in the field, including the 2017 book, Sport, Ethics and Leadership (Routledge, Oxford and New York). His litigation practice in the sports field has included representation of professional athletes and he frequently presents on topics such as concussions, amateurism, use of athletes’ images and the right of publicity. In 2019, Ron was an expert witness for South African intersex runner and Olympic gold medalist, Caster Semenya, in her Court of Arbitration for Sport trial against the International Association of Athletics Federations.
In 2016 Ron was a Distinguished Careers Institute Fellow at Stanford University and in 2015 he was a Fellow in the American Leadership Forum — Silicon Valley, Class XXIX. He has served on the Board of Overseers of The College of Arts and Science of New York University. Ron is on the National Leadership Council of the Positive Coaching Alliance and is a Senior Director on the board of the Association of American Rhodes Scholars.
An active writer and speaker throughout his career, Ron has spoken and published frequently on a range of legal issues. In May 2017 he spoke at the Stanford Law School as part of a day-long program: Athletes, Sports Law, and Policy: An Interdisciplinary Symposium. In 2018, Ron spoke at Oxford University, the University of Texas, and the Gender Spectrum Conference at St. Mary’s University. In 2019 he was an expert witness for South African runner Caster Semenya in her case before the Court of Arbitration for Sport, and has spoken in June, 2019 on the Semenya case at the German Sport University in Cologne, Germany. In 2015-2016 he was a regular writer for Forbes.com on ethical and legal issues in sports. He was a co-founder of the Institute of Sports Law and Ethics at Santa Clara University. He has served as an adjunct professor at the Santa Clara University School of Law, most recently teaching the Sports Law class. He has taught regularly in the trial advocacy program at the Stanford Law School. His speaking engagements have included addresses to the California Judges Association on the subject of concussions and to the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics on the subject of amateurism. He is a member of the National Leadership Council of the Positive Coaching Alliance and is a Senior Director on the board of the American Association of Rhodes Scholars.
Selected Publications (a full list of other publications can be viewed here)
- “Recent Name/Image/Likeness Legislation Will Change the NCAA (or not),” Howard University Law School Institute for Intellectual Property and Social Justice newsletter, February, 2020: https://iipsj.org/blog_likeness_legislation/
- “MLB Must Punish Houston Astros Players to Restore Integrity,” Sports Law360, January 17, 2020.
“WADA Should Attend to Due Process in Russian Athlete Case,” Sports Law360, December 5, 2019.
- To Abate Corruption, IIAF Must Change More Than Its Name,” Sports Law360, November 1, 2019.
- “NFL Discipline Process Shouldn’t Apply To Off-Field Conduct,” Sports Law360, September 13, 2019.
- “Minor Leaguers Class Cert. Win Won’t Help Baseball Pay,” Sports Law360, August 30, 2019.
- “IOC Erred In Focus On State-Sponsored Russia Doping Theory,” Sports Law360, July 17, 2019, https://www.gcalaw.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/ioc-erred.pdf
- “Why is a Private Sports Court Deciding Who Is Female?,“ The Nation, June 17, 2019, https://www.thenation.com/article/caster-semenya-testosterone
- “Would Ban on Intersex Runners Hold Up in US Courts?,” Bloomberg Law, June 5, 2019. https://news.bloomberglaw.com/us-law-week/insight-would-ban-on-intersex-runners-hold-up-in-u-s-courts
- “NY Should Think Twice Before Legalizing Sports Betting,” Sports Law360, May 13, 2019.
- “Discrimination in Athletics—Eligibility of Intersex Runner a Prime Example,” Bloomberg Law, May 13, 2017, https://news.bloomberglaw.com/us-law-week/insight-discrimination-in-athletics-eligibility-of-intersex-runner-a-prime-example
- “6 Myths about Sports Betting,” Sports Law360, April 25, 2019.
- “Ending the NCAA‘s Tax Exemption Should Be a Slam Dunk,“ The Nation, March 27, 2019, https://www.thenation.com/article/march-madness-tax-exemption-inequality
- “March Madness: The NCAA’s Tax Exemption,” Sports Law360, March 14, 2019.
- “The Supreme Court Has Undone a Century of American Opposition to Sports Gambling,” The Nation, February 25, 2019.
- “The Road to Legal Sports Betting: From Ethics to Economics,” Sports Law360, February 13, 2019.
- Sport, Ethics and Leadership (Oxford and New York: Routledge, 2017) https://www.routledge.com/Sport-Ethics-and-Leadership/Bowen-Katz-Mitchell-Polden-Walden/p/book/9781138738478
- “USA Gymnastics Should Dissolve Itself in Bankruptcy,” Sports Law360, December 7, 2018.
- “It’s Time for the US Government to Take Control of US Olympic Efforts,” The Nation, November 16, 2018.
- “US Government Should Manage US Olympics,” Sports Law360, November 7, 2018.
- “Why the World Anti-Doping Agency Must Be Replaced,” Sports Law360, September 20, 2018.
- “Court Doubles Down on Incorrect Right of Publicity Ruling,” Sports Law360, September 10, 2018.
- “EA Victory over Ex-NFL Players Should Be Reversed,” Sports Law360, August 27, 2018.
- A Look at Ex-Coach’s Amicus Brief in On-Field Prayer Case, Sports Law360, August 9, 2018, https://www.gcalaw.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/prayer.pdf
- “Why Rodchenkov is Wrong Name for Anti-Doping Bill,” Houston Chronicle, July 24, 2018, https://www.houstonchronicle.com/opinion/outlook/article/Why-Rodchenkov-is-wrong-name-for-anti-doping-bill-13098820.php?utm_campaign=email-premium&utm_source=CMS%20Sharing%20Button&utm_medium=social
- “USOC Should Have Selected Ethics Expert As New CEO,” Sports Law360, July 17, 2018, https://www.gcalaw.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/usoc.pdf
- “Why Congress Should Not Honor One of the Most Notorious Doping Cheats of All Time,” The Nation, July 9, 2018, https://www.thenation.com/article/congress-not-honor-one-notorious-doping-cheats-time/
- “Track Org Should Rescind New Rules For Intersex Athletes,” Sports Law360, May 7, 2018.
- “New Dimension to Olympic Doping Saga: Admissible Evidence,” Sports Law360, April 30, 2018.
- “A Closer Look at NCAA’s ‘Dancing with the Stars’ Decision,” Sports Law360, April 23, 2018.
- “’Icarus’: Best Film Based on a Doping Scheme (but the Wrong One),” The Nation, March 14, 2018,
https://www.thenation.com/article/icarus-best-film-based-on-a-doping-scheme-but-the-wrong-one/, plus letter to the editor & reply at https://www.thenation.com/article/letters-from-the-april-16-2018-issue/.
- “4 Reforms Needed to Prevent More Inexplicable IOC Decisions,” Sports Law360, March 8, 2018, https://www.gcalaw.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/4-reforms.pdf
- “We Need a Better System for Addressing Olympic Doping,” The Nation, February 20, 2018, https://www.thenation.com/article/we-need-a-better-system-for-addressing-olympic-doping/
- “Latest CAS Olympics Ruling Contradicts 2011 Case,” Sports Law360, February 12, 2018, https://www.gcalaw.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/CAS-Contradicts.pdf
- “Politicization of Olympics Threatens Fair Competition,” Sports Law360, January 22, 2018, https://www.gcalaw.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/politicization.pdf
- “5 Ways to Improve the Anti-Doping Legal Process,” Sports Law360, January 11, 2018, https://www.gcalaw.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/five_ways.pdf
- “The Numbers Indicate the Russian Olympic Ban Was Too Harsh,” Sports Law360, December 5, 2017, https://www.gcalaw.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/the_numbers_indicate.pdf.
- “Why Olympic Committee Should Allow Russians to Compete,” Sports Law360, November 16, 2017, https://www.gcalaw.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/why_olympic_committee.pdf
- “Australian Football Transgender Ban Is Discriminatory,” Sports Law360, October 16, 2017, https://www.gcalaw.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/australian-football.pdf
- “Would Spock Kneel for the Anthem,” Texas Tribune, October 10, 2017, https://www.tribtalk.org/2017/10/10/would-spock-kneel-for-the-anthem/
- Co-Author, Sport, Ethics and Leadership, (Oxford and New York: Routledge, 2017)
- Co-Author with Robert W. Luckinbill, “Changing Sex/Gender Roles and Sport,” 28 Stanford Law & Policy Review, 215 (2017)
- “IAAF Recognition of Intersex Runner Sets Humane Precedent,” Sports Law360, August 3, 2017
- “Trump Transgender Tweet Ignores Medical Findings,” Texas Tribune, July, 28, 2017
- “Level the Chemical Playing Field,” Sports Law360, September 28, 2016
- “The Supreme Court Of Sport Needs To Be Reformed,” Sports Law360, September 2, 2016
- “New Documentary Makes Jackie Robinson’s Greatness Even More Accessible,” Sports Law360, April 15, 2016
- “NFL Films Ruling Reverses Course, Blurs Right of Publicity,” Law360, October 31, 2014.
- “O’Bannon v. NCAA Opinion Contradicts Itself and is Likely to be Overturned,” Law360, August 2014
- “EA Right Of Publicity Case Provides Valuable Guidance,” Profile Media, May 22, 2013
Selected Recent Speaking Engagements
- In October, 2019, Ron spoke at the Robert Preston Tisch Institute for Global Sport at New York University on the subject of the Caster Semenya case.
- In June, 2019 Ron spoke at the German Sport University in Cologne, Germany on “Was the Caster Semenya Case Correctly Decided: Sport in an Era of Gender Fluidity;” in October, 2019 he spoke on the same subject at New York University’s Robert Preston Tisch Institute for Global Sport.”
- In October, 2018, Ron Katz made two presentations at the University of Southern California on the subjects of Olympic doping and changing sex/gender roles and sport.
- On May 17, 2018, Ron Katz spoke at Oxford University (Balliol College) on the subject of a short history of Olympic doping from East Germany to Sochi. He spoke on the same subject at the University of Southern California on March 21, 2018, and at the University of Texas on September 27, 2018.
- On April 22, 2018, Ron gave an interview to ABC Radio National (Australia) on the subject of changing sex/gender roles and sport:
- Marquette University’s National Sports Law Institute on October 13, 2017. The overall subject of the conference was Maintaining the Integrity & Commercial Value of Sports While Protecting Athlete’s Rights; Ron spoke on the issues involving transgender and intersex athletes. Ron also spoke on this subject at the University of Texas on October 26 and December 7, 2017; at Balliol College, Oxford University and Rhodes House on November 8 and November 9, 2017 respectively; and at the Palo Alto Bar Association in March, 2018.
- “The Name Game: Building Clients’ Brands Through Trademarking Names and Nicknames,” webinar presented by the State Bar of California Entertainment and Sports Law Interest Group, August 8, 2017
- “Changing Sex/Gender Roles and Sport,” a panel at Athletes, Sports Law, and Policy: An Interdisciplinary Symposium, presented by the Stanford Law & Policy Review, the Institute of Sports Law and Ethics, and the Stanford Entertainment and Sports Law Association, May 6, 2017
- Panelist, “Responding to Change: Alternative Regulatory Systems for College Sports,” testimony before the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics, May 19, 2015
- Moderator, “Concussion Litigation: Past, Present and Future,” Annual Conference of the California Judges Association, May 1, 2015
- Live interview of NFL Hall of Famer quarterback Joe Montana at the West Coast M&A Conference of the Association for Corporate Growth, San Francisco, March 20, 2014
Ron joined GCA Law Partners in January 2017. Prior to GCA, he was a litigation partner in a large national law firm, managing a national litigation and trial practice.
Before entering private practice, Ron held positions in government and as an international law teacher. He was an International Legal Center Fellow in Indonesia, working for the Minister of Justice and teaching at a leading law school. He served as an attorney at the Antitrust Division of the United States Department of Justice, where he won the Attorney General’s Outstanding Performance Award, and also worked in the United States State Department for Ambassador-at-Large Elliott Richardson.
Ron earned his J.D. from the Harvard Law School. He also holds an M.A. from Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar, and a B.A. summa cum laude from New York University.