I am excited to announce that I will be a panelist at the 2011 Harvard Sports Law Symposium. If you’re in or around the Cambridge area and interested in college athletics, you should definitely consider attending! I’ll be discussing conference realignment. Here’s the full lineup for the symposium being held on Friday, March 25th:
AMATEURISM PANEL: Different sports entities answer the question “what it means to be an amateur” in different ways. This panel takes a “comparative” approach to amateurism and look at how domestic and international sports organizations and entities (e.g., NCAA, IOC, and other sports regulatory bodies) define “amateurism.” This panel will discuss how each type of organization defines “amateur” differently, and ask, normatively, what is the best way to define “amateurism”.
- TIME: 9:30-10:40am
- PANELISTS: Roger Abrams (Northeastern University Law School), Jeremy Bloom (World Champion Skier), Christian Dennie (Barlow, Garsek & Simon LLP), Paul Haagen (Duke University), Michael McCann (Vermont Law School and SI.com), John Nichols (Penn State University and Co-Chair of the Coalition on Intercollegiate Athletics)
CONFERENCE REALIGNMENT PANEL: Over the past year, the landscape of college athletics has been dramatically altered with the movement of numerous teams to new conferences, including Nebraska to the Big 10, Colorado and Utah to the Pacific 10, Boise State to the Mountain West, and Brigham Young to independent status. This raises issues about amateurism (when the main driver for conference realignment is money, what is the impact on student-athletes and the traditional model of amateurism?) and the role of the NCAA in either facilitating or impeding conference realignment (what historical precedent or legislative authority, if any, exists for the NCAA to be involved in conference realignment?). This panel would explore legal and ethical issues related to amateurism and the role of the NCAA in conference realignment.
- TIME: 10:50am-12:00pm
- PANELISTS: Greg Byrne (Athletics Director, University of Arizona), Kristi Dosh (Taylor English Duma LLP and Forbes.com), Patti Ohlendorf (VP of Legal Affairs for the University of Texas at Austin), Patrick Rishe (Webster University and Forbes.com), Jason Russell (Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher, & Flom), Glenn Wong (UMass Isenberg School of Management)
SPORTS LEGACY INSTITUTE LUNCHEON
- TIME: 12:00-1:00pm
- PANELISTS: Dave Bergeron (Stanford University, NFL) Peter Carfagna (Harvard Law School), Matt Henshon (Princeton University, Harvard Law School), Isaiah Kacyvenski (Harvard College and Harvard Business School, NFL), Pete Kendall (Boston College, NFL), Chris Nowinski (Harvard College, WWE, SLI President and CEO), Dave Zucker (Harvard Law School)
ATHLETE-AGENT PANEL: The relationship between player agents and college athletes remains a hot topic for colleges, players, agents, players’ unions, and state governments. First, assuming we want to retain a model in which student-athletes are amateurs, how should colleges, unions, and states prevent agents from engaging in impermissible relationships with athletes? Is the best method through sanctions from the players’ unions who licensing the agents, oversight from universities and the NCAA who have the most resources and are “on the ground” with the athletes, or states/localities who have athlete-agent laws on the books and do not enforce them? Alternatively, is it possible that paying college athletes would be a partial solution to this problem, and if so, how should the NCAA or universities structure a system in which student-athletes are compensated? This panel will discuss the athlete-agent issue by exploring the positives and negatives of players’ unions, universities, the NCAA, and states regulating player agents and alternative methods for solving this problem. Additionally, this panel will explore how to assist student-athletes who “go pro” in sports.
- TIME: 1:10-2:20pm
- PANELISTS: Peter Carfagna (Harvard Law School), David Cornwell (DNK Cornwell), David Dunn (Athletes First), Dan Fitzgerald (Brody Wilkinson PC, Connecticut Sports Law Blog), Jason Levien (Agent and Former GM of the Sacramento Kings), Mike Zarren (GM of the Boston Celtics), Warren Zola (Boston College)
LITIGATING AGAINST THE NCAA – O’BANNON/KELLER/AGNEW LAWSUITS: Two pending class action lawsuits filed by former NCAA athletes Ed O’Bannon and Sam Keller have reignited the debate about whether college athletes should be compensated, at minimum, for the use of their likenesses and images in merchandising, video games, and television broadcasts. A judge recently refused the NCAA’s request to toss out the eight lawsuits filed across the country by former student-athletes, and all eight lawsuits have been consolidated into a single federal action in San Francisco. This panel will explore the merits of the pending lawsuits; whether, normatively, college athletes should be paid for the use of their likenesses and images (with a specific focus on men’s football and basketball); and the legal and business implications if college athletes were compensated. Former NCAA college football player Joseph Agnew recently filed a lawsuit in the Northern District of California (Agnew v. NCAA) challenging the NCAA’s one-year scholarship rule as an illegal price-fixing arrangement. This panel will explore Agnew’s legal arguments, the NCAA’s response, and the lawsuit’s potential impact on college athletes.
- TIME: 2:30-3:40pm
- PANELISTS: Steve Berman (Hagens Berman), Gabe Feldman (Tulane University Law School), Rick Karcher (Florida Coastal School of Law), Ron Katz (Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP), Jon King (Hausfeld LLP), Ed O’Bannon (Former NCAA Athlete, Lead Plaintiff in O’Bannon v. NCAA), Libby Sander (Chronicle of Higher Education)
BCS PANEL: The BSC has been attacked by legal scholars, state attorney generals, and other interested parties as violating federal antitrust law. In 2010-11, however, non automatic-qualifying schools took home a record $24.7 million. Additionally, Playoff PAC recently submitted a report to the Internal Revenue Service challenging the tax-exempt status of the Fiesta, Orange, and Sugar Bowls and arguing that the three BCS bowls should not be considered Section 501(c)(3) charities. This panel would explore both sides of the antitrust and tax issues.
- TIME: 3:50-5:00pm
- PANELISTS: Marc Edelman (Barry University Dwayne O. Andreas School of Law), Brian Frederick (Sports Fan Coalition), Alan Fishel (Arent Fox), Nathaniel Grow (University of Georgia), Stephen Ross (Penn State Law School), Mark Shurtleff (Utah Attorney General), Katie Thomas (New York Times)