Sunday, November 23, 2014

Category: Fun Stuff


2011 Harvard Sports Law Symposium

March 4th, 2011 | Comment »

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)
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The Pujols Ultimatum

February 17th, 2011 | 2 comments »

I was thinking about the variety of topics I’ve discussed on Twitter in the last 24 hours – NFL labor issues, friendship, marriage ultimatums, who’s going to win the World Series and Albert Pujols – when it occurred to me that two of those topics are analogous. Pujols gave the Cardinals an ultimatum: sign me by February 16th or we’re done.

By now you’ve heard that Pujols gave the Cardinals until yesterday to get a deal done. Word is they made an offer right after the beginning of the year and while they’ve had talks since then, they have not made another offer. So, Pujols has said he’ll transition to playing mode and not discuss again until the offseason. In my opinion, this means he won’t be in a Cardinals uniform next year. If they were willing to ante up, they would have. (On a side note, I’m not sure it’s a good business move for the General Manager if their payroll remains at $100-110 million. They can’t afford for him to be a quarter to nearly one-third of their total payroll. That being said, the ownership is crazy if they think it’s good business to let him go.)

What’s really interesting to me, however, is how much this situation is like a girl giving a guy an ultimatum when it comes to marriage. She’s done wasting time having the same old conversations about the future over and over. In that situation, I think the girl figures the guy already knows what he’s going to do, so she’s giving him that extra shove so she can know for sure and get on with her life.

I think that’s what Pujols just did. He saw no point in dragging this out through the season only to arrive at the same ending. So, he set a deadline. He asked the Cardinals if they wanted to spend the rest of his (baseball) life together, and they essentially said, “What we have is great. We want to continue to be with you, but we just can’t give you what you want.”

Instead of marrying him, the Cardinals agreed they could continue to live together and act like they’re married. They’ll promise to cook him dinner evey night and take out the trash, but they just can’t commit to marriage.

So Pujols will continue to live with them until they finish out the current lease, all the while eyeing other potential suitors. He’s the most eligible bachelor in town, so he’ll find someone new. Someone who can’t wait to marry him and be with him for the rest of his (baseball) life.

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To the Braves: Will You Be My Valentine?

February 14th, 2011 | 1 comment »

Almost every year since I started blogging I have written a Valentine’s Day poem to the Braves, so now it has become an annual tradition.  It’s always fun to look back at past years, so I’ve included links to a couple of my past poems after this year’s version:

This Valentine’s Day I have a handsome date,

But near the top of my list the Braves still rate,

February fourteenth is my favorite day of the year,

Cause pitchers and catchers are putting on their gear.

The season for football is finally done,

Hockey and basketball just aren’t much fun,

Now the gloves are out and the grass is green,

Your Atlanta Braves are back on the scene!

Huddy and Hanson will be back on the mound,

With Freeman on first, we look good all around,

We have Everyday Johnny to shore up the pen,

And Moylan’s as slim as he’s ever been.

Heyward and Prado will cover the outfield with ease,

While Uggla and Gonzalez in the infield will please,

Getting JJ back will make the rotation much stronger,

Last year’s pitching woes won’t be here any longer.

Chipper says he’ll be back as a starter,

Beating this team will surely be harder,

McCann behind the plate and McLouth in center field,

With Lowe and Minor the Division is sealed!

I don’t need candy or flowers on this Valentine’s Day,

For I got the best present of all, I’m happy to say,

Opening Day at The Ted is finally near,

Goodbye winter -  baseball season is here!

2008

2009

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Pre-order The Maple Street Press Atlanta Braves Annual 2011

February 7th, 2011 | Comment »

It’s finally here! The Maple Street Press Atlanta Braves Annual 2011 is now available for pre-order. Don’t miss my piece on the Gwinnett Braves!

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Me vs. Boyfriend

January 31st, 2011 | 5 comments »

I’m crazy competitive, especially when it’s something I’ve worked hard at like my sports business writing or softball (which I played for 22 years).  Thus, I expected to have no problem out-hitting my totally-uninterested-in-baseball boyfriend, Chadd.  This weekend we had the pleasure of spending the day with the Ambassadors of L.E.A.D. and getting a little hitting instruction from founder, CJ Stewart and Jason Heyward’s father, Eugene (who kicked my butt with some tough drills). 

If you’ve been reading this blog for awhile, you’ve read about L.E.A.D. If not, here’s the story: I have been blessed to be a part of an organization called L.E.A.D. (Launch, Expose, Advise, Direct) for the past couple of years. This group provides travel team level play to inner-city youth who would otherwise be unable to compete at an advanced level in baseball. Scholarship and community service are emphasized, with 100% of the participants during L.E.A.D.’s two years being accepted to college and over 2,000 hours of community service being performed. Since being formed in 2008, 83% of the participants in the program have gone on to earn college scholarships to play baseball while pursuing higher education.

Back to my 22-years of softball experience versus my boyfriend who doesn’t even like baseball.  CJ was kind enough to send over some video of us hitting. I’m not convinced this was my best swing of the day, but I’ll concede…my boyfriend beat me.

Here’s my video:

Here’s Chadd’s video:

Seriously though, there was a linedrive I hit right back at CJ’s head (who was pitching to me), which I’m sure was better than Chadd’s swing…and look at the still shots before you watch the videos, I totally have the better batting stance, haha!

You can check out Chadd’s blog, “College Football’s Most Dangerous Blog,” on ChuckOliver.net, the premiere online site for SEC, ACC and C-USA news and analysis. They’re debuting a brand new website today, so head on over and take a look!

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The American Dream Show

January 7th, 2011 | 1 comment »

I’ve been consulting with a group putting together a new reality television show. I know, you’re probably thinking, “No, not another reality show!”  This one is different though!  The American Dream will scour the country for talented young baseball players who missed out on their shot at the minor leagues.  Maybe they had to get a job to support a sick family member or maybe they joined the military straight out of high school.  Now they’re going to get their second chance at the minor leagues.  The winner will walk away with a guaranteed roster spot on a minor league team!

I’m also excited to announce that I was just named as one of the judges for the show!  We’re still talking to several networks, but I’ll keep you posted as to our production progress and eventual airdates. 

Check out the show’s website here and become a fan of the show on Facebook!

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L.E.A.D. Online Auction

November 11th, 2010 | Comment »

Even if you’re not in Atlanta, or can’t attend Dinner with Champions, you can still help support L.E.A.D. by bidding in the online auction!  The highest bid online will be the starting bid at the silent auction at Dinner with Champions next weekend.

There are some great autographed items from Jason Heyward (Braves), Freddie Freeman (Braves), Dexter Fowler (Rockies) and Bobby Scales (Cubs).  I also want to give a huge THANK YOU to B.B. Abbott for sending me an autographed Chipper Jones jersey for the auction!  For those who don’t know, B.B. is Chipper’s agent (also McCann’s) and runs the fabulous Jet Sports Management.  He’s been a great friend to me, and L.E.A.D. and I really appreciate his (and Chipper’s) donation to the auction!

The great items don’t end there.  I’m definitely thinking about bidding on the signed baseball from the legendary Bobby Cox.  There’s also a really great experience package: an hour with Clemson QB (and Rockies signee) Kyle Parker working on QB techniques and hitting. 

Head on over to the online auction and get your bid in!

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If you’re in Atlanta…

November 8th, 2010 | 1 comment »

Over the past eighteen months, I have been blessed to be a part of an organization called L.E.A.D. (Launch, Expose, Advise, Direct). This group provides travel team level play to inner-city youth who would otherwise be unable to compete at an advanced level in baseball. Scholarship and community service are emphasized, with 100% of the participants during L.E.A.D.’s two years being accepted to college and over 2,000 hours of community service being performed. Since being formed in 2008, 83% of the participants in the program have gone on to earn college scholarships to play baseball while pursuing higher education.

If you’re interested in learning more, you can see the piece I wrote for Comcast Sports Southeast on the decline of African Americans in Major League Baseball and what L.E.A.D. is doing to provide opportunities for young men right here in Atlanta: http://www.csssports.com/pages/misssportsbiz.

Every year, L.E.A.D. has a weekend full of events in order to raise funds for the upcoming season. The biggest draw is the Celebrity Clinic, which is held at Turner Field. It’s for ages 8-13 and offers your child the opportunity to work with current MLB players Jason Heyward (Braves), Tim Hudson (Braves), Dexter Fowler (Rockies) and Bobby Scales (Cubs). There are also a number of minor league players who help put on the clinic. It’s an amazing experience to work with the pros and spend a day on the field at Turner Field. I went last year and walked around in awe the entire time – it’s an incredible experience.

If you have a child 8-13 and are interested in a spot in the clinic, you can find out more here: https://www.z2systems.com/np/clients/lead/event.jsp?event=41.

The other big event of the weekend is Dinner with Champions at the 755 Club at Turner Field. The Master of Ceremonies this year will be 680 The Fan’s Chuck Dowdle and the speaker will be former MLB and NFL player Brian Jordan. There will be a silent auction with dozens of autographed items from current MLB players, as well as some really unique experiences. For example, current Clemson QB Kyle Parker has a QB lesson and a hitting lesson in the silent auction.

If you’re interested in Dinner with Champions, you can find out more here: https://www.z2systems.com/np/clients/lead/event.jsp?event=118.

This is a truly remarkable group. I hope some of you are able to sign up your kids for the clinic or join me at the dinner!

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Six Life Skills I Learned from Sports

November 8th, 2010 | 3 comments »

After a discussion with a friend who didn’t grow up playing sports, I realized how much sports shaped who I am today.  I honestly believe I wouldn’t be the same person if I hadn’t played sports, although that’s not to say that children can’t learn these lessons elsewhere.  However, if you’re debating whether your child should get involved in sports, here are six life skills I can trace back to my involvement with sports.  Obviously, I could name dozens, but these are some big ones. 

They’re in no particular order because I believe they’re all equally important:

  • Time Management.  This is one of the first skills that comes to mind.  I was a sophomore in college when I realized that my constant involvement in sports had taught me time management skills.  I found myself with nothing to do except classes, and suddenly my school work was suffering.  Since then, I’ve learned that I am far more productive when I have a full schedule, which I’m sure comes from years of squeezing in dance lessons, softball practice (or whatever other sport I was playing at the moment), work and school.  When I know I only have an hour window to accomplish something, I get it done.  When I know I have all day to finish that same one-hour task, I procrastinate and struggle to complete it.  
  • Teamwork.  This one is an obvious one.  Even sports that are individual in nature are usually team sports in competition, such as tennis or gymnastics where you end up competing as a team.  I played softball for twenty-two years, tennis off and on for about five years, cheerleading for three years, dance team for one year (although I took classes for years and still do), and basketball for one year.  No matter the sport, the moral of the story is the same: great things can be accomplished through teamwork.  We each have different strengths, which is why we can sometimes best accomplish things as a team.  Sports taught me to celebrate the talent’s of otherwise, recognize my own strengths and weaknesses, and how to put my own ego aside in order to produce the best result.  Being able to work in a team environment obviously helps in the business world, but it also helps in every relationship you’ll have in life.  I’m not married, and I don’t have children, but I would imagine teamwork is a vital part of having a healthy, happy family life.
  • Reliability.  This goes along with teamwork.  I think an important skill I learned from sports was that those around me depend on me – to be on time, to do my part of a group project, to do the research necessary before writing a blog piece or drafting a document, etc.  My life does not exist in a vacuum.  At no point in my life was this more obvious to me than when I was a pitcher playing fastpitch softball growing up.  I loved the pressure and the responsibility of being such an integral part of the game (not that every position isn’t important). 
  • Sportsmanship.  This one is huge.  I can’t even begin to tell you about all the people I’ve met in my adult life who never learned how to lose.  They’re immature, irrational and generally unpleasant people.  They’re also not happy.  No one has everything go their way in life, so someone who hasn’t learned how to encounter defeat and adversity with grace has a tough road ahead of them.  They have to win every argument, they don’t respect other’s opinions because they think they’re always right, and they fall apart when things don’t go their way.  They don’t handle stress well, and sometimes it leads them to act out in drastic ways.  I can’t stress enough how important it is for kids to learn to deal with adversity.
  • Responsibility.  In the end, a lot of these play off each other and are integrally tied, but I think sports played as much a part in making me a responsible adult as my parents did.  I learned to take responsibility for my actions.  If I skipped practice and then booted a routine grounder in the next game, that was on me.  Or even better, if I stayed out all night with my boyfriend on Friday night and then was too tired to throw a strike the next day, I had to live with my decision and the consequences of my actions.  I learned that teammates and coaches depended on me, from counting on me to make key plays to representing our team/school well when I was off the field.  I learned the importance of things like being on time, practicing, being prepared (bringing the right equipment, etc.), and that whether it’s the school name on your jersey or the company name on your business card, your actions reflect on others with whom you’re associated.
  • Confidence.  This is the big one.  In fact, I think I have a whole separate blog post in me about confidence, especially as relates to young girls.  For now though, I’ll just say that I think a huge reason I never had what I would consider self-esteem issues was through my involvement with sports.  There was the year not enough girls signed up for basketball and I ended up on an all-boys team.  I learned girls really can do anything boys can do (well, almost).  Was I as good as they were?  Not even close.  But, I was able to keep up with them all season and got playing time, and I felt great about myself.  It was softball though that really shaped me growing up.  It was the sport where I excelled, and where I felt best about myself.  I dedicated myself to pitching lessons and practicing in the backyard every day, and it paid off.  I went out and gave my team a chance to win nearly every game, and that felt great.  My teammates depended on me, and most of the time I could say I gave it my very best, even if we didn’t win.  But, perhaps most importantly, I felt great about myself when I played softball.  It didn’t matter if my boyfriend had just broken up with me or mean girls at school had whispered about me behind my back, I always had softball.  I could walk out onto the field and it was all that mattered.  I felt important and special when I stepped onto that mound to pitch and my teammates always had my back.  Aside from other hobbies like music, art and drama, just to name a few, I’m not sure where else you get those feelings during those important adolescent and teenage years.

I shudder to think how I might have turned out if I’d never had sports in my life.

What did you get out of sports?

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Happy Halloween!

October 31st, 2010 | Comment »

Lady Bug (Ashley) and Alice in Wonderland (Kristi)

What is/was your Halloween costume this year?  One of my followers on Twitter was going to be a Dawg catcher…can’t wait to see the pictures from last night!  Congratulations to my Gators on a big win in Jacksonville!

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