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Posted Feb. 21, 2012

NFL Players Association Executive Director to Headline Symposium on Sports Law

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DeMaurice Smith

DeMaurice Smith, executive director of the NFL Players Association and a 1989 graduate of the Law School, led the players through a 134-day lockout in 2011, resulting in a 10-year collective bargaining agreement.

DeMaurice Smith, the executive director of the National Football League Players Association, will be the keynote speaker at a March 16 symposium at the University of Virginia School of Law on the current state of sports law.

Contact: Brian McNeill

Smith, a 1989 graduate of the Law School, led the NFL players in 2011 through a 134-day lockout by the league, culminating in a 10-year collective bargaining agreement.

Smith's talk will be the keynote address of the symposium, "The State of Sports Law," which will be held from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. in Caplin Pavilion, and is sponsored by the Virginia Sports and Entertainment Law Journal and the Virginia Sports Law Society. (Full Schedule | Symposium Program)

The symposium will bring together a number of leading lawyers and experts dealing with professional and amateur sports. Panel discussions will explore topics such as the realignment of NCAA conferences, the legal implications of financial distress in professional sports, amateurism and the student athlete, and sports law analytics.

"We are thrilled to have such a distinguished and varied group of panelists attending this year's symposium," said second-year law student Caroline Ryon, one of the organizers of the symposium. "This event will allow the Virginia Law community and our guests from throughout the region to explore some of the highly relevant sports law issues of today. We hope that attendees will be able to further their passion for sports by learning more about some of the legal intricacies of the industry."

The symposium is free and open to the public, but registration is recommended. Parking will be available in the Law School's D-2 lots on the day of the event.

March 16, 2012

All events are located in Caplin Pavilion unless otherwise noted.
Symposium Program | Register

8-8:45 a.m.
Check-In and Continental Breakfast

8:45-9 a.m.
Opening Remarks

9-10:20 a.m.
Panel 1: NCAA Conference Realignment
As NCAA conferences realign in pursuit of the funding bonanza available from television contracts, the potential gap between the "haves" and the "have-nots" continues to grow. Panelists will discuss the competitive impact that this discrepancy may have on those colleges and universities that are not invited to join the "super conferences." The panel will also explore the antitrust concerns that may arise and the role of Congress and the NCAA in regulating the conferences.

Panelists:

  • Christian Dennie, attorney, Barlow Garsek & Simon
  • Mark Levinstein, partner, Williams & Connolly
  • Michael McCann '02, Professor of Law and director of the Sports Law Institute, Vermont Law School
  • Bernadette McGlade, commissioner, Atlantic 10 Conference
  • Moderated by J. Gordon Hylton '77, Professor of Law, Marquette University Law School
10:20-10:30 a.m.
Break

10:30-11:50 a.m.
Panel 2: Legal Implications of Financial Distress in Professional Sports
As professional sports teams encounter financial hardship, conflicts in control arise. This panel explores the level of oversight bankruptcy courts have over professional teams in the midst of financial distress and how that oversight may conflict with the power of commissioners to regulate the sport. Financial distress also may lead the team to seek relocation. This panel examines the use of antitrust laws to secure the ability to relocate a franchise over league objection and the potential for expansion in the major sports leagues.

Panelists:

  • Mark Levinstein, partner, Williams & Connolly
  • Michael McCann '02, Professor of Law and director of the Sports Law Institute, Vermont Law School
  • Tom Ostertag '81, senior vice president and general counsel, Major League Baseball
  • Moderated by J. Gordon Hylton '77, Professor of Law, Marquette University Law School
11:50 a.m.-1:00 p.m.
Lunch Break (invited guests only)

1-2 p.m.
Keynote Address by DeMaurice Smith '89, executive director, National Football League Players Association

2-2:10 p.m.
Break

2:10-3:30 p.m.
Panel 3: Amateurism and the Student Athlete
Student athletes generate billions of dollars in revenues for their colleges and universities, yet they share minimally in the financial spoils. Is this a wrong to be righted and, if so, how?  Panelists will debate the role of the student athlete as an amateur or an employee and the ramifications of the designation. The panel will explore whether the student athlete should be compensated and whether an education is adequate consideration for the revenue he or she helps to generate. Also, the panel will examine who controls the revenue stream and what role the student athlete should have in that determination.

Panelists:

  • Christian Dennie, attorney, Barlow Garsek & Simon
  • Roscoe Howard '77, Andrews Kurth and member of the NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions
  • J. Gordon Hylton '77, Professor of Law, Marquette University Law School
  • Alan Milstein, shareholder and co-managing shareholder; member, Executive Committee, Sherman Silverstein
  • Rob Slavis, assistant athletic director, University of Virginia
  • Moderated by Michael McCann '02, Professor of Law and director of the Sports Law Institute, Vermont Law School
3:30-3:40 p.m.
Break

3:40-5 p.m.
Panel 4: Sports Law Analytics
As popularized in Michael Lewis’ best-selling book "Moneyball" and a 2011 Hollywood movie of the same name, the sports industry has firmly embraced the use of statistics, economics and mathematics (collectively "analytics") in various decision-making processes. Such analytics have similarly been adopted in the sports law field. This panel discusses how analytics are used in areas such as talent identification, contract negotiation, gambling-corruption prevention and antitrust litigation.

Panelists:

  • Robert Forbes '07, associate, Proskauer
  • Ryan Rodenberg, professor, Department of Sport Management at Florida State University
  • Bryan F. Stroh ’02, general counsel, Pittsburgh Pirates
  • Kelly Wilson, assistant counsel, Under Armour
  • Moderated by Thomas Nachbar, Professor of Law, University of Virginia School of Law