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Sports Law

The Tulane Law School Sports Law Program, directed by Professor Gabe Feldman, is the finest of its kind in the United States and provides students with an unparalleled academic and extracurricular experience. Tulane Law School is the first law school in the country to offer a certificate of specialization in sports law for JD students, and it has taken the lead to create a program that empowers students to master the challenging legal and business problems regularly confronting the sports industry.

The Sports Law Program at Tulane Law School extends far beyond the classroom. The program has many different components, each designed to give students the opportunity to learn, research, experience, discuss, and debate the application of law to the sports industry and to pursue a career in sports law. The combination of academic studies, networking, and practical training helps students hone the skills necessary to succeed during internships and professional opportunities in the sports industry.

But the purpose of our sports law program is not just to lead our graduates immediately into careers in the sports industry. The application of law to sports provides the opportunity to not only train bright future sports lawyers but also the best and brightest lawyers in any field. Because sports law has a long reach into many substantive areas of law it is ideal to introduce students to a variety of subject matters in a manner that is both exciting and familiar.  In this sense, the Sports Law Program is a microcosm of the Center for Sport. The application of an academic discipline to sports enables students to gain a deeper understanding of the subject matter as well as open their minds to opportunities they never thought possible.

Sports Law Society

The Sports Law Society is at the heart of what makes the Sports Law Program great. This student-organized and operated group is crucial in coordinating a variety of events each semester including guest speakers, career workshops, volunteer opportunities, and sports law competitions. Additionally, the Society organizes several interest groups where students gather together for roundtable discussions designed to connect classmates who share their specific interests in sports law.

Sports Law Certificate

The Sports Law Certificate is the foundation of the Sports Law Program and allows students to earn a certificate of specialization in sports law. Certificate requirements include courses on antitrust, labor law, intellectual property, and two classes taught by Professor Feldman focused exclusively on sports law.

Speaker Series

The Tulane Sports Law Speaker Series is the premier extracurricular offering in the Program.  It brings high-profile experts to campus throughout the year for lively discussions, invigorating exchanges of ideas, and robust debates on important topics affecting the growing and continuously evolving sports industry.

The Series gives Tulane students an insider’s view into the complex nature of the industry and challenges them to think and learn in ways that are difficult to replicate in a classroom setting.  Furthermore, by bringing in experts from across the industry with varied and distinct backgrounds students can build a mental bridge between their areas of academic study and potential careers.

In 2017, the highlight of the Speaker Series was NBA All-Star weekend. Tulane hosted twenty-three experts from across the basketball spectrum. General managers, vice presidents, former players, general counsel, scouts, agents, and journalists all convened to share their wisdom, experience, and advice with students.  The speakers included: 

  • Rick Barry, former NBA and ABA player; 8-time NBA All-Star; One of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History
  • Arnie Fielkow, President and CEO, National Basketball Retired Players Association
  • Ruth Riley, GM San Antonio Silver Stars/WNBA, NBA Cares Community Ambassador, Former WNBA Player
  • Jason Hillman, Senior Vice President and general counsel, Cleveland Cavaliers
  • Bruce Bowen, ESPN NBA Analyst, Former NBA Player

In the past decade, the Speaker Series has brought the following sports VIPs to Tulane:

  • Mike Alden, Athletic Director, University of Missouri
  • Greg Byrne, Athletic Director, University of Arizona
  • David Cohen, General Counsel, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • Aileen Dagrosa, General Counsel, Philadelphia Eagles
  • Rich Eisen, NFL Network
  • Melissa Goldenberg, General Counsel, Phoenix Suns
  • Ari Nissim, Director, Analytics & Strategy at Roc Nation Sports
  • Tandy O’Donoghue, Vice President, WWE
  • David Prouty, General Counsel, MLBPA
  • DeMaurice Smith, Executive Director of the National Football League Players Association
  • Mike Tannenbaum, GM, Miami Dolphins
  • Marc Trestman, former head coach, Chicago Bears
  • Kevin White, Athletic Director, Duke University
Competitions

Each year, the Tulane Sports Law program hosts three elite legal competitions designed to enhance student’s written and oral advocacy skills and connect them with experts in the field.

  • The International Baseball Arbitration Competition: Sponsored by Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association, this is a simulated salary arbitration competition featuring forty teams annually. Run by the Tulane Sports Law Society, the competition is closely modeled on the salary arbitration procedures used by Major League Baseball. Like most law school moot court competitions, the National Baseball Arbitration Competition's main goal is to provide participants with the opportunity to sharpen their oral and written advocacy skills. However, the competition is unique in that it allows law students to sharpen these skills within the specialized context of MLB's salary arbitration proceedings. 
  • The Professional Football Negotiation Competition: Modeled after the baseball competition, this is a simulated contract negotiation between an NFL Club and a player which sees over thirty law school teams compete annually. The Tulane Pro Football Negotiation Competition's main goal is to provide participants with the opportunity to sharpen their oral advocacy skills within the context of an NFL Club and Player contract negotiation. The competition provides Tulane students the opportunity to network with their peers in the industry, as well as with professionals within the industry who serve as judges.

Each of these competitions is judged by experts in their respective fields. And often feature panels following the competition where judges discuss current issues in the industry and share career advice. Executives from teams, clubs, league and player association offices, as well as agents, and a variety of sports lawyers all lend their knowledge and experience to make these competitions truly unique. While the fierce competition hones students' skills, built in networking events give students the opportunity to connect with and gain invaluable insight from the best and brightest minds in the industry.

Publications

An important skill in any career, but particularly a legal career, is the ability to write clearly and persuasively.  The Tulane Sports Law Program provides three opportunities for students to sharpen their writing skills outside of a classroom.

  • The Sports Lawyers Journal edited by Tulane Law students has been the most widely read legal sports journal in the country since 1993.
  • The Sports Law Newsletter is a monthly electronic newsletter examining current legal issues in the sports world. Students analyze and synthesize various sources to create brief, but informative and original articles that are distributed nationwide to subscribers from the sports and legal communities.
  • The Sports Law Weekly is a weekly electronic newsletter that provides a broad overview of current legal issues in the sports world. Articles are edited by one upper class student and Professor Feldman and ultimately distributed nationwide.
Career Development

Students at the 2017 Sports Lawyers Association Conference

The opportunity for experiential learning and networking is a crucial aspect of any elite academic program. The sports industry is a difficult field to break into. Which is why the Tulane Sports Law Program is constantly developing creative opportunities for students to connect with future employers and to obtain experience that enhances what they’ve learned in the classroom.

  • Virtual Internships: Tulane has developed an innovative virtual internship program that connects students with opportunities throughout the sports industry. Students have interned virtually with the San Antonio Spurs, Kroenke Sports and Entertainment, and the National Basketball Retired Players Association, among others. Additionally, students also intern locally with the Saints, Pelicans, the Sun Belt Conference, and Tulane Athletics.
  • Sports Lawyers Association Conference: Tulane offers its students financial assistance with travel to the premier annual meeting of sports law professionals. Every year a group of twenty to thirty students travels to the Sports Lawyers Association Conference where they learn more about complex legal issues as well as develop relationships with industry professionals and interact with the dozens of alumni who attend the event each year.
  • Alumni Network:  Graduates of the Sports Law Program are employed at myriad organizations across the sports industry.  Tulane’s ever-growing network of engaging and supportive alumni enables students to connect with and learn from those on the cutting edge of the industry. Organizations employing Tulane alumni include: 
    • Los Angeles Angels
    • Nike
    • Chicago Bears
    • Duke University Athletics
    • San Antonio Spurs
    • Brooklyn Nets
    • Tampa Bay Buccaneers
    • Philadelphia Eagles
    • Boston College Athletics
    • Seattle Seahawks
    • Houston Astros
    • Green Bay Packers
    • Fox Sports Interactive
    • Miami Dolphins
    • Roc Nation
    • Boston College Athletics
Service and Outreach

A player dribbles the basketball during the 2017 Special Olympics Rivalry Game

The Tulane Sports Law Program appreciates the importance of engaging with the New Orleans community to amplify awareness and promote progress. As part of its mission to harness the power of sport to inspire positive social change, Tulane has partnered with Major League Baseball’s New Orleans Urban Youth Academy and New Orleans Unified Special Olympics.

  • MLB's Urban Youth Academy: An initiative by Major League Baseball to promote and revitalize the game of baseball in urban areas across America, bringing resources and making the game more accessible.  Professor Gabe Feldman created the curriculum for a once-a-week class and brings his students to help teach young baseball players about law, business, sabermetrics, and potential career options in sports off the field. Through a raffle during the baseball arbitration competition, the Tulane Sports Law Society raised more than $1,000 for the Urban Youth Academy over the past two years.
  • Unified College Intramural League: In 2015, After a lengthy period of inactivity following Hurricane Katrina, Special Olympics relaunched in New Orleans in 2015 through the help of students and faculty in the Tulane Sports Law Program. The first of its kind in Louisiana and one of the first in the nation, the Unified model joins people with and without intellectual disabilities on the same team. Members of the Tulane Sports Law Society are heavily involved in the operation of the League as volunteers, coaches, and players.  Students participate in a flag football league in the fall, a basketball league in the spring, and a special rivalry basketball game pitting an LSU Unified team against a Tulane Unified team.
Facts and Figures
  • In 1993 Tulane University Law School became the nation’s first law school to offer a certificate of specialization in sports law for J.D. students.
  • The Sports Lawyers Journal, a national legal journal edited by Tulane law students, first published in 1993 has enjoyed impressive success as the most widely read legal sports journal in the country.
  • Over 450 students have graduated with the sports law certificate since 1993.
  • Over 60 alumni now hold positions in the industry as agents, scouts, general counsel, athletic directors, and general managers.