Professor Jodi Balsam Named to NCAA’s new Independent Resolution Panel
Professor Jodi Balsam, a sports law expert and former in-house counsel at the National Football League, has been named by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) to its Independent Resolution Panel, one of the groups created as part of the new Independent Accountability Resolution Process (IARP). These changes were made based on recommendations issued last year by the Commission on College Basketball, chaired by former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
“The independent infractions process is NCAA members’ most recent effort to continue to hold schools appropriately accountable for conduct detrimental to college athletics,” said Naima Stevenson Starks, the NCAA’s vice president of hearing operations. “The addition of independent voices, those not directly connected with member schools, will provide a different lens through which we evaluate what it means to uphold the values and mission of the Association.”
The Independent Resolution Panel will review allegations issued by the Complex Case Unit and the school’s response to those allegations. It will then conduct a hearing, decide whether violations occurred, and prescribe penalties. The panel consists of 15 members with legal, higher education and/or sports backgrounds who are not staff members at an NCAA member institution or conference.
“The sports industry, and especially college sports, have a lot to gain in terms of credibility and fairness from using neutral arbitrators to resolve disputes,” said Balsam. “I look forward to bringing my sports law experience to the NCAA’s newly created independent infractions process.”
Balsam is frequently called upon to speak on sports law issues. She recently served as a panelist on Sports and Fantasy Gambling at the 19th Annual Saratoga Institute on Equine, Racing & Gaming Law. She also was a panelist on Legalized Sports Gambling: Murphy v. NCAA’s Impact and moderated the panel on Women’s Leadership in Sports at the Harvard Sports Law Symposium, which featured Michelle Kwan, retired figure skater and two-time Olympic medalist, and the chief legal officers of the LPGA, Jacksonville Jaguars, and Milwaukee Brewers.
Balsam worked for the NFL for 12 years as Counsel for Operations and Litigation prior to teaching. At the Law School, her courses focus on Professional Skills and Sports Law. She is regularly quoted in the media on a broad range of issues such as concussion lawsuits, wearable technology, legalized sports gambling, labor-management relations, and sports related controversies. Balsam recently was named to the editorial board of LawInSport, an educational platform and global community focused on sport and the law, and she co-authored the 6th Edition of Sports and the Law: Text, Cases, and Problems (West Academic, 2019), which explores legal issues in professional and amateur sports.