Panelists Discuss ‘The Future of College Sports’ at First Entertainment and Sports Law Society Symposium
On Nov. 12, 2021, the Brooklyn Entertainment and Sports Law Society (BESLS) hosted its inaugural sports law symposium, “The Future of College Sports in America.” Held via Zoom, the panels brought together many professionals and academics working in the area of collegiate sports, including NCAA and university officials, practicing attorneys, agents, and sports law scholars.
The symposium began with a keynote conversation between Stan Wilcox ’88, executive vice president of regulatory affairs at the NCAA, and Professor Jodi Balsam, former counsel to the NFL. As a college athlete, Wilcox led the University of Notre Dame’s men’s basketball team to the NCAA Finals. Now, after holding leadership roles in high-performing athletics departments at Notre Dame, Duke University, and Florida State University, Wilcox is using his unique perspective as both a former student athlete and an attorney to help shape the future of collegiate athletics. In 2021, the Law School honored him as Alumnus of the Year.
Wilcox and Balsam discussed the redrafting of the NCAA’s constitution, a draft of which was released Nov. 8. The new constitution aims to rebalance regulatory responsibility away from the national organization and toward the divisions, conferences, and individual institutions, as well as giving student athletes a voice on all major committees. Once the new constitution is ratified, Wilcox and other senior executives will be called upon to implement the changes.
“The new constitution is going to allow for quicker decision-making, and help student athletes, coaches, and administrators on campus feel more comfortable, knowing that it won’t take them forever to get an answer on various different issues,” said Wilcox. “This constitution gives authority to the various different divisions to really chart their own courses and design how they want to be structured from a governance perspective.”
The program was organized by BESLS Symposium Chairs Angela Anastasi ’23 and Daniel Erber ’23. and (BESLS Symposium Chairs), and Vice President Alex Rahmanan ’22. BESLS, one of the Law School’s largest student-run organizations, provides a network and programming for law students with an interest in fields such as fashion, film & television, music, and sports law.
“Launching the inaugural BESLS Symposium was both a learning process and testament to the influence and reach of Brooklyn Law School in the field,” said Erber. “We are now prepared and confident in the ability of BESLS to put on meaningful events and are excited about the many connections we were able to make. We hope to make the organization a leader in sports and entertainment law in the years to come.”
The first panel covered the ramifications of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in NCAA v. Alston, in which the Court ruled that restricting education-based benefits and compensation for student athletes violates federal antitrust laws. Moderated by Thomas A. Baker III, associate professor in the Sport Management and Policy program at University of Georgia, the panel featured Adam Dale, senior associate at Winston & Strawn; Troy Dannen, athletic director at Tulane University; and Martin Edel, partner at Goulston & Storrs and adjunct professor at the Law School.
The second panel featured a conversation on Title IX issues in collegiate athletics between Arthur Bryant, partner at Bailey & Glasser; and Allison Rich, senior associate director of athletics and senior woman administrator at Princeton University and president of the Sports Lawyers Association. The conversation was moderated by Jill Pilgrim, founder and managing attorney of Pilgrim & Associates Law Offices and lecturer at Columbia University School of Law.
The final panel covered the evolving name, image and likeness regulatory landscape in collegiate sports as a result of the Alston decision. The panel featured Jim Ivler, agent for National Football League athletes at Sportstars; Tamara Britt, vice president for external and legal affairs, chief of staff to the president, and general counsel at Manhattan College; Gregg Clifton, principal at Jackson Lewis; and Maddie Salamone, legal analyst at Speaking of Athletes and former chair of the NCAA Division 1 Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. It was moderated by Darren Heitner, founder of Heitner Legal and adjunct professor at University of Florida Levin College of Law.
At the conclusion of the program, participants were sent to digital breakout rooms where they could connect with colleagues and respond to the ideas shared throughout the program.