Big East Conference
Val Ackerman was named the fifth Commissioner of the Big East Conference on June 26, 2013. She was the founding President of the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) and is a past President of USA Basketball, which oversees the U.S. men's and women's Olympic basketball program. She has had a long and accomplished career in the sports industry and is one of the few executives in sports who has held leadership positions in both men's and women's sports at the collegiate, professional, national team and international levels.
While at the helm of the BIG EAST, Val has presided over the rebirth of the conference following the decision in 2012 of seven then-current BIG EAST schools (DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, St. John's, Seton Hall and Villanova) to separate from the original BIG EAST Conference and align with Butler, Creighton and Xavier to form the present configuration. She led the relocation of the conference office to its current site in New York City and has managed the BIG EAST's fruitful partnerships with Fox Sports, which provides wall-to-wall coverage annually of BIG EAST men's basketball on FOX, FS1 and FS2, and with Madison Square Garden, which has hosted the conference's men's basketball tournament since 1983. In 2018, the BIG EAST and MSG entered into a venue agreement extension that will keep the Garden as the home of the BIG EAST tournament through 2028. In 2019, Val also led the negotiations which resulted in the return to the BIG EAST of the University of Connecticut, one of the conference's charter members, effective July 1, 2020.
As Senior Vice President and General Counsel at CAA ICON, Eric Andalman's influence spans North America, the UK, and Europe. In his role, Andalman serves as the chief legal advisor to the company, as well as the lead business affairs advisor at CAA ICON, a division of the world's leading sports and entertainment company, Creative Artists Agency. Eric has negotiated, drafted, and advised on architectural, construction, and consultancy agreements for $10+ billion in new construction and renovations of NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB, MLS, UEFA, and NCAA venues and ancillary developments including 11 arenas, ten stadiums, and three training centers. He has also drafted and advised sports industry clients on sponsorship, financing, development, public/private governing, and retail and Food and Beverage agreements, project leases and licenses, and development documents. Eric also regularly counsels CAA ICON's sports and entertainment clients on risk management and issues relating to the procurement, design, development, and construction of venue projects as well as issues relating to real estate, financing, and use of facilities.
Eric began his career as an attorney for Alston & Bird LLP (Atlanta, GA), where he represented and advised clients on technology and intellectual property issues facing their companies. His clients included the major Fortune 500 technology companies, as well as start-ups. He then joined Dentons US LLP and represented and advised clients on a wide variety of legal issues including technology issues, contractual rights, insurance, television production/rights, sports and entertainment, and intellectual property.
In addition to his work to support CAA ICON's clients, Eric manages and oversees the legal department, and serves as the head legal advisor on all transactions, agreements, and other legal issues facing the company. This includes acting as general counsel for a new business division that was acquired by CAA ICON in October 2017, and as director and corporate secretary for the company's affiliate in the United Kingdom, CAA ICON UK Ltd.
Marla Axelrod is Director of Legal and Government Affairs for the Philadelphia Eagles. In her role with the Eagles, Marla works on a variety of legal matters across the club and serves as the team's liaison for local, state and federal government officials. She works with both football and business personnel on issues ranging from HR/employment, corporate sponsorship and activation, marketing, premium ticket sales and managing litigation to labor issues relating to players and the NFL-NFLPA Collective Bargaining Agreement. Marla served as the team's Infection Control Officer during the 2020 season, working closely with the medical staff to craft and implement COVID-19 protocols and policies. Prior to the Eagles, Marla spent ten years at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer and Feld, where she served as outside counsel to the NFL in labor and employment matters, including grievances and arbitration under the CBA and other litigation matters.
Marla graduated magna cum laude from Duke University in 2003 with a degree in Public Policy Studies and Spanish and graduated from Duke Law School with high honors in 2006.
Jodi S. Balsam
Brooklyn Law School
Jodi S. Balsam is Associate Professor of Clinical Law and Director of Externship Programs at Brooklyn Law School, where she teaches Sports Law, directs NYC' s only specialized sports law externship program, and serves as faculty advisor to the Brooklyn Entertainment and Sports Law Society. Professor Balsam also teaches the Sports Law course at NYU School of Law, and has taught the subject at New York Law School and Bucerius Law School in Hamburg, Germany. She writes and speaks on sports law topics, including as co-author of Weiler Roberts' Sports and the Law, a leading law school casebook in the field. She is on the editorial boards of the Journal of Legal Aspects of Sport and the international sports law blog LawInSport. She is a past-chair and current executive committee member of the Association of American Law Schools' Section on Law and Sports, and serves on the National Collegiate Athletic Association' s Independent Resolution Panel, which hears complex infractions cases that implicate college athletics' core values.
Before joining academia, Professor Balsam was the National Football League's Counsel for Operations and Litigation, where she managed litigation in all areas of law, oversaw a variety of policy and operational matters, negotiated and drafted contracts for League special events including the Super Bowl, and administered the League's internal dispute resolution processes and compliance program. Prior to the NFL she was a litigator with Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, where she represented sports and entertainment clients in antitrust matters and complex commercial litigation. She served as a law clerk for Judge Dennis Jacobs of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and for Judge Charles Brieant of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. A graduate of Yale College, Professor Balsam received her law degree from NYU School of Law.
National Lacrosse League
Jessica C. Berman is Deputy Commissioner and Executive Vice President of Business Affairs at the National Lacrosse League where she provides strategic direction on all growth initiatives and legal matters facing the NLL. Among her areas of responsibility, Berman oversees human resources, team services, marketing and communications, community engagement and the governance of the League.
She previously served as Vice President, Community Development, Culture & Growth at the National Hockey League, and she was also the Executive Director of the NHL Foundation. In this role she participated in the design and execution of the League's strategic corporate social responsibility goals, initiatives, policies and programs in the areas of importance to the League, the NHL Clubs, the NHL's business partners and the hockey community generally, with a particular focus on ensuring the initiatives are properly aligned with the League's overall objectives and strategy. The focus of her work was to change the global conversation about hockey, making it the acknowledged standard for sports experiences that are inclusive, accessible, enjoyable and community-friendly. In her philanthropic role, she worked to increase access and reduce barriers to the game of hockey, with an emphasis on the life skills and positive values learned through the sport.
Prior to this position, she was Vice President & Deputy General Counsel for the NHL. She was a member of the collective bargaining team for the 2012 NHL/NHLPA Collective Bargaining Agreement, which involved crafting the League's labor strategy, negotiating with the NHLPA, drafting the Agreement, and analyzing the impact of proposed changes.
National Basketball Association
Rick Buchanan is General Counsel of the NBA and the league's Chief Compliance Officer. He also serves as Secretary of the NBA's Board of Governors.
As General Counsel, Buchanan is responsible for all legal affairs of the NBA and its affiliates, including collective bargaining with NBA players, Board of Governors and ownership matters, litigation, legislation, investigations, legal issues arising from the league's various commercial businesses, player matters, and team and arena issues. In his role as Chief Compliance Officer, Buchanan oversees the Code of Conduct applicable to all NBA employees, and is responsible for the league's compliance program, including anti-gambling education and enforcement, and FCPA matters.
Buchanan currently serves on the Legal Commission of the International Basketball Federation (FIBA), and is a frequent lecturer on sports law – including at the Columbia, Georgetown, Virginia, and Brooklyn schools of law.
Before joining the NBA in 1993, Buchanan was associated with the law firm of Covington & Burling in Washington, D.C., where he was a litigator concentrating on professional sports and antitrust matters, and served as a judicial law clerk for Judge Kenneth W. Starr of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.
Buchanan is a 1985 graduate of Amherst College and a 1988 graduate of Harvard Law School, where he served as an editor of the Harvard Law Review.
Jim has been lead trial counsel in a number of complex and landmark cases. He is a skilled advocate and regularly represents large international companies in complex litigation, including Google, Freshii and Stingray.
Jim is consistently named one of Canada's leading litigators by legal directories. His recognitions include being named in the Report on Business/Lexpert special edition Canada's Leading Litigation Lawyers, in Chambers Canada as an up-and-coming lawyer in Dispute Resolution, in Lexpert as a Rising Star: Leading Lawyer Under 40 and in Benchmark Canada as a Litigation Star in Class Actions, Commercial Litigation and Securities.
Jim believes deeply in giving back to the community. He was awarded the 2016 Lexpert Zenith Award for Diversity & Inclusion to recognize his pro bono work with global athletes. He is representing South African born 800 metre Olympic champion Caster Semenya (and before her Dutee Chand) in appeals seeking to strike down regulations that require certain women to lower their naturally occurring testosterone levels as a condition of participation in women's sport. He also served as Athlete Ombudsperson to the Canadian Olympic Committee during the Olympic Games in Rio, is a former volunteer counsellor and Chair of the Board of Camp Oochigeas and is currently a member of the board of the Jays Care Foundation.
Stokely G. Caldwell, Jr.
Stoke Caldwell is a corporate attorney with Robinson Bradshaw in Charlotte, North Carolina. His vast experience in sports and entertainment law spans decades and includes representation of professional motorsports drivers/riders/employees, teams, sponsors, service providers, agents and agencies, sanctioning bodies and other industry entities; representation of major national sponsors in connection with sponsorships with MLB teams, NFL teams and NBA teams and other rights holders; representation of NBA teams; and assistance with arrangements in television, film and live entertainment. Stoke co-founded The Racing Attorney Conference, an Emeritus Director of the Sports Lawyers Association, and former Chair of the North Carolina Bar Association Sports and Entertainment Law Section. He has been recognized annually for sports law in Best Lawyers since 2003 and in Super Lawyers since 2006, and Sports Business Journal named him an Elite Outside Counsel Power Player. Stoke earned his law degree summa cum laude from Washington and Lee University School of Law and his bachelor's degree from Hampden-Sydney College.
Tony Clark, is the first former player to serve as Executive Director of the Major League Baseball Players Association, overseeing all aspects of the union's operations, including contract administration, grievance arbitration, and pension and health care matters.
Following a 15-year playing career, Clark joined the MLBPA as director of player relations in March 2010, leading the union's efforts to expand and improve the areas of membership communications and education. He was named deputy executive director in July 2013 and became executive director in December 2013. Clark retired from his playing career in 2009, after spending 15 seasons with the Detroit Tigers, Arizona Diamondbacks, New York Mets, New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, and San Diego Padres.
The second overall draft pick in 1990, Clark made his Major League debut with the Tigers in September 1995 and finished third in Rookie of the Year balloting the following season. A first baseman, he played in 1,559 games, appeared in the 2001 All-Star Game and finished his career with 1,188 hits, 251 home runs and 824 RBIs.
After attending his first Executive Board Meeting in 1999, Clark became active in union affairs. He became a player rep and during his final seven seasons served as an Association Representative, the union's most senior leadership position. As a player, Clark was actively involved in collective bargaining in 2002 and 2006, as well in negotiations over the Joint Drug Agreement.
Clark was born in Newton, Kansas, and raised in San Diego.
Gregg E. Clifton
Gregg E. Clifton is a principal in the Phoenix, Arizona, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. He is co-leader of the Sports industry group and serves as the editor of the firm's sports law blog.
Gregg has extensive experience in the collegiate and professional sports world. He has advised numerous professional franchises on general labor and employment issues, including Title III ADA regulatory compliance and wage and hour issues. Gregg serves as lead counsel for several Major League Baseball teams in their salary arbitration matters and has represented NCAA and NAIA collegiate clients regarding rules compliance, investigatory matters and in disciplinary hearings. In addition, he has handled Title IX investigations and compliance issues for NCAA and NAIA member institutions. Gregg has also worked extensively in the area of agent regulation and enforcement in professional and college sports and regularly provides counsel on issues relating to NCAA and NAIA amateurism issues and athlete eligibility questions. He has also served as an expert witness in matters involving sports agents' work and responsibilities, as well as athlete compensation issues.
Prior to joining Jackson Lewis, Gregg spent six years as chief operating officer and vice president of Team Sports for Gaylord Sports Management. He also served as president of the Athlete and Entertainment Division for famed sports attorney Bob Woolf's firm, Woolf Associates, in Boston.
Gregg began his career as an asssociate at Jackson Lewis where he focused his practice on traditional labor law. He continues to counsel clients in the areas of collective bargaining negotiations, representation cases, arbitrations and National Labor Relations Board matters.
Gregg frequently serves as an expert speaker to law schools, including Harvard University, Boston College, Hofstra University and Arizona State University, and bar associations regarding sports law issues, including agent regulation and salary arbitration. He is often called upon by national news media as a source for his commentary and opinion on legal issues in sports.
Cohen joins the Red Bulls from nine years at BSE Global, parent company to the Brooklyn Nets and the New York Liberty, where she most recently served as vice president and deputy general counsel Red Bull Arena in Harrison.
Kari Cohen joins the Red Bulls from nine years with the parent company for the Brooklyn Nets and New York Liberty. – AARON HOUSTON
In her new role, Cohen will oversee all legal matters related to Red Bull New York, Red Bull Arena and Red Bulls Academy; including identifying and addressing legal matters across the company and in regulatory, compliance and real estate matters and governmental affairs.
Andy has over 17 years' experience in the field of sports betting integrity and has assisted numerous betting operators, sporting bodies, law enforcement agencies, and state betting regulators around the world with the prevention, detection and investigation of betting-related corruption and match-fixing.
He joined Sportradar in 2013 and is a senior leader in the company's Integrity Services department who support over 100 sports governing bodies and government agencies globally to counter betting related match-fixing and sporting corruption through their innovative and proven bet monitoring, intelligence, investigation, audit and education services. This includes working with the NBA, NHL, MLB, NASCAR and MLS amongst several others in North America as well as FIFA, World Rugby, Riot Games and the International Tennis Federation globally.
Andy has acted as an expert witness in match-fixing related sporting disciplinary and criminal court case proceedings on several occasions and has been part of IOC and United Nations expert working groups on countering match-fixing.
National Hockey League
William (Bill) L. Daly, was named the National Hockey League's first-ever Deputy Commissioner by Commissioner Gary B. Bettman on July 22, 2005 — an appointment that was unanimously endorsed by the NHL's Board of Governors. Daly's appointment came after serving for more than eight years as the League's Chief Legal Officer during which time he played a major role in helping to shape the National Hockey League's identity on the global sports landscape.
In his current role, Mr. Daly is the chief consultant to Commissioner Bettman on virtually every issue impacting the League's operation and business. Principal among his duties is Mr. Daly's lead role in negotiating and administering the League's collective bargaining agreements with the NHL Players' Association and with the NHL Officials' Association. In 2004-05, he was a central figure in the League's collective bargaining negotiations with the Players' Association, which resulted in a new Agreement which effectuated a revolutionary change to the League's economic operating system. That Agreement, which many view as one of the most forward-thinking in all of professional sports, laid a strong foundation for the successful re-launch of the NHL's business in 2005-06.
Big Ten Conference
Delany recently retired after 40 years career as commissioner of the B1G and Ohio Valley conferences. Delany is president of Delany Advisory Inc., a company providing business and strategic advice to a wide range of companies and institutions. Delany resides with his wife Kitty and dog Jeb Kramer Delany in Nashville, TN. Jim and Kitty have two sons Newman and James Chancellor who reside in New York and Nashville respectively
Attorney, Advocate, Educator, Speaker and Author; "How Much is a Little Girl Worth"
Rachael Denhollander is an attorney, author, advocate, and educator who is recognized as a leading voice on the topic of sexual abuse. Possessing a unique blend of professional skills, personal experiences, and dynamic communication style, she is a sought-after media commentator, speaker, and consultant. Her grasp of legal issues, corporate ethics, effective leadership strategies, and investigative practices are coupled with a trauma-informed, deeply compassionate understanding of the realities facing survivors of sexual abuse and their path toward healing. Bridging the gap between survivors and the society and institutions that may have failed them, Rachael forces audiences to ask the question, "What is a girl or boy worth?" while equipping them with the tools to answer, "Everything."
Rachael Denhollander became known internationally in 2016 as the first woman to pursue criminal charges and speak publicly against USA Gymnastics' team doctor Larry Nassar, one of the most prolific sexual abusers in recorded history. As a result of her activism over 300 women—including numerous Olympic medalists—came forward as survivors of Nassar's abuse, eventually leading to his life imprisonment. Her courageous tenacity and ongoing advocacy helped trigger a complete upheaval at both USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University, where former executives and high-ranking officials face numerous criminal charges for their complicity in covering up Nassar's abuse and lying about what they knew. Instrumental in helping secure a record-setting $500 million settlement with Michigan State University for Nassar survivors in 2018, she continues to act as a fiduciary representing her fellow survivors in USA Gymnastic's ongoing bankruptcy proceedings. In 2019 she published an autobiographical account of her experience entitled, "What is a Girl Worth?: My Story of Breaking the Silence and Exposing the Truth about Larry Nassar and USA Gymnastics."
A member of the California Bar Association, Rachael has educated attorneys on the dynamics of sexual abuse at the American Bar Association's Sports Law Forum, addressed top corporate attorneys on issues of institutional ethics and fiduciary responsibility at NYU Law School, and instructed attorneys at the annual meeting of the Kentucky Bar Association. Additionally, Rachael was the commencement speaker at the graduation ceremony of Brandeis School of Law in 2018.
Rachael holds a Juris Doctorate from Oak Brook College of Law and possesses an honorary doctorate from the American University of Paris.
Rachael lives in Louisville, Kentucky with her husband Jacob and their four young children.
Woodie Dixon, Jr.
Woodie Dixon, Jr. is currently the General Counsel of Chegg, Inc. (NYSE: CHGG), overseeing all legal and compliance matters. Chegg is the leading student-first connected learning platform, helping students improve their overall return on educational investment in less time and at a lower cost.
Prior to joining Chegg, Dixon served as the General Counsel and Senior Vice President of Business Affairs for the Pac-12 Conference from 2010-2020. At the Pac-12, Dixon handled all legal affairs and business administration, in addition to oversight of human resources and football operations.
From 2004-10, Dixon served as General Counsel for the Kansas City Chiefs. Prior to that, he worked for the National Football League, Sidley & Austin LLP and Dorsey & Whitney, handling a myriad of corporate legal matters.
Dixon obtained his JD from Harvard Law School, a MS in Sport Management from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and a BA in History from Amherst College. In 2013, Dixon received a Forty Under 40 Award from the Sports Business Journal, recognizing him as one of the most promising young executives in sports under the age of 40.
Dixon currently also serves as a member of the Fritz Pollard Alliance Board, USA Football Board, and Arizona State University Sports Law and Business Advisory Board.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Indianapolis Colts
Tony Dungy is a #1 New York Times bestselling author whose books include Quiet Strength, Uncommon, The Mentor Leader, and Uncommon Marriage. He led the Indianapolis Colts to Super Bowl victory on February 4, 2007—the first such win for an African American head coach. Dungy established another NFL record by becoming the first head coach to lead his teams to the playoffs for ten consecutive years. He joined the Colts in 2002 after serving as the most successful head coach in Tampa Bay Buccaneers history. Dungy has also held a number of assistant coaching positions. Before becoming a coach, he played three seasons in the NFL. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2016. Dungy retired from coaching in 2009 and now serves as a studio analyst for NBC's Football Night in America. He and his wife, Lauren, are the parents of ten children.
Arizona State University
Affectionately known as the Energizer Bunny of the NFL, coach Herman Edwards is a perpetual motion machine, a breath of fresh air who uses his boundless energy and talent for combining hard work with good fun. Former ESPN analyst, NFL head coach (New York Jets '01-'05 and Kansas City Chiefs '06-'08) and player, Herm Edwards became head coach at Arizona State University in 2017. Whether it is his faith, family, or football team, Herm Edwards exudes passion in all areas of his life. Edwards has a diverse background in professional leadership, and is one of the most recognized voices in sports today. Herman is a strong proponent of being a positive role model and is one of the NFL's most active participants in off-the-field outreach programs. In his book,You Play to Win the Game, Edwards shares the wisdom and insight he counts on to motivate and sustain himself, his team, and the thousands he has inspired.
Len Elmore is a former collegiate basketball All American at The University of Maryland at College Park, a ten-year professional player in both the ABA and NBA, an attorney, a television sports personality and an educator whose professional experience spans a rich athletic career, several prestigious law firms as well as significant business and public interest endeavors.
Upon conclusion of his basketball career in 1984, Elmore received his law degree from Harvard Law School in 1987 as the first (and, to date the only) NBA player to graduate from that institution.
Since 1987, Len has served as an Assistant District Attorney in Brooklyn NY, a Senior Counsel or partner for several name law firms, a sports agent and as CEO of three enterprises, including TestU, an education technology company and iHoops, a youth sports joint venture of the NBA and the NCAA. Len served several years as Chairman of the Board and then President/Executive Director of the National Basketball Retired Players Association. He has also enjoyed a 31-year career as a network basketball commentator formerly for ESPN and CBS Sports. He currently broadcasts for Fox Sports and The B1G Ten Network.
Currently, Len is a Senior Lecturer for Columbia University in the School of Professional Studies Sports Management program where he was awarded the 2019 Dean' s Excellence Award. He also currently serves as a director on the board of a public company, 1800Flowers.com. Also, Len has recently been reappointed to The Knight Commission for Intercollegiate Athletics where he served approximately 12 years as a Commissioner. He is a co-Chair of the Commission and chairs the Commission's Racial Equity Task Force.
Donald E. English, Jr.
Jackson Lewis LLP
Donald "Donny" E. English, Jr. is a principal and the office litigation manager in the Baltimore, Maryland, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. He is an experienced trial attorney having tried numerous jury and bench trials in federal and state court. He has more than 20 years of experience litigating employment matters and assisting major corporations with internal investigations and in the development and establishment of employment policies, procedures, and training programs.
Donny advises and represents employers in a broad range of employment law matters, including those involving discrimination and harassment, wage and hour, wrongful termination, restrictive covenants, and retaliation claims. He also advises and trains managers and supervisors on preventive litigation practices, focusing on how to comply with applicable laws and regulations, avoid workplace disputes, resolve employee relations problems, and satisfy legitimate employee expectations.
Donny is a co-leader of the Jackson Lewis Automotive industry group. He also represents employers in a variety of industries, including healthcare, higher education, retail, construction, financial services, and technology. Prior to joining Jackson Lewis, Donny was a principal at Miles & Stockbridge and was an associate at Morgan Lewis. He also served as an officer in the Air Force prior to his legal career.
Winston & Strawn, LLP
David Feher is the co-chair of Winston & Strawn's Sports Law Practice. He is one of the leading sports lawyers in the country, with extensive experience in complex litigations, negotiations, and arbitrations involving contract, intellectual property, antitrust, and international issues.
He has been outside counsel for the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) and the NBA Players Association (NBPA) for many years. He is one of the prime negotiators of the collective bargaining agreements and antitrust settlements in the NFL and the NBA since the early 1990’s.
David has represented clients in many prominent sports lawsuits and arbitrations, including:
U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team in the historic fight for equal pay, and other litigation and negotiations with the U.S. Soccer Federation
North American Soccer League (NASL) in antitrust litigation against the U.S. Soccer Federation (USSF) and Major League Soccer (MLS) regarding USSF sanctioning decisions and other conduct adverse to NASL
Jenkins v. NCAA antitrust action challenging NCAA and major conference restrictions on competition for player services in Division I basketball and Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) football
U.S. double amputee 400m sprinter Blake Leeper in eligibility process before the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) and USA Track & Field
Owner/organizer of Madrid Open tennis tournament and Ion Tiriac in scheduling and related disputes with Women’s Tennis Association (WTA)
NHLPA Executive Director
Donald Fehr is the Executive Director of the National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA), a position he held since December 18, 2010. As the NHLPA’s Executive Director, Don has focused his efforts on building active participation by players in their union, and has travelled extensively to meet and consult with players around the league.
Prior to joining the NHLPA, Mr. Fehr spent 33 years with the Major League Baseball Players Association – the last 26 as Executive Director. Mr. Fehr brought the same goals to the NHLPA that he maintained with the MLBPA by keeping the players involved and informed and developing a strong consensus on all important issues. In 2012/13 he kept his constituents united in negotiating through the 113-day NHL Owners’ lockout. In 2020 during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the NHLPA reached a four-year CBA extension and return to play agreement with the NHL.
Over his time with the MLBPA, Fehr successfully maintained unity through one lockout and two strikes; litigated the collusion cases of the 1980s which led to the owners paying $280 million in damages to the players; won the bad-faith bargaining case that ended the 1994-95 strike and subsequently negotiated an agreement and negotiated new agreements with MLB in 2002 and 2006. These achievements resulted in an extended era of uninterrupted play and new levels of stability in baseball labour relations.
Don helped build the strength of baseball’s union by keeping the players involved and informed, and developed a strong consensus on all important issues. He has done the same over the last decade at the NHLPA.
Tulane Law School
Gabe Feldman is the Sher Garner Professor of Sports Law and Paul and Abram B. Barron Professor of Law at Tulane Law School, the Director of the Tulane Sports Law Program, the Co-Director of the Tulane Center for Sport (a multi-disciplinary center that studies the sports industry from the legal, medical, financial, social, and political perspectives to help improve the lives of athletes), and the Associate Provost for NCAA Compliance at Tulane University. He serves as a consultant for the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics, is the Reporter for the Uniform Law Commission NIL Committee, and has presented to the NCAA NIL working group and state and federal legislators on NIL and other NCAA issues. Prior to joining the Tulane Law School faculty, he was a litigator at Williams & Connolly in Washington DC, where he practiced in a variety of areas, including sports law, antitrust law, labor law, and intellectual property.
Ted Fikre is Vice Chairman and Chief Legal and Development Officer of Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG), where he is responsible for overseeing business development, government and media relations, administration and legal affairs for the Company. In addition, Fikre oversees AEG's large real estate and venue development projects globally, including several current strategic initiatives throughout Asia. As a member of the company's Board of Directors as well as its Office of the Chairman, Fikre is closely involved in directing the management of the company and playing a leading role in major strategic and financial transactions for the company. Starting with AEG's acquisition of the Los Angeles Kings and the construction of STAPLES Center over 20 years ago, and continuing through the company's foray into a myriad of other areas including music, soccer, facility management, and real estate development, Fikre has been at the center of AEG's rapid expansion into an international company that is a leading presenter of sports, music and other live entertainment, as well as a developer, owner and operator of first class facilities around the globe.
Prior to joining AEG as general counsel in 1997, Fikre was an associate in the Los Angeles office of Latham & Watkins, where he handled a variety of transactional matters, with a focus on project finance and mergers and acquisitions. Before embarking on a legal career, he was an assistant economist with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York where he conducted international financial market research.
Fikre graduated magna cum laude from Princeton in 1989 with a degree in economics and received his law degree, with distinction, from Stanford Law School in 1994.
Eric is the former Vice President of Business Development & Sports/Gaming Partnerships for CBS Interactive, and has worked in the North American sports and media industry for over 20 years with key responsibilities in management, strategic planning, negotiation and accountability for revenue growth.
Eric has as a Bachelor of Business Administration from Wartburg College and a Master of Sports Administration from Western Illinois University. He is based in Denver, Colorado and sits on PointsBet's Global Executive Team.
Since joining the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) in 2015, David has played an important role in a variety of legal issues facing the NBPA and its members. In 2016, he was a part of the NBPA negotiating team that worked on behalf of the players to secure a new collective bargaining agreement with the National Basketball Association (NBA). Additionally, David's responsibilities include the regulation of NBPA certified agents, mediation of disputes between agents and players, as well as representing NBA players during disciplinary proceedings before the NBA and providing general legal advice to NBA players on a variety of issues.
With the recent changes in the gambling laws across the United States, David has been given the responsibility of crafting and advocating the NBPA's position on this issue. He has spoken before state legislatures and on numerous panels regarding the legalization of sports gambling and its potential impact on athletes. He also provides the NBA players with guidance on the use of wearable technology and the potential impact such devices may have on player health and performance.
David was recently names to Sports Business Journal's Class of 2019 Forty under 40 and well as the National Bar Association's 40 under 40.
Prior to joining the NBPA, David was an assistant district attorney in Queens County, New York, and also an assistant U.S. attorney in New Jersey. When not working he frequently participates in triathlons and has completed nine Ironman races.
University of Colorado Boulder
Rick George is beginning his eighth year as the University of Colorado's athletic director, and during this time he has emerged as one of the leaders of the profession. While his full list of accomplishments he has achieved are too long to list, his work on several NCAA and Pac-12 Conference committees has given CU a national voice on the most important topics and challenges facing college athletics today. He has instituted successful comprehensive three-year strategic plans at CU, shepherded through the Athletic Complex Expansion from creation through fruition which resulted in the state-of-the-art Champions Center and a long-needed Indoor Practice Facility, and has coordinated with his senior staff improvements in all areas of life for the school's 350-plus student athletes. Prior to returning to CU in the summer of 2013, George spent time with the Texas Rangers, the PGA Tour, his own 501c3 (Fore!Kids Foundation) and at Vanderbilt University. His first stint at CU was from 1987-92, first as football's recruiting coordinator under Coach Bill McCartney and in his final two years for all sports. He played a significant role in recruiting players that helped Colorado win the 1990 national championships and three Big Eight Conference titles. George was a four-year starter at defensive back for the University of Illinois and joined CU from his alma mater where also served as the football team's recruiting coordinator.
Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP
With more than 35 years of experience as an insurance recovery lawyer, Richard counsels his clients in complex insurance and commercial matters. He has represented policyholders all over the country and successfully secured hundreds of millions of dollars in defense costs, settlements and indemnity payments on behalf of his clients. In addition to representing corporate clients, Richard is also one of the only lawyers in the country with a significant breadth of experience advising and representing professional athletes, sports teams, and leagues in connection with disability and loss of value insurance claims as well as assisting them with COVID-19 business interruption insurance claims. He is also a thought leader in the area of sports insurance. He has been interviewed and quoted dozens of times regarding his views on sports insurance, including in the Wall Street Journal, NFL Radio, Yahoo! Sports, Sportico, the Bleacher Report, the Sports Business Journal, TSN Canada Sports Radio, and the Business Insurance Journal, among others. Richard has also authored two dozen nationally published articles on sports insurance issues and he has been a featured speaker over a dozen times at national and international sports and entertainment insurance conferences, webinars, seminars, and law school classes. Richard was recognized in the 2021 Best Lawyers in America© guide for litigation, specifically insurance litigation. His sports insurance clients have called him “the foremost expert in the area of sports insurance,” noting he’s “a pleasure to work with.” Richard also has significant experience in matters involving event cancellation and other types of entertainment insurance claims.
Global Sports Advocates, LLC
Paul J. Greene, the founder of Global Sports Advocates, is recognized by Who's Who Legal and Chambers USA as one of the world's leading sports lawyers. Paul has handled sports law matters around the world, including numerous hearings before the international Court of Arbitration for Sport based in Lausanne, Switzerland – known as the “Supreme Court for sports law.” Paul has represented athletes from more than 20 countries and more than 30 different sports. Paul is a long time member of SLA who is looking forward to his role as the lawyer for an athlete accused of committing an anti-doping rule violation in this year's SLA Virtual Annual Conference session entitled "Mock Athlete Eligibility Arbitration Hearing: On the Eve of the Olympic Games."
Robert A. Hacker
Robert A. Hacker Attorney at Law and Sports Media Consulting
Bobby is the current president of the SLA, a long-time board member and a three time conference chair. After 18 years as the VP of Business and Legal Affairs at FOX Sports, Bobby has opened his own practice focusing on representing above-the-line sports media talent and sports and entertainment production.
Brian Hainline, M.D., is Chief Medical Officer of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). As the NCAA's first Chief Medical Officer, Brian oversees the NCAA Sport Science Institute, a national center of excellence whose mission is to promote and develop safety, excellence, and wellness in college student-athletes, and to foster life-long physical and mental development. For over 30 years, Brian has been actively involved in sports medicine. Brian is co-author of Drugs and the Athlete, co-editor of Sports Neurology, and co-author of Concussion – What Do I Do Now? Brian is Clinical Professor of Neurology at New York University School of Medicine and Indiana University School of Medicine.
Leigh is Associate Counsel, Sports Business and Entertainment at Leopoldus Law. She is experienced in Sports Business and Entertainment Law, Employment Law, Diversity Program Development, and American Indian Law. Her recent publication is with the ASU Sports and Entertainment Law Journal with a working title of, Building a Basketball Arena on Tribal Land.
GloArizona State University
In November 2019, the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law named Aaron Hernandez the Director of the Allan “Bud” Selig Sports Law and Business Program at Arizona State University. As Director, Aaron is responsible for supervising the Sports Law and Business (SLB) Program and ensuring its continued success. Aaron oversees the following aspects of the SLB Program: operational efficiency, admissions, curriculum development, academic and career advising, recruiting, donor and alumni relations, stakeholder relations, and student engagement. In collaboration with Executive Director Glenn Wong, Aaron also is responsible for long-term strategic vision and growth of the SLB Program. In addition to overseeing the SLB Program, Aaron is also responsible for teaching class at the law school.
Before joining Arizona State, Aaron was the Associate Director of Football at the NCAA. While at the NCAA, Aaron specialized in stakeholder engagement in Division I (FBS). Aaron worked closely with high-profile college football coaches, athletic directors, sports administrators, compliance officers, and many other stakeholders to identify major threats to the collegiate model. He also served as the primary liaison to the Big 12 Conference, American Athletic Conference, Under Armour, and the College Football Playoff for all football-related matters. Aaron also conducted investigations of institutions that may have violated NCAA rules and focused on matters that involved Division I college football.
Aaron has previously served in compliance and legal roles with: Marquette University Athletics, the National Sports Law Institute, NASCAR, and Gray & Associates, LLP. Aaron graduated with his Juris Doctor in May of 2013 from Marquette University Law School, receiving a certificate in Sports Law from the National Sports Law Institute, and is an admitted attorney to the State Bar of Wisconsin. Aaron was named the 2019 Marquette Sports Law Alumnus of the Year and is published in four separate law journals for works focused on legal issues in sports.
A native of El Paso, TX, Aaron received his Bachelor’s in Business Administration in Finance from the Mendoza College of Business at the University of Notre Dame in 2010. Aaron currently resides in Phoenix, AZ.
Lynn Holzman returned to the NCAA in February 2018 as the vice president of women’s basketball. She is responsible for the strategic direction, oversight, operations and management of women’s basketball in Divisions I, II and III. She serves as the primary liaison to the women’s basketball committees and provides strategic oversight of the site-selection process for each championship. In 2014, Holzman was appointed commissioner of the West Coast Conference after serving in various leadership roles within the conference office, including executive senior associate commissioner/chief operating officer and senior associate commissioner of governance and administration. Before her conference office tenure, she worked at the NCAA national office for 16 years, last serving as a director of academic and membership affairs.
Holzman was served on the Board of Directors and President of Women Leaders in College Sports. She also has served on various Boards such as the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association, Kay Yow Cancer Fund, Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame, San Jose Sports Authority, National Association for Athletics Compliance and the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, Center for Research in Intercollegiate Athletics.
Holzman earned her Bachelor of Science and secondary major degrees at Kansas State University where she was captain of the women's basketball team and a three-time Academic All-Big Eight Team member. She also earned a Master of Arts degree from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and a Master of Business Administration from Purdue University.
Portland Trail Blazers
Jenn Hunter is the Sr. Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for the Portland Trail Blazers. In her role she spearheads DEI related strategy, policy and engagement efforts for the organization. She has previously spent time in collegiate athletics, last serving as an Associate Athletic Director for DEI at Brown University, and started the first DEI department for Wisconsin Athletics. Hunter is a graduate of Howard University with a degree in Public Relations and Sports Administration, and earned her JD from Thurgood Marshall School of Law in Houston, Texas
Nate Jones has been a marketing agent for NBA players for 12 seasons.
As Senior Vice President, Head of Fantasy & Gaming for the NBA, Scott Kaufman-Ross oversees all initiatives related to the league's commercial endeavors in the fantasy sports and sports betting landscape. Scott led the NBA's partnerships with MGM, FanDuel, DraftKings, Yahoo, FOXBET, William Hill, Unibet, bet365, BetEasy, Tabcorp and Dream11 and served as the NBA's Board Observer to FanDuel for three years. Before taking on his current role, Scott spent four years on the NBA's Global Strategy Team evaluating the league's strategic approach to new business areas such as daily fantasy sports, sports betting, esports, and venture investing. Prior to joining the NBA, Scott spent four years at Goldman Sachs in the Global Investment Research division.
Nina King joined Duke Athletics in September 2008 and serves as the department's Senior Deputy Director of Athletics for Administration/Legal Affairs and Chief of Staff. She facilitates daily operation and oversight of the department, has oversight responsibilities for Human Resources, Recreation and Physical Education program, and all legal matters, including the development and execution of department contracts while serving as the liaison to the University Legal Counsel Office. She leads the senior staff/sport administrator group responsible for administration of Duke's 27 varsity sports. She also handles the primary administrative duties for Duke's women's basketball and football programs.
In addition, King co-teaches a sports business course with VP and Dir of Athletics, Kevin White, in Duke's Fuqua School of Business MBA program. She also championed the creation and launch of the Rubenstein-Bing ACE program, a collaboration between Stanford and Duke for global civic engagement for student-athletes from both athletic departments.
In February of 2018, King was named to SportsBusiness Journal's Forty Under 40 Class of 2018. The annual list honors 40 executives for excellence and innovation in their respective careers, all before the age of 40. Later that year, she was tabbed to the Leaders Under 40 Class of 2018, honoring sports business executives from around the world.
King is currently Chair of the NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Committee for the 2020-2021 season. The 10-person group is charged with, among many duties, the selection, seeding, and bracketing for the annual NCAA Women's Basketball Championship.
King received her bachelor's degree in accountancy from the University of Notre and her J.D. from Tulane Law School. She has served internships in the Notre Dame Athletics Department, NCAA and Nike, Inc.
Manly, Stewart & Finaldi
Sarah Klein is a preeminent civil and trial attorney who specializes in representing sexual abuse survivors and a nationally renowned advocate for legal, cultural, and political change for the support for the victims of sexual abuse.
A former competitive gymnast, Klein is also the first known victim of former Olympic women's gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar. At the July 2018 ESPY Awards, Klein accepted the Arthur Ashe Courage Award on behalf of herself and the hundreds of other survivors who spoke out and testified about Nassar's abuse.
Klein's legal practice is focused on representation of victims of sexual abuse by perpetrators under the aegis of powerful institutions including school districts, sport federations, entertainment conglomerates, churches, youth organizations, and Fortune 500 companies. She is also actively spearheading the fight to extend the statute of limitations for child sexual abuse victims across all 50 states.
Sarah is an alumna of Columbia University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Global Entrepreneurship program. She sits on the Board of Directors of CHILD USAdvocacy, a national organization committed to protecting children's civil liberties and keeping children safe from abuse. She also sits on the Board of Yale University's Sports Equity Lab, pursuing research to inform policies around safe sporting environments and help fight abuse, in all forms, for all athletes.
Through her significant experience in lawyering some of the country's highest profile cases, Klein has become a leading voice on sexual abuse and other legal issues on television, radio, and in print media including NBC, CBS, ABC, Fox, ESPN, NPR, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal and USA Today. She regularly appears as a legal analyst on Court TV.
"The time has come for the law to impose the full legal consequences that abusers and their enablers deserve." Sarah Klein
Rob Koehler was appointed Director General of Global Athlete in February 2019. Global Athlete is a movement by athletes for athletes aiming to collectively inspire and drive change across the world of sport.
Rob commenced his work in the sporting world working at a community level and quickly transitioned into a role with the Spirit of Sport Foundation in Canada by traveling across his home nation with Olympians in lead up to the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games. During this time, he promoted athlete involvement and engagement while at the same time teaching young people about the values of sport. Rob worked with the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport from 1997-2000. When the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) was established in 1999, Rob took on a role as Chief Executive Officer of the Drug Free Sport Consortium whose role was to help WADA implement its first out-of-competition testing program leading up to the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games. In 2002, he became a full-time employee at WADA and during his tenure held positions as a Deputy Director of Standards and Harmonization, Director of Education and Program Development and the agency's Deputy Director General. Rob resigned from WADA in August 2018. Prior to his resignation Rob was responsible for the oversight of the Russian Roadmap for Russia's return to compliance. During his time at WADA, he was a strong advocate of the athlete voice and during the last few years was responsible for working with the WADA Athlete Committee.
University of Baltimore School of Law
Dionne Koller is a Professor of Law and the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at the University of Baltimore School of Law where she teaches Civil Procedure I and II, Advanced Civil Procedure, Sports and the Law, and directs the law school's Center for Sport and the Law. Prior to entering law teaching, Professor Koller was an attorney with Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld, L.L.P. in Washington, D.C. Professor Koller has published numerous book chapters and scholarly articles in the area of Olympic and amateur sports and is a frequent media commentator on issues related to sports and the law. Professor Koller has served as chair and as a member of the Executive Board for the Sports Law Section of the Association of American Law Schools and is a member of the United States Anti-Doping Agency's Anti-Doping Review Board. Professor Koller was awarded the University of Baltimore's President's Faculty Award for excellence in teaching, scholarship, and service and the Law School's James May Faculty Award for excellence in teaching. Professor Koller earned her J.D., with honors, from the George Washington University Law School and an M.A. in Philosophy and Social Policy from the George Washington University.
Arizona State University & Sun Devils
Dr. Shanyn Lancaster received her BSB in Finance from the University of Minnesota, where she was a four year varsity letterwinner in gymnastics. She graduated from Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit, Michigan, trained at Columbia-St. Mary's family medicine residency program in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and completed a primary care sports medicine fellowship with Henry Ford Hosptial in Detroit. She has worked in a group practice setting and within Student Health Centers on two collegiate campuses.
As the current Head Team Physician and Chief of Sports Medicine at Arizona State University, she has expanded the scope of medical care to the 600+ student athletes, to include comprehensive medical and sports medicine care. She has expanded mental health screening on campus and hopes to eliminate the stigma associated with mental health in our society, especially within athletes. She is currently the chair of the Pac-12 Mental Health Taskforce.
Nona Lee is in her 22nd season with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2021, and serves as Executive Vice President & Chief Legal Officer, overseeing all legal issues for the organization. Before dedicating her time solely to the D-backs, she served as Associate General Counsel (2000-04) and VP and Associate General Counsel (2004-05) for the Phoenix Suns, D-backs, Phoenix Mercury, Arizona Rattlers, Chase Field, US Airways Center and Dodge Theater.
Lee currently serves as a member of the board of directors and Immediate Past President of the Sports Lawyers Association, a non-profit, international, professional organization whose common goal is the understanding, advancement and ethical practice of sports law. She also serves on the advisory board for the Phoenix Chapter of Women in Sports & Events (WISE), and the boards of the National LGBT Bar and Blvck Womxn Worldwide. In addition, Lee serves as a member of the Board of Advisors of the National Sports Law Institute at Marquette University School of Law, and on the Advisory Board of the Sports Law and Business Program at Arizona State University Law School. In addition, Lee also serves on the American Arbitration Association's commercial and sports law panels, and a member of the NCAA's Independent Resolution Panel. Lee also serves on the Greater Phoenix Economic Council's Next Council. As of 2020, she chairs the Arizona Diamondbacks "D-backs for Change Council" which focuses on diversity, equity and inclusion both within the D-backs organization and the community.
Lee resides in Phoenix, Arizona with her wife, Andrea Martínez, and their dogs Jaz and Ripley.
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meager, & Flom
Karen Lent is head of the Antitrust/Competition Group in Skadden's New York office, representing a wide variety of clients in antitrust, sports and other complex litigation matters at both the trial and appellate court levels. Ms. Lent has extensive experience counseling professional sports leagues and teams on a variety of antitrust and sports law matters, including the NBA, NFL, MLS, NHL and NCAA. These representations have included the NCAA in litigation brought by student-athletes challenging its eligibility rules. Ms. Lent was named a Sports and Entertainment Trailblazer by The National Law Journal in 2019 and as one of Crain's 2019 Notable Women in the Business of Sports. She also has repeatedly been selected for inclusion in Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business, in addition to being recognized as a 2019 Sports MVP by Law360 and named to W@Competition's 2019 40 in Their 40s list of notable women competition professionals. Additionally, she has been named as a SportsBusiness Journal Power Player in sports law and by the same publication to their Forty Under Forty list.
Brandon Leopoldus is based in the Los Angeles area and has been in California for more than a decade. Growing up in Colorado Springs with a sister, an Olympic-level gymnast, he spent much of his childhood at the United States Olympic Training Center.
His own sports career began as an umpire in Minor League Baseball. He umpired in the Appalachian, Pioneer, Midwest, California, and Pacific Coast Leagues, and received two All-Star selections and umpired one league championship series. Following his umpire career, Brandon decided to pursue his legal education.
After law school and cutting his teeth as an employment litigator, he began working with Major League Baseball umpires, leading to clients who were players from every sport. Some highlights have included representing a two-time NFL All-Pro with his off-field business and personal endeavors; resolving a six-figure personal dispute for a Super Bowl champion; protecting and enforcing the intellectual property rights of an 8-year NBA veteran; advising a two-time Stanley Cup champion with a multi-million dollar real estate investment; developing the structure of an indoor baseball training facility for a Major League Baseball All-Star; and advising top-tier collegiate athletes entering the draft.
His entertainment clients have included negotiating performance agreements and tour agreements for a notable band; negotiating and structuring the business of a production company with high-visibility events on OSCARS® night; protecting the homes and business interests of many celebrities, and structuring businesses to increase revenue for social media influencers.
As a recognized leader in sports law, Mr. Leopoldus is a featured speaker and panelist across the country including presentations and guest lectures at numerous law schools. He is an award-winning member of the Sports Lawyers Association, on the ad-hoc Athlete Outreach Committee for Merging Vets and Players, the board of advisors for City Gala, and the Steering Committee of Sports Spectacular.
National Women's Soccer League
Lisa K. Levine is General Counsel to the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL), the only sanctioned women's professional soccer league in the United States. Embarking on its historical ninth competitive season in 2021, Ms. Levine was part of the team that formed NWSL in 2012, drafting the league's governing documents as well as its player contracts, manuals, rules and guidelines that control the league's day-to-day operations. Ms. Levine also negotiated sponsorship, broadcast, and licensing agreements on behalf of the league, and assists with all aspects of league functions.
Ms. Levine is a graduate of Virginia Tech (B.A.) and the College of William and Mary (M.A.), with degrees in English. She earned her Doctor of Jurisprudence (magna cum laude) from Syracuse University College of Law.
Will Lopez serves as Cooley's deputy general counsel. In that role, he advises the firm on legal ethics, risk management, conflicts of interest and other professional responsibility and compliance issues. Prior to joining Cooley, Will served as the deputy general counsel of an AmLaw 100 law firm.
Will is a member of the New York City Bar Ethics Committee and is a frequent speaker on issues relating to legal ethics. He also serves on the board of the New York LGBT Bar Association.
During law school, Will worked as a judicial extern to The Honorable Ann Claire Williams for the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, was a legal intern with Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund in Chicago, and received the "40 Under 40" award from the Windy City Times in 2011. Will is a graduate of Chicago-Kent College of Law (JD, magna cum laude, 2011), where he was note & comments editor of the Chicago-Kent Law Review. He was inducted into the Order of the Coif and Bar & Gavel Society, and was the recipient of a PILI Scholarship and the LAGBAC Foundation Award. Will studied English literature at the University of Miami (BA, cum laude, 2008).
Sports Business Journal, Sports Business Daily/Global
Abraham Madkour is Executive Editor of Street & Smith's SportsBusiness Journal, SportsBusiness Daily and SportsBusiness Daily Global.Mr. Madkour is responsible for determining the editorial content and shaping the editorial direction of the leading publications on the business of sports, while managing the entire editorial staff. In addition, he oversees all the editorial content for the various conferences produced by Street & Smith's Sports Business Group, including the prestigious World Congress of Sports and Forty Under 40 awards dinner. Mr. Madkour serves as the lead moderator and editorial spokesman for all of the company's events. Mr. Madkour joined SportsBusiness Daily as a Senior Staff Writer when the publication launched in August 1994. He was named Editor-in-Chief in September 1996 and became Executive Editor of SportsBusiness Journal and SportsBusiness Daily in 2003.Prior to joining SportsBusiness Daily, Mr. Madkour was a Legislative Assistant for U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont. In addition to working with Senator Leahy, Mr. Madkour had stints working for the Washington Bullets and the Baltimore Orioles in 1993 and 1994.He lives in Charlotte, N.C., and is a graduate of the University of Vermont.
Maloney & Thompson Sports Management
Andrew Maloney is an NHLPA certified agent who represents players in the NHL, AHL, as well as major European leagues in Russia, Finland, Sweden, Germany, and Switzerland. He is also licensed to practice law in the state of Oklahoma and province of Ontario and is experienced in moving coaches and players between countries.
Manly, Stewart & Finaldi
John Manly is a native of Orange County. He is a graduate of USC and Pepperdine Law School. He attended both Santa Ana College and Orange Coast College as well. He served as a US Navy Intelligence officer and now serves his clients as an attorney representing victims of child sexual abuse. His clients include celebrities and Olympic athletes together with survivors from all walks of life. He and the firm are nationally recognized as the leading law firm in the United States. He is a sought-after speaker at legal conferences throughout the United States. John has appeared on countless Network News television programs including 60 Minutes, the Today Show, Good Morning America, CBS This Morning and ESPN E:60.
Mr. Manly's work was prominently featured in the Oscar nominated 2005 documentary Deliver Us from Evil, which centered around the civil prosecution of notorious predator priest Oliver O'Grady and the church officials who protected him. His work was also featured in the award winning 2020 Netflix Documentary Athlete A which focused on the Larry Nassar case.
Mr. Manly took on his first sexual abuse case in 1997. The case involved a young man victimized by his priest/high school principal. After 5 years of litigation, Mr. Manly was able to achieve a 5.2-million-dollar settlement in the action — still the largest single-victim pre-trial settlement in history for the type of abuse suffered. Since that time, Mr. Manly has devoted his time to assemble a powerful team of attorneys who specialize in litigating sexual abuse civil cases on behalf of children and vulnerable adults, firmly establishing Manly, Stewart & Finaldi as the nation's preeminent law firm in the field. His most recent high-profile cases were lead counsel in the 500-million-dollar Nassar/Michigan State cases. He was also lead counsel in the billion-dollar University of Southern California cases. They have recovered more than two billion dollars on behalf of their clients.
Mr. Manly is valued by his clients and feared by sexual predators and those who enable them.
A member of the New York, California, Arizona, and Alaska Bar Associations, John is admitted to practice in numerous federal district courts.
Chris McCleary has served as general counsel for the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee since January 2015. In this role, he leads a team of legal professionals responsible for all USOPC legal, contract, intellectual property, and dispute resolution matters. Additionally, he serves as the organization's ethics officer and works with the USOPC Ethics Committee to advance USOPC's ethics and conflicts of interest policies and practices, and to resolve ethics questions as they arise. He also leads USOPC's governance work and serves as corporate secretary to the USOPC board of directors./p>
McCleary oversees the USOPC's partnerships with the World Anti-doping Agency, U.S. Anti-doping Agency and Partnership for Clean Competition. He also serves as a member of the Association of National Olympic Committee's Legal Commission./p>
McCleary joined the USOPC from Visa Inc., where he served eight years as the senior vice president and senior associate general counsel of global brand and client management, in which he led the company's worldwide legal operations in marketing, sponsorships, intellectual property and client licensing./p>
Previously, McCleary served as senior vice president and deputy general counsel for Visa International Service Association, focusing on the Visa Worldwide Services legal department. In a prior stint with the company, he also served as senior vice president for Visa U.S.A. Inc., where he led the legal department in all marketing and advertising matters./p>
In addition to his experience with Visa, he served as general counsel for Move.com and practiced law with Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison, concentrating on intellectual property matters./p>
McCleary received a bachelor's degree from the University of Michigan in 1986, and a Juris Doctor, cum laude, from Michigan Law in 1991. He and his wife, Kristina Chung, live in Colorado Springs, Colorado, with their two children, Chase and Caroline.
Quest Meeks is Senior Counsel in the Office of the Commissioner of Major League Baseball and his areas of responsibility include state government relations and compliance with a particular emphasis on sports betting. He oversees a broad array of issues related to sports betting, including legislative advocacy, regulatory compliance, education and training, and internal investigations. Before joining MLB, Quest worked in-house for a Fortune 500 utility company based in New Orleans, Louisiana, and before that, he served as a federal prosecutor.
Bruce Meyer holds the position of Senior Director, Collective Bargaining and Legal, at the Major League Baseball Players Association. In that position he is the Chief Negotiator for the baseball players' union in its dealings with Major League Baseball, as well as having involvement in all aspects of the union's operations.
Prior to joining the MLBPA in September, 2018, Mr. Meyer spent two years as Senior Director: Collective Bargaining, Policy and Legal at the National Hockey League Players Association.
Before joining the NHLPA, Mr. Meyer was a partner at the law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP in New York, where he spent 30 years as a litigator and trial lawyer on a wide variety of complex commercial cases. During that time he represented the NHLPA, NFL Players Association and National Basketball Players Association and other sports clients in matters including collective bargaining, arbitrations, antitrust litigation, intellectual property litigation and others.
Mr. Meyer received his J.D. from the Boston University School of Law in 1986 and a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1983.
New York Red Bulls
Darren Meyer, Senior Director of Marketing Partnerships and Premium Services has been with the New York Red Bulls organization since 2015, bringing with him over 23 years of major professional and collegiate sports sponsorship experience in both the Marketing Partnerships and Corporate Sales departments.
Managing a team of eight (8) corporate sales and marketing partnership executives, Darren and his team have been instrumental in the club's continued growth of partnership marketing and premium/corporate sales as well as record retention percentage numbers prior to the pandemic.
Meyer previously worked for IMG College Sports Marketing as the General Manager of the Atlantic-10 Conference selling and servicing major advertisers within all A-10 Conference sports properties highlighted by the Men's and Women's Basketball Championships at Barclays Center and Richmond Coliseum respectively.
Prior to that role, he worked as Director, Partnership Marketing for the New Jersey/Brooklyn Nets for over seven seasons and was a major contributor to the team's move and activation into Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY. Darren also spent time at the corporate offices of Major League Baseball Properties in NYC within their Publishing Department as well as at Madison Square Garden within their Corporate Sales team.
Indiana University; Simpson Thacher & Bartlett
Jayma is Counsel at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett in New York City, where her focus is on antitrust and Title IX litigation, and a Visiting Clinical Professor, Sports Law and Public Policy, O'Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University. Jayma advocates the power of sport to bring about social change, with a special focus on achieving gender equality in sports through education, activism and litigation.
Jayma's recent scholarship on college athletics includes: "A Win Win: College Athletes get Paid for their Names, Images and Likenesses and Colleges Maintain the Primacy of Academics", 11 Harvard Journal of Sports and Entertainment Law 247 (2020); "It's on the NCAA: A Playbook for Eliminating Sexual Assault", 67 Syracuse Law Review 358 (2017), and "The Case for a Limited and Conditional Antitrust Exemption for the NCAA", 62 Antitrust Bulletin 31 (2017). She is a regular lecturer and panelist at universities, conferences and symposiums on sports law issues.
Jayma has negotiated Title IX settlement agreements that contain multi-year monitoring provisions with high schools throughout the US and is currently litigating a class action Title IX case against the Hawaii Department of Education. Jayma has co-counseled with the San Francisco Legal Aid at Work, California Women's Law Center, Hawaii ACLU and National Women's Law Center on Title IX matters.
Jayma is a Member, Board of Directors and Vice Co-Chair of the Conference Committee of the Sports Lawyers Association; Emeritus Trustee, and formerly Vice President, Chair of the Advocacy Committee, and Member of the Executive Committee of the Women's Sports Foundation; Member, Board of Directors and Co-Chair of the Development and Strategy Committee of the National Women's Law Center; Chair of the Dean's Council for the O'Neill School, of Public and Environmental Affairs, Indiana University; and Member, Sports Industry Advisory Council, Kelley School of Business, Indiana University. Jayma has been named multiple times a New York Super Lawyer in the categories of Antitrust and Top Women Lawyers and received the Distinguished Alumni Award from Indiana University in 2014. She also has served as a member of the Sports Law and Antitrust Law Committees of the Association of the Bar of the City of N.Y. Jayma graduated from Georgetown University Law Center and is licensed to practice law in NY and CA.
Jayma was a top 10 ranked butterfly swimmer in the world in the early 1970s.
Marquette University Law School
Matt is a Professor of Law and the Executive Director of the National Sports Law at Marquette University Law School. He has authored Sports Law in the United States (Wolters Kluwer 2011, 2nd ed. 2014, 3rd ed. 2017) and co-authored a law school textbook, Sports Law and Regulation: Cases, Materials, and Problems (Aspen/Wolters Kluwer 2005, 2nd ed. 2009, 3rd ed. 2013, 4th ed., 2017, 5th ed. 2020), and Sports Law: Governance and Regulation (Wolters Kluwer 2013, 2nd ed. 2016, 3rd ed. 2020), an undergraduate/graduate text. He is an arbitrator for the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, Switzerland (serving on the ad hoc Division for the XXI Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia) and the American Arbitration Association's sports, commercial, and consumer arbitration panels as well as the UFC and the Ladies Professional Golfers Association anti-doping panels. He is a member of the Sports Lawyers Association (SLA) Board of Directors (serving as SLA president from May 2015-May 2017) and the Advisory Board for the Sports & Society Initiative of The Ohio State University College of Arts and Sciences. He testified before a U.S. Congressional joint subcommittee and the Senate Judiciary Committee as well as the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics regarding various college sports law issues. He has discussed a wide variety of sports law, business, and ethics topics at more than 175 conferences and seminars throughout the United States as well as in Australia, Canada, China, England, Hungary, Republic of Korea, and Turkey.
Oak View Group
Over the course of 20+ years at CAA Sports, the NFL Players Association and IMG, Joe has represented athletes, coaches, broadcasters, properties, and brands in a wide array of matters. Joe also is an adjunct professor in NYU's Tisch Institute for Global Sport.
Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP
Stephen Neuwirth, one of the leading antitrust attorneys in the United States, chairs Quinn Emanuel's worldwide Antitrust and Competition Law practice. He was recognized by Law360 in 2017 as one of just five antitrust "MVPs" nationwide, by Corporate LiveWire in 2018 as U.S. Antitrust and Competition Lawyer of the Year, by the National Law Journal in 2015 as an Antitrust "Trailblazer," and by Law360 in 2014 as a "Titan of the Plaintiffs' Bar." Mr. Neuwirth is one of just two attorneys in the United States ranked by Legal 500 in Tier 1 for both defense-side and plaintiffs-side antitrust litigation. Chambers USA has described Mr. Neuwirth as "renowned for his deep understanding of corporate transactions and antitrust matters" and "recognized as a 'leading light' for his plaintiffs' work." Mr. Neuwirth also was ranked a Non-IP Litigation Star by LMG Life Sciences 2017. He has been recognized for his work in Antitrust litigation by The Best Lawyers in America from 2013 to 2021 and included in the 2020 Lawdragon 500 Leading Plaintiff Financial Lawyers Guide for his work in Antitrust litigation.
In 2014-2015 alone, he achieved over USD 800 million in recoveries when representing plaintiffs. Neuwirth is also one of the rare attorneys with a blue chip practice on both sides of the "v.", also representing defendants in some of the most important litigation in the nation. In recent years, for example, Neuwirth has on three occasions achieved voluntary dismissal of class action antitrust claims– in each instance without the clients having to make any monetary payment.
Neuwirth brings to bear almost three decades of experience in private practice and government, including serving as Associate White House Counsel to President Clinton from 1993-1996. In 1998, the U.S. Department of Justice retained Neuwirth to assist in the Antitrust Division's litigation against Microsoft.
Trisha E. Newman
Women's Flat Track Derby Association
Trisha E. Newman is an Of Counsel in the Los Angeles office where she advises oncorporate and privacy law, which includes CCPA and GDPR compliance. She represents a variety of small businesses and sports companies as general counsel, with a focus on tax exempt organizations. Ms. Newman's representation includes both transactions and litigation, including appellate matters in both state and federal courts.
Ms. Newman started as a deputy public defender in Los Angeles County. She later formed her own solo practice, centered on appointed criminal defense appeals and helping small businesses with corporate formation and compliance. Ms. Newman has appeared in various appellate courts throughout Southern California, including the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Ms. Newman received her BA from University of California, Los Angeles (2001) and JD from Southwestern University School of Law (2004). She is admitted to the Texas and California Supreme Courts; Central District of California; Fifth and Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals; and the U.S. Supreme Court.
Ms. Newman serves as the State Bar of California Nonprofits Committee Vice Chair of Social Media and is a member of the Sports Lawyer's Association, Women in Sports Law and the International Association of Privacy Professionals.
Arent Fox LLP
Maidie Oliveau's practice focuses on sports-related transactions and arbitration. She has developed a multi-faceted practice including television, streaming, naming rights, sponsorship and event-related rights, for single sport and multi-sport/international events; acquisitions of sports events and/or clubs; and US and international sports arbitration. Clients call on Maidie for her deep sports law experience and note that she instills confidence in decision making. She has served as an arbitrator on the Court of Arbitration for Sport since 1997. In addition, Maidie is on the panel of the American Arbitration Association and International Center for Dispute Resolution.
William D. Parham, Ph.D., ABPP
Loyola Marymount University
WILLIAM D. PARHAM, PH.D., ABPP is a Professor in the Counseling Program and Interim Director of the Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership for Social Justice at Loyola Marymount University. He is a licensed psychologist, Board Certified in Counseling Psychology by the American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP) and Past-President of the Society of Counseling Psychology of the American Psychological Association where he also is recognized as a Fellow in Divisions 17 (Society of Counseling Psychology), 45 (Society for the Study of Culture, Ethnicity and Race) and 47 (Exercise and Sport Psychology).
In addition, Dr. Parham serves currently as the inaugural Director of the Mental Health and Wellness Program of the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA), a position he has held since 2018. He is a member of the mental health and wellness task force of the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) and a member of an international think tank on the mental health and wellness of athletes.
For most of his professional career, Dr. Parham has focused on working with athletes across organizations (e.g., National Basketball Association; National Football League; Major League Baseball; United States Olympic Committee; United States Tennis Association; Major League Soccer, UCLA, UC Irvine) across levels (e.g., professional, elite, amateur, collegiate and youth) and across sports (e.g., basketball, football, gymnastics, softball, baseball, track and field, tennis, golf, swimming, volleyball, figure skating). He also has worked with performance artists in drama, theatre and music. Much of his current work focuses on trauma, an unfortunate personal experience of far too many people. Athletes and performing artists are not immune from these experience.
Jeffrey Pash joined the National Football League in January 1997, and is currently Executive Vice President. In that capacity, he serves as the League's principal in-house counsel and oversees labor relations, security and internal audit. Prior to joining the NFL, Mr. Pash was Senior Vice President and General Counsel at the National Hockey League, where he served as the senior legal and policy advisor to Commissioner Gary Bettman. He began his professional career with the Washington, D. C. firm of Covington & Burling, where he practiced law from 1980 to 1993, becoming a partner in the firm in 1988. While at Covington & Burling, he was heavily involved in the firm's sports practice, and worked on a wide range of litigation, legislative, labor and other matters for the NFL and other clients in the firm. Mr. Pash has taught sports law as an Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University Law School, and as a lecturer at the University of Virginia Law School. He has also appeared on numerous programs sponsored by the American Bar Association, Practicing Law Institute, Sports Lawyers Association and other academic and professional organizations. Mr. Pash is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. He and his wife, Betsy, live in New York with their four children.
Throughout his career Harris has continuously sought to elevate legal academia, improve industry standard, and create a more sustainable economic foundation for esports teams and ancillary businesses. Harris is an attorney at ESG Law, the world's first esports specific law firm, where he represents roughly 70% of all tier 1 North American and European esports teams, as well as their non-endemic professional sports partners. At the esports league level, Harris has played a crucial role in redefining team governance and revenue sharing rights, having played a leading role in LCS, LEC, OWL and CDL league-team negotiations since 2016. Harris has drafted and negotiated several of the most notable team sponsorship deals with endemic and non-endemic partners such as PUMA, BMW, AT&T, Logitech, and Dr. Pepper, among others. In 2017 Harris revolutionized LCS team-legal strategies when he became the first attorney to file an EB-1A (US Green Card) application on behalf of an esports player and in turn helped that player acquire US residency so as to avoid being counted as a foreign import against Riot's team foreign import cap.
Since the start of 2018 Harris has led the esports academic community serving as Executive Director and Chairman of the Publications, Public Policy, and Membership Committees of the Esports Bar Association. Today the EBA has: over 200 attorney and student members, organized three esports legal conferences, distributed the first ever esports legal academic journal, and advised state legislatures on policies that will affect the esports business landscape. The EBA is primed to become a leading esports policy and academic organization in the United States. Harris is an adjunct professor at the University of New Hampshire School of Law where he lectures on esports gambling legal issues.
In 2016 Harris brokered the acquisition of H2K Gaming on behalf of US based investors. At the time, the acquisition was one of the largest in European esports history. After brokering the acquisition, Harris served as Chief of Operations and Associate General Counsel for H2K Gaming where he helped to assemble the famed H2K squad that finished third in the world at the 2016 League of Legends World Championships.
Pilgrim & Associates Law Offices
Jill Pilgrim is a respected business, sports and dispute resolution attorney. She is the founder and managing attorney of Pilgrim & Associates Law Offices, established in 1981. Ms. Pilgrim temporarily closed her firm from 1998-2009 while she served as general counsel for two Olympic and professional sports organizations. Consistent with her three decades of legal experience, Ms. Pilgrim's New York City-based practice serves clients in the for-profit and nonprofit business world, individuals and organizations involved in the sports and entertainment industries, and represents parties in mediation and arbitration.
O'Melveny & Myers LLP
Irwin Raij is Co-Chair of the Sports Industry Group at O'Melveny & Myers LLP. Irwin counsels clients on a wide range of sports business issues, including sports M&A, stadium development and media rights agreements in multiple leagues both in domestic and international transactions. He regularly represents owners and acquirers of professional sports teams, leagues, universities, and state governments. Most recently, he represented David Tepper in his US$2.275 billion acquisition of the NFL Carolina Panthers and Tepper Sports and Entertainment in its acquisition of Major League Soccer's 30th expansion team for the City of Charlotte, NC. Irwin led the team that represented Guggenheim Baseball Management in its historic acquisition of the Los Angeles Dodgers and currently is working in multiple sports facility projects including, but not limited to Miami, Tampa, Charlotte, and Hawaii.
The American Lawyer named Irwin to its prestigious 2019 "Dealmakers of the Year" list and Variety recognized him as a leading "Dealmaker" in its 2017 and 2018 Dealmakers Elite: New York feature. Law360 named Irwin a 2018 Sports MVP and in 2011, he was named to the Sports Business Journal 40 under 40 list. Irwin has also been recognized nationally for sports law in the 2014-2019 editions of Chambers USA and The Legal 500.
Irwin is an owner of the Oklahoma City Dodgers (MiLB), and the MLS Los Angeles Football Club (LAFC).
Barbara A. Reeves has been a full-time arbitrator, mediator and special master with JAMS since January 2006. She handles a broad spectrum of commercial arbitration, including intellectual property, trade secrets, sports and entertainment, and healthcare business disputes.
Barbara Reeves is an arbitrator on the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, Switzerland, a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and a Fellow and officer of the College of Commercial Arbitrators She is a certified mediator with the International Mediation Institute. She is also a certified e-discovery specialist. She received her J.D. cum laude from Harvard Law School.
Donald M. Remy
As chief operating officer, Remy is second-in-command behind the president, assuring smooth national office and governance functions and serving as primary liaison to the Association's highest governing body, the Board of Governors. He maintains and establishes policies that promote Association and national office culture and vision and ensures coordination of consistent and impactful communication strategies and messaging on behalf of the NCAA and its partners. Further, he designs and implements engagement strategies, plans and procedures for corporate partners and champions, as well as those involved in adjudicative systems, in a dynamic environment. Within the national office, Remy works with the president to set comprehensive goals for individual and unit performance and growth, evaluating performance by analyzing and interpreting data and metrics.
As chief legal officer, Remy oversees and guides effective legal, government relations and policy strategy. He guides key litigation and contract negotiations while building and maintaining productive relationships with local and national policymakers. He is involved in crafting and advocating appropriate data-driven policy positions on various issues including academics, amateurism, athletics competition and health and safety while ensuring his reporting departments are servicing and supporting student-athletes, the NCAA and member institutions.
During a career that spans more than three decades, award-winning New York Times columnist William C. Rhoden has been a jazz critic, sports columnist and social commentator. He has played college football at Yankee Stadium, accompanied a federal agent on an interdiction mission along the US-Mexican border, been a road manager for a jazz quintet and taken a 17 hour drive across Cuba.
Rhoden joined The New York Times in 1982 as an editor in the Week-In-Review section. A year later he moved to sports where he wrote about issues in high school and colleges. His assignment culminated in 1990 with a riveting, three-part front page series called "The Student Athlete on Campus," which described the complex relationship among colleges, college sports and college athletes. He has written "The Sports of the Times" column since 1990, and his work has been included in a number of anthologies including The Best American Sports Writing 2007. Rhoden is also a frequent guest on ESPN's long-running Sunday morning show, "The Sports Reporters."
In 1996 Rhoden won a Peabody Award for Broadcasting as a writer of the HBO documentary "Journey of the African American Athlete," and most recently, wrote the HBO documentary "Breaking the Huddle," about the integration of College Football, which won a 2009 Emmy® for outstanding Documentary Film. He has also written two critically acclaimed books, the New York Times bestseller, Forty Million Dollar Slaves and Third and A Mile: The Trials and Triumphs of The Black Quarterback.
Allison Rich has over 20 years of experience as an intercollegiate athletics administrator and sports lawyer. She has significant leadership and decision-making experience having served at the NCAA national office and at both large state and small private FBS, FCS and Division I institutions, and at those positions has been intimately involved in all areas of college athletics, both internally and externally. Rich is currently the Senior Associate Director of Athletics/Senior Woman Administrator (SWA) at her alma mater, Princeton University and serves on various conference and national committees, including the NCAA Division I Infractions Appeals Committee. She speaks regularly on college athletics and related legal and sports law issues, and is a member and President Elect of the Sports Lawyers Association Board of Directors.
Rich previously served as an Athletics Consultant with JMI Sports LLC and on her own, providing evaluation, planning, review, audit, strategic analysis and guidance to university athletic departments and intercollegiate conferences to help them meet their diverse and complex needs. She continues to provide independent college athletics consulting and speaking services.
Prior to working as a consultant, Rich was the Senior Associate Director of Athletics for External Affairs/SWA at Florida State University where she was responsible for all external functions of the department. During her tenure at FSU, the institution experienced significant growth and success in marketing, promotions, sponsorships and ticket sales, created a comprehensive social media presence, and developed both an outbound ticket sales staff and an advance group sales program.
Rich served as Deputy Director of Athletics/SWA at California State University, Fullerton, and before that held senior administrative positions at the University of the Pacific and the NCAA National Office. She earned her bachelor's degree at Princeton University, her Juris Doctorate at Chicago-Kent College of Law, and her Doctorate in Educational Administration at the University of the Pacific. She is a Sports Management Institute Executive Program graduate. Licensed to practice law in the State of Illinois and a qualified arbitrator from the State of Florida, Rich serves on the board of the National Sports Law Institute, and is also a member of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NADCA), Women Leaders in College Sports, and the American, Illinois and Chicago Bar Associations.
Former President of Bradley Univ., Dean Emeritus of Indiana Univ. McKinney school of Law. Antitrust & Sports Law Professor for 24 years at Tulane Law School. FAR at two universities for over 20 years. Former attorney for the NFL and NHL (in 1970s & 80s). CAS arbitrator.
Michele A. Roberts
National Basketball Players Association
Michele A. Roberts is the executive director of the National Basketball Players Association. She is the first woman to hold that position and the first woman to head a major professional sports union in North America. Previously she was an attorney with Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom.
Penn State Law
Professor of Law and Directory, Penn State Center for the Study of Sports in Society. Former law clerk to Ruth Bader Ginsburg, attorney for FTC, DOJ, Senate Judiciary Committee. Author of Adv Intro to Global Sports Law.
Nixon Peabody LLP
Irene is the Vice President of the Esports Bar Association and a labor and employment specialist and complex commercial litigator at Nixon Peabody. She launched and leads the firm's Esports and Gaming Industry Group, one of the first dedicated esports groups among AM100 firms. With 30 attorney specialists on the team, Nixon Peabody advises publishers, gaming, and esports companies on a variety of legal matters, from patent prosecution to IP litigation, gambling advice and counseling, labor and employment, and M&A transactions, among other areas. Irene regularly publishes and speaks on panels and is very active in the gaming community.
Oakhurst Legal Group
Sherrod D. Seward is a nationally respected immigration lawyer with a record of successful advocacy for some of the world's best athletes, entertainers, and business leaders. Before practicing law, Sherrod was an international trade finance consultant, specializing in global trade solutions from the Export-Import Bank of the United States.
Even while in law school, Sherrod was adamant about bringing his expertise and first-hand experience to the international sports community by managing several prominent mixed martial arts fighters. Sherrod advised on the careers of several athletes who became champions in the Ultimate Fighting Championships.
Sherrod's origins in international sports and entertainment stem from his elementary school days, where he played soccer with French-speaking foreign nationals at his public language immersion school (Kenwood in Columbus, OH – Go Koalas!). Since then, Sherrod has solved problems for athletes and sports professionals from around the world, including countries such as Kazakhstan, Brazil, South Africa, United Kingdom, Argentina, Australia, and more. He has obtained a P-1 visa for clients from every continent besides Antarctica.
Sherrod received his Bachelor's degree from Hampton University, where he played in the Drumline. He then attended law school at Cleveland-Marshall Law in Cleveland, Ohio, where he studied sports law under former IMG General Counsel and well-respected sports attorney, Peter Carfargna. Sherrod approaches his immigration practice with the same tenacity he applies to anything mixed martial arts or Cleveland sports affiliated. Since founding Oakhurst Legal Group, he has expanded his practice to serve not just athletes but all kinds of extraordinarily talented artists, performers, film industry professionals, and more.
Chair of the Sports Section of the American Bar Association's Forum on Entertainment and Sports, and named as a'Leading Entertainment and Sports Lawyer of the Next Generation,' Aalok is trusted by sports businesses and technology companies to provide counsel in matters relating to the future of sports, including esports, sports tech, legalized sports wagering and integrity.
Foley & Lardner
Bobby Sharma is a special adviser to the Sports & Entertainment Group at Foley & Lardner LLP. With nearly 20 years of sports, media, and entertainment industry experience, Bobby provides services to organizations, teams, leagues, and other stakeholders across all professional and amateur sports on a range of subjects, such as league development and governance, team sales and acquisitions, media, sponsorship, licensing, data use and privacy, and technology. His work includes a focus on the rapidly evolving business and legal issues in esports and its broad and complex range of stakeholders, including leagues and teams, game publishers, technology and software developers, investors, media distributors, sponsors, and merchandisers.
Bobby is founding partner of Electronic Sports Group (ESG), a market-leading esports advisory firm which helps investment and business leaders navigate and operate in the burgeoning billion-dollar esports industry. He is also a partner at GACP Sports, a sports-related private equity firm, and the chairman of Blue Devil Holdings, LLC, an international sports, media, and entertainment investment company.
Previously, Bobby served as a senior vice president of the Global Head of Basketball & Strategic Initiatives at IMG and as a vice president and general counsel at the NBA Development League at the National Basketball Association for almost a decade.
Global Sport Institute
Kenneth L. Shropshire – CEO, Global Sport Institute, adidas Distinguished Professor of Global Sport, Arizona State University; Professor Emeritus, Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.
Professor Shropshire is CEO of the Global Sport Institute and the adidas Distinguished Professor of Global Sport at Arizona State University. He recently closed out a thirty-year career as an endowed full professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, where he was also Director of the Wharton Sports Business Initiative, Professor of Africana Studies, and Academic Director of Wharton's sports-focused executive education programs. He now holds the title of Wharton Professor Emeritus. As an author, his books include: Sport Matters: Leadership, Power, and the Quest for Respect in Sports; Negotiate Like the Pros: A Top Sports Negotiator's Lessons for Making Deals, Building Relationships and Getting What You Want; and Being Sugar Ray: The Life of America's Greatest Boxer and First Celebrity Athlete. Additional works include the foundational books In Black and White: Race and Sports in America; The Business of Sports; and The Business of Sports Agents. His twelfth book is The Mis-Education of the Student Athlete: How to Fix College Sports, which was published last year. He graduated from Stanford in 1977 with a degree in economics and Columbia Law School in 1980. Before beginning his career in the academy he practiced law in Los Angeles and was an executive with the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee. He serves as a consultant to numerous sports entities.
Slane has over 12 years of experience working in the casino gaming industry. Most recently, she was the senior vice president of public affairs at the American Gaming Association (AGA). As a key industry strategist and spokesperson, Slane helped enhance the gaming industry's reputation and built favorable perceptions among critical stakeholders, including regulators, legislators, the media, and the broader public. Her messages were delivered across multiple platforms, including: testifying before Congress and state legislatures; conducting television and print interviews with major outlets such as CNBC, NBC, CBS, ABC, Fox, Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and The New York Times; and delivering remarks at high-visibility forums around the country.
Most recently, Slane managed the most important advocacy victory in AGA history, a campaign to overturn the federal ban on sports betting known as the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA). Slane was integral to planning the campaign's strategy and leading key aspects, including building alliances with sports leagues and policymakers; handling the association's day-to-day grassroots and communications efforts; and overseeing the development of original research that demonstrated the overwhelming support for legal, regulated sports betting among fans and quantified the economic opportunities for American businesses.
Slane's efforts culminated in the May 14, 2018 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court to deem PASPA unconstitutional and clear the way for the gaming industry to offer sports betting under state regulation. Because of her leadership role, Slane is touted as "the face of legalized sports betting" and deemed one of "the most important and influential voices in gaming".
Prior to joining AGA, Slane served as vice president of regional government affairs with MGM Resorts International where she spearheaded the largest gaming ballot initiative in the country. Her efforts led to a victory at the polls, the successful awarding of licensure to MGM National Harbor, and the building of the $1.4 billion gaming resort on the Potomac River.
Slane is the recipient of numerous awards, including Sports Business Journal's Forty under 40, Global Gaming Business Top 25 People to Watch, Gold Stevie Award for Best Communications campaign of 2018, Association TRENDS' Advocacy Campaign of the Year, and The Hill's Top Lobbyist in 2018.
Slane is a graduate of Ohio University and lives in the Washington, D.C. region with her two sons.
DeMaurice Fitzgerald Smith is the Executive Director of the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA). He was reappointed to his fourth term as Executive Director by the NFLPA’s Executive Committee in spring 2018.
On August 4, 2011, Smith signed a 10-year Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) with National Football League (NFL) management, leading the Players through the owners’ 132-day lockout. The NFLPA and NFL are currently in talks to prepare for the expiration of the current CBA at the end of the 2020 football season.
Prior to his post at the NFLPA, Smith was an Assistant United States Attorney in the District of Columbia and was Counsel to then-Deputy Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr. Smith served as a Partner in the law firms of Latham & Watkins, LLP and Squire Patton Boggs, LLP, in Washington, D.C. where he represented corporations, boards of directors and senior executives in civil and criminal matters.
Mr. Smith has helped raise several million dollars for cancer research as the Honorary Chairman of the Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center’s annual Gala, a position he has held since 2011. He is a sought-after motivational speaker for corporations, labor unions, and charities, and a guest lecturer and distinguished speaker on college campuses around the country on the topics of leadership, ethics, sports law, and high-stakes negotiation.
Smith, a native Washingtonian, resides in the Washington DC metropolitan area with his family.
The Ohio State University
Gene Smith is in his 15th year as director of athletics at The Ohio State University. He is widely recognized among the leaders of his profession and has been named "one of the most powerful people in collegiate sport." Smith was named the
Buckeyes' director of athletics March 5, 2005 and was elevated to senior vice president and Wolfe Foundation endowed athletics director in May of 2016.
Smith is the eighth person to hold the athletics director position at Ohio State. He previously served as director of athletics at Arizona State, Iowa State and Eastern Michigan universities and is entering his 32nd year in the role.
At Ohio State, Smith oversees the nation's most comprehensive and one of its most successful collegiate athletic programs. The department sponsors 36 fully-funded varsity sports with more than 1.000 student-athletes competing for Big Ten Conference and NCAA championships.
United States Anti-Doping Agency
Nadia is currently Legal Affairs & Investigations Counsel at the United States Anti-Doping Agency. Prior to joining USADA, Nadia worked at the Office of the Commissioner of Major League Baseball in various roles. She serves on the anti-doping committee of the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation and on the Governing Board of the National Council of Churches. Nadia is a Certified Fraud Examiner and is admitted to the bars of New York and New Jersey.
Debbie Spander is an accomplished sports and entertainment executive with multifaceted experience in business and law. She is a skilled negotiator who has closed over $2 billion in deals, with expertise in traditional and new media, distribution and branding.
Debbie joined Wasserman in 2012 to launch its broadcasting division. She currently serves as Senior Vice President of Media and Coaching, where she drives revenue representing high profile coaches, executives and broadcasters. Debbie prepares her clients to maximize post-playing careers and grows and monetizes their personal brands.
Debbie has strong relationships with key decision-makers throughout the NBA, college athletics and the media. A fierce advocate, she is skilled at protecting her clients' business and legal rights and getting them maximum value.
Kendall Spencer is a recent graduate of Georgetown University Law School where he was a Technology Law Scholar. As a legal professional he focuses on the changing digital landscape brought on by technology, and complex litigation matters within the world of sports. In addition to attending law school, he is training to compete in the 2021 Olympic Trials as a long-jumper with hopes of making the 2021 US Olympic team.
During his collegiate career, he won the national championship in the Long Jump, earning First Team All-American honors. Spencer became the first student-athlete to serve on the NCAA Division I Board of Directors in 2015 as part of the new NCAA governance structure. He served as chair of the National Student-Athlete Advisory Committee after joining National SAAC in 2013. His leadership within college athletics helped athletes successfully advocate for representation and voting power at all levels of the NCAA governance structure. He has led quarterly National SAAC meetings, established priority items and guides other leaders on discussions on legislation, health and safety issues and various student-athlete initiatives.
Since then, he's spoken to a variety of audiences on the intricacies of college athletics as they relate to student-athletes and the greater model of higher education. During his tenure, he helped National SAAC conduct the most comprehensive survey to date of current student-athletes on their overall experience in college. Spencer is a frequent speaker on college sports issues. Spencer was one of five experts to give testimony about name, image and likeness issues at the Senate Commerce Meeting on February 11, 2020. He gave a TED talk on "What we can learn from college athletes" on January 31, 2018 and continues to provide counsel for universities and leaders within the sports industry.
After law school, Spencer will use the lessons learned in college sports to serve the community through advocacy and build his legal career through technology, sports and policy. Spencer earned his bachelor's degree in Psychology with minors in Business and Sociology from the University of New Mexico.
Naima Stevenson Starks
Naima is the Managing Director of Academic & Membership Affairs / Deputy General Counsel for the NCAA and has been with the NCAA since May of 2006. Her responsibilities include management of litigation activities and providing counsel to various areas of the National Office and NCAA governance committees.
Prior to joining the NCAA, Naima was a Corporate and Securities Associate with the law firm of Arnold & Porter in Washington DC. While at Arnold & Porter, Naima advised a variety of corporations on the ever changing landscape in Securities regulations, assisted clients with raising equity in private equity transactions, and advised clients in various merger and acquisition transactions.
An experienced speaker and panelist, Naima has served as a panelist for the Sports Lawyers Association, National Association of College and University Attorneys, the Indiana Bar Association, and many colleges and universities.
Originally from Brooklyn New York, Naima is a graduate of the University of Maryland College Park, and received her law degree from Harvard Law School. Naima and her husband, Stephen Starks, are the proud parents of Aubrey Clinton and Ellery Grace Starks.
Jon Velie has practiced law for twenty-eight years and is internationally renowned in Immigration Law, Corporate Law and Litigation.
Jon has represented a World Series MVP, an NFL Pro Bowlers, Super Bowl participants, 3 Wimbledon Champions, an NHL All-Star, a first round NBA draft-picks, numerous national and professional teams and leagues, many Olympic Gold Medallists, and numerous World Champions and National Champions in a wide spectrum of sports and entertainment.
Jon is a number one Amazon Best Seller for his book, H1-B Visas Application & Approval. He has been a speaker at the SLA Annual Conference eleven times and at a number of SLA Outreach events. He sits on the SLA Diversity and International Committees and has also spoken before Congressional panels, at universities, companies, and SHRM.
Jon's firm and company have won a number of prestigious national and international awards spanning 20 years and was declared an innovator in the legal industry by the American Bar Association.
Jon has briefed three cases to the US Supreme Court, has been featured in numerous publications including the New York Times, LA Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Le Monde, and London Times, was featured on a segment of CBS 60 Minutes II and in the documentary By Blood.
Jon received his JD from the University of Oklahoma and BA from the University of California at Berkeley. He was also a three-time collegiate All-American and National Champion in rugby and was inducted into the Oklahoma Rugby and USA Maccabi Rugby Halls of Fame and is the Director of Oklahoma University Rugby.
Roy Vermeer is the Legal Director of FIFPRO, the world players' union in professional football. In that capacity, he provides legal advice to FIFPRO, individual players as well as the 65 domestic players' associations affiliated to FIFPRO. He also sits for FIFPRO in the FIFA Dispute Resolution Chamber and the FIFA Players' Status Committee.
Ross Wenzel is a Partner in the sports law group of Kellerhals Carrard. His practice is exclusively dedicated to sports law, with a focus on doping and football-related disputes. He is one of the most active advocates before the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) where he has successfully represented WADA, International Federations and National Anti-Doping Organisations and football clubs. He also advises a number of sports organisations with respect to their commercial programmes and governance issues.
Ross is described in Who's Who Legal as "the leading anti-doping lawyer in CAS cases", in Legal 500 as a "globally leading doping arbitration expert" and in Chambers and Partners as "one of the world's leading experts in doping disputes."
Maureen Weston is Professor of Law at Pepperdine University Caruso School of Law and Director of the Entertainment, Media & Sports Dispute Resolution Project. She received her JD from the University of Colorado, and BA in Economics/Political Science at the University of Denver. Professor Weston teaches courses on arbitration, mediation, negotiation, international dispute resolution, legal ethics, and U.S. and international sports law. She serves as Faculty Advisor to the Sports & Entertainment Law Society and Dispute Resolution Journal, and as coach for ICC Mediation Advocacy and Sports & Entertainment Law Negotiation competitions. Weston has taught law at the University of Oklahoma, University of Colorado, University of Las Vegas Nevada, Hamline, and in Oxford, England. Prior to teaching, Weston practiced law with Holme Roberts & Owen and Faegre & Benson in Colorado. She is actively involved in programs furthering opportunities for students to gain experience in negotiation, mediation and arbitration. Her committee service includes the ABA, Law School Division, Arbitration Competition, AALS Sports Law Executive Committee, and former chair of the ABA Dispute Resolution Education Committee and Representation in Mediation Competition. She is a member on the Boards of Directors at the University of Colorado School of Law Alumni Board, the National Sports Law Institute at Marquette School of Law, Malibu Little League, and Editorial Board of LawInSport. A frequent speaker at conferences, Weston is co-author of casebooks on sports law and arbitration and has written numerous articles in the area of Olympic and International Sports Arbitration, disability law, sports law, and dispute resolution.