Speakers

 

Jodi S. Balsam

Jodi S. Balsam
Brooklyn Law School

Jodi S. Balsam is 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 and Brooklyn Sports and Entertainment Law Blog. She also teaches the Sports Law course at NYU School of Law, and has taught the subject at New York Law School, University of New Hampshire School of Law, Bucerius Law School in Hamburg, Germany, and the MESGO Executive Masters Program in Global Sport Governance.

Professor Balsam frequently writes and speaks on sports law topics, including as co-author of Weiler’s Sports and the Law, a leading law school casebook in the field. Her publications and presentations have addressed antitrust challenges to sports leagues and organizing bodies, sports trademarks, athletes’ rights of free expression and name/image/likeness exploitation, sports gambling and integrity, sports league governance, and the role of the sports agent. She is on the editorial boards of Law360-Sports & Betting, 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.

Professor Balsam served on the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s Independent Resolution Panel, hearing complex infractions cases that implicate college athletics’ core values. She is the on-air Legal Analyst for NBC Sports/The Golf Channel, and frequently appears in the media on legal issues in sports, including ESPN, MSNBC, the New York Times, USA Today, and the Wall Street Journal.

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 the New York office of 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.


Hunter Bates

Hunter Batesy
Akin

Hunter is co-leader of Akin’s lobbying & public policy practice, bringing more than 20 years of law, policy and advocacy experience to his client work. Hunter combines his extensive knowledge of policy and process with his strong relationships with key players to provide strategic advice and advocacy on behalf of a wide range of clients, including Fortune 100 companies, trade associations and coalitions and nonprofit organizations.

With an illustrious background serving on Capitol Hill as Chief of Staff and Legal Counsel to current Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Hunter brings to his client engagements a deep understanding of the intricacies of the legislative process and extensive experience working with members of the Senate and House on wide-ranging issues such as appropriations, agriculture, health care, tax and civil justice reform. During his time as Chief Counsel of the Senate Rules Committee, Hunter also advised Sen. McConnell on ethics and campaign finance issues.

Repeatedly named among the country’s “Top Lobbyists” by The Hill, Hunter’s ability to mobilize support and drive meaningful policy outcomes is a testament to his unwavering commitment to achieving tangible results for his clients. His dedication to excellence and commitment to his clients’ success are a testament to his sterling reputation as a sought-after advocate and resource.


Scott Bearby

Scott Bearby
National Collegiate Athletic Association

Scott Bearby serves as senior vice president and general counsel for the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). He has been general counsel since January 2013 after serving in various legal positions at the national headquarters. He has been a lawyer for the Association for 25 years.

As general counsel, Scott has day-to-day management of the NCAA Office of Legal Affairs and its staff. The department handles legal responsibilities for the national association, supporting its governance and sport committees, 90 championships, and its national office staff assisting the membership and student-athletes. The Office of Legal Affairs also manages litigation involving the national association. Scott also oversees the NCAA Hearing Operations function.

Prior to becoming senior vice president and general counsel, Scott spent much of his career at the NCAA focusing on media, intellectual property, and championship matters. He was lead NCAA inside counsel for all of the NCAA's television, digital and other multi-media agreements for the Division I Men's Basketball Championship and other NCAA championships since 1999.

In 2023, Scott was appointed as an arbitrator within the Court of Arbitration of Sport (CAS), the international and Olympic sport dispute resolution organization. Scott has been an adjunct faculty member at both Indiana University McKinney School of Law and Indiana University Maurer School of Law. He is a member of the Indiana Sports Corporation Executive Committee and Board.

Scott graduated from the University of Notre Dame and received his J.D. from the Indiana University Maurer School of Law (Bloomington).


Jill Bodensteiner

Jill Bodensteiner
Saint Joseph's University

Jill Bodensteiner is in her sixth year as Director of Athletics at Saint Joseph’s University in 2023-24, leading the Hawks’ 480 student-athletes who compete in 20 NCAA Division I sports and the Campus Recreation Department. During her time on Hawk Hill, Bodensteiner has helped St. Joe’s develop a holistic approach to college athletics with a comprehensive focus on the field, in the classroom, on campus, and as an industry leader. Under her guidance, Bodensteiner has built a foundation that has led to competitive excellence. Bodensteiner joined the Hawks after a 20-year career at her alma mater, the University of Notre Dame. After spending her first 10 years as an attorney in the Office of the General Counsel, Bodensteiner moved into Notre Dame Athletics in July 2009. Bodensteiner has provided significant leadership within intercollegiate athletics. She is currently a member of three NCAA committees: the Division I Women’s Basketball Committee, the Committee on Academics and the Name, Image and Likeness Working Group. Originally from Valparaiso, Indiana, Bodensteiner received her undergraduate degree and her MBA from Notre Dame, and her JD from Washington University in St. Louis.


Matt Carpenter-Dennis

Matt Carpenter-Dennis
Vice President & Assistant General Counsel, National Basketball Association

As Vice President and Assistant General Counsel of the NBA, Matt Carpenter-Dennis is responsible for overseeing NBA team ownership transactions, capital structuring, arena financings, and arena lease negotiations.  In this role, Carpenter-Dennis is also responsible for managing the legal affairs of the NBA’s strategic and corporate development initiatives, including the establishment of the Basketball Africa League and NBA 2K League, and the formation of the NBA’s venture capital arm, NBA Equity.  Carpenter-Dennis serves as Secretary for NBA Africa, the NBA Foundation and the National Basketball Social Justice Coalition.

Carpenter-Dennis currently serves on the Merrimack College board of trustees and is co-chair of the New York City Bar Association’s Sports Law Corporate Sub-Committee.  Before joining the NBA in 2016, Carpenter-Dennis was associated with the law firm of Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton LLP in New York and London, where he was a member of the corporate and private funds practice groups.

Carpenter-Dennis is a graduate of Columbia University and Harvard Law School, where he served as an editor of the Harvard International Law Journal.  Carpenter-Dennis currently resides in Brooklyn with his wife and two children.


Summer Comstock

Summer Comstock
Arizona Diamondbacks

Summer Comstock joined the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2017 as a coach with the Arizona Diamondbacks Baseball Academy and currently serves as the Associate General Counsel. She advises on legal and business matters pertaining to the Diamondbacks, Arizona Diamondbacks Events and Entertainment, and Chase Field. Prior to joining the Diamondbacks, Summer was a personal baseball coach for the actresses of the League of Their Own Amazon Prime Video series and worked in A & R and Legal Affairs for Big Machine Label Group and Fervor Records.


Mike Costa

Mike Costa
Google LLC

Mike Costa is a Senior Counsel at YouTube leading the Global Media Partnerships legal team. Mike focuses on complex commercial matters and YouTube's partnerships with major media companies and sports leagues. Prior to YouTube, he served a similar role with Google Fiber, and before that he was in-house legal counsel in Comcast's Content Acquisition department. Since joining YouTube, Mike helped close notable deals with the NBA for YouTube TV's first presenting sponsorship of the NBA Finals as well as the groundbreaking deal with the NFL for residential distribution of NFL Sunday Ticket. A graduate of Temple University's Beasley School of Law, when he's not watching sports or movies "for work", he's spending time with his family exploring their new D.C. area surroundings.


William L. Daly
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 current identity on the global sports landscape. In his present role, Mr. Daly is the chief consultant to Commissioner Bettman on every topic impacting the League and the League’s business. Principal among his duties is negotiating and administering the League’s Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBA) with the NHL Players’ Association (NHLPA) and with the NHL Officials’ Association (NHLOA). In 2004-05, and again in 2012-13 and2019-20, Mr. Daly was the League’s lead negotiator in CBA negotiations with the NHLPA. The most recent negotiation, which was conducted principally during the COVID pandemic, culminated in a four-year extension to the NHL/NHLPA CBA which ensures the NHL ongoing labor peace through the 2025-26 NHL season. Due in large part to the economic framework initially established in 2005, and since maintained and fine-tuned in collective bargaining, the NHL has experienced unprecedented competitive balance and record revenue growth, and has achieved previously unparalleled levels in terms of the popularity and financial strength and stability of the game. In addition, Mr. Daly is the principal liaison and caretaker for the NHL’s relationship with the international hockey community. He oversees the NHL’s participation in all international hockey competitions, including the Olympics, the World Cup of Hockey, the IIHF World Hockey Championships, the NHL Global Series and the NHL China Games. Mr. Daly also interfaces regularly with the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) and its member national associations in Europe and in that connection is responsible for negotiating and administering the NHL’s Player Transfer Agreements with nearly all of the major European Ice Hockey Federations. Pursuant to those Agreements, the NHL and its Member Clubs provide financial support for elite Player Development outside North America in return for the right to access and transfer internationally trained Players to North America to play in the NHL. Mr. Daly is also the League’s principal liaison with the NHL Alumni Association; the American Hockey League and ECHL; Hockey Canada and the Canadian Hockey League; USA Hockey and the USHL; and NCAA College Hockey, including the various college hockey conferences and College Hockey, Inc. In that role, Mr. Daly has been principally responsible for negotiating and administering the necessary working agreements related to each of those relationships. Mr. Daly serves as President of the NHL Foundation – the organization responsible for administering and directing charitable dollars and initiatives for the League and its Clubs – and also serves on the Board for the NHL Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund. Mr. Daly also represents the NHL on the Board of Directors for the Hockey Hall of Fame and the Board of Directors for USA Hockey. Beyond his duties with the NHL, Mr. Daly serves as a board member for the Sports Lawyers Association and has also served on the board for the Sports Development Corporation of the City of New York, and the Sports Law and Antitrust Law Committees of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York. Mr. Daly regularly lectures on, and has authored a number of articles addressing, legal issues relating to professional sports. Prior to accepting a position with the NHL on December 13, 1996, Mr. Daly spent six years as an attorney with the New York law firm of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, LLP. His focus while at Skadden was litigation, antitrust and labor issues relating to professional sports. During his tenure at Skadden, Mr. Daly represented, among other clients, the National Football League, the National Basketball Association and the National Hockey League on a variety of legal and collective bargaining matters. Mr. Daly, 59, is a graduate of Dartmouth College, where he played varsity football, and the New York University School of Law. He is married to his wife Gloria and has three children, Taylor, Brendan and Liam. Mr. Daly is a life-long resident of New Jersey and currently resides in Montville, NJ. Mr. Daly is a passionate and life-long fan of the NFL’s Miami Dolphins.


CJ Davis

CJ Davis
PUMA

Hoyt "CJ" Davis III serves as Deputy General Counsel, Head of Sports Business & Legal Affairs for PUMA North America and Cobra PUMA Golf. His responsibilities are centered on managing PUMA and Cobra Golf's domestic, as well as global sports, licensing, marketing, and entertainment –based legal issues and business affairs in addition to various other corporate legal issues relating to intellectual property, product development, sales, and employment matters. CJ previously spent worked for Kering Americas, Inc. While at Kering he represented Kering's portfolio of brands in both their Sportlifestyle and Luxury divisions including Gucci, Saint Laurent, Balenciaga, Bottega Veneta, PUMA, Volcom, and Electric Visual amongst others. He represents PUMA, and the sporting goods industry, as Vice-Chair of the Athletics Committee and serves on the Committee on International Sports Organizations for the World Federation of the Sporting Goods Industry. In addition, he serves on the Board of Directors for the Sports Lawyers Association.


Ren Q. Dawe

Ren Q. Dawe
You Can Play Project

Ren Q. Dawe (he/they) is a trans whitewater athlete, LGBTQ+ activist, and nationally touring entertainer. Serving as the You Can Play Project's Education Director, Ren has worked in higher education and policy development for 5 years, and has a decade of project management experience with organizations such as NPR, edX, and universities all over the world.


N. Jeremi Duru

N. Jeremi Duru
American University, Washington College of Law

Professor N. Jeremi Duru teaches several sports law courses as well as civil procedure, and he is among the nation’s foremost sports law authorities. He is a co-author of one of the field’s premier casebooks, Sports Law and Regulation: Cases and Materials (5th edition) (Wolters Kluwer), as well as one of the field’s premier explorations of sports agency, The Business of Sports Agents (3rd edition) (U. of Penn Press). In addition, he is the sole author of Advancing the Ball: Race, Reformation, and the Quest for Equal Coaching Opportunity in the NFL (Oxford University Press), which examines the NFL’s movement toward increased equality of opportunity for coaches and front office personnel.

Professor Duru is active in the national sports law community. Among other appointments, he serves on the Board of Directors for the Sports Lawyers Association and for the Fritz Pollard Alliance of coaches, scouts and executives of color in the National Football League, the National Sports Law Institute’s Board of Advisors, and the LawInSport Editorial Board. He has also served as a member of the NCAA’s Committees on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sport and the United States Anti-Doping Agency’s Anti-Doping Review Board.

Professor Duru has a particular interest in sport’s impact on society, with a principle focus on racial and gender dynamics. He has conducted research and delivered lectures on these topics throughout the United States as well as abroad, including as: a Fulbright Fellow at Faculdades Integradas Helio Alonso in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; a Parsons Visitor at the University of Sydney in Sydney, Australia; and a Visiting Professor at the China University of Political Science and Law in Beijing, China. In addition, Professor Duru remains active in practice. He has represented sports industry professionals in employment matters involving the National Football League, the National Basketball Association, and Major League Baseball. He has also represented collegiate student-athletes – most notably in McAdoo v. University of North Carolina – serving as counsel to plaintiffs suing the university with respect to its nearly two decades-long academic fraud scandal.

Professor Duru is widely recognized for his excellence as both an advocate and a teacher. He has received the National Bar Association’s Sports and Entertainment Lawyer of the Year Award as well as the American University Faculty Award for Outstanding Teaching and the Washington College of Law Award for Excellence in Teaching. In addition, before joining the WCL faculty, while teaching at Temple Law School, Professor Duru received Temple’s George P. Williams Outstanding Law Professor of the Year Award.

Professor Duru received his undergraduate education at Brown University and then completed a joint-degree program at Harvard University, receiving a Master’s degree in Public Policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government and a Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School. Upon graduation, Professor Duru served as a law clerk to the Honorable Damon J. Keith of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.

Professor Duru is a frequent media contributor and has provided commentary for numerous media outlets, including CNN, BBC, NBC, Fox, ESPN, NPR, The New York Times, and The Washington Post.

 

Curtis Franks

Curtis Franks
FIFA

Curtis Franks is the General Counsel, FIFA World Cup at FIFA. Curtis joined FIFA in August 2023 and leads the legal department dedicated to the FIFA World Cup and FIFA Club World Cup Tournaments across the United States, Mexico and Canada. Curtis handles all corporate, governance and compliance matters, and serves as the primary legal advisor to executive management in the planning and delivery of the Tournaments.


Brook Gardiner

Brook Gardiner
Major League Soccer, L.L.C.

Brook Gardiner was named General Counsel for MLS NEXT Pro in April 2022. In his role, Gardiner is responsible for all legal matters, including league governance and expansion and commercial and player policies. This year he has expanded his responsibilities to also include the title of Senior Vice President, Labor Strategy for Major League Soccer.

Gardiner’s current roles continue his legal career in sports and entertainment. He joined MLS and MLS NEXT Pro from NBCUniversal Media LLC, where he was Vice President, Labor Relations. There, Gardiner oversaw labor strategy for the NBC Sports Group, including Sunday Night Football, Olympics, Triple Crown, Premier League, NASCAR, and Golf, and the major market NBC and Telemundo stations.

Prior to NBCU, Gardiner spent 13 years as a lawyer with the National Football League, focused on labor relations. In his position with the NFL, he handled player-related arbitrations and provided labor law advice, including during the 2011 NFL work stoppage. He began his career as an associate at the Washington DC law firm Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer and Feld LLP.

Gardiner received his undergraduate degree from Princeton University and his law degree from NYU School of Law, where he won the Larry Fleisher Memorial Foundation Prize for extraordinary achievement in the area of sports and entertainment law.


Jeffrey B. Gewirtz

Jeffrey B. Gewirtz
BSE Global / Brooklyn Nets

Jeff Gewirtz is the Executive Vice President, Business Affairs and Chief Legal Officer of BSE Global (BSE), a role he also held from 2010 through 2020. In 2021 he served as BSE’s Chief Operating Officer, where he led the efforts around re-opening Barclays Center in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and had general oversight for arena operations and its health and safety protocols. Gewirtz joined BSE in May 2007 as Senior Vice President and General Counsel.

Gewirtz advises BSE’s ownership and his executive management colleagues on key business and legal matters for BSE’s holdings, including the Brooklyn Nets, Barclays Center, the New York Liberty, BSE Enterprises, the NBA G League’s Long Island Nets, the NBA 2K League’s NetsGC, and, through 2019, Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum and Webster Hall. Gewirtz also works closely with Barclays Center management on live event concert, family entertainment, and sports programming alliances, and he previously had oversight of BSE’s government relations function. 

Gewirtz was a key member of the negotiating team for BSE’s most significant commercial initiatives over the past several years, such as: the 2012 relocation of the New Jersey Nets to Brooklyn; development of the $1 billion Barclays Center; the 2015 relocation of the New York Islanders to Barclays Center and oversight of all legal affairs for the Islanders’ business operations through 2019; Nets and Barclays Center ownership transfer transactions in 2010, 2016, 2018, and 2019; the lease acquisition for and re-development of Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum; development of the Brooklyn Nets’ state-of-the-art practice facility, the HSS Training Center; acquisition of the Webster Hall business; and the Brooklyn Nets’ media rights alliance with YES Network.

Gewirtz was named to the 2019 United States GC Powerlist by The Legal 500 and in 2015 his legal department was named one of the top 50 in-house legal departments in the United States by The Legal 500. In addition, Gewirtz was named 2014 Sports Counsel of the Year by the Association of Media & Entertainment Counsel, and in 2009 Gewirtz was selected to the prestigious “Forty Under 40” by Sports Business Journal as one of the 40 top sports executives under the age of 40 in the United States. Gewirtz is a Board of Directors emeritus member of the Sports Lawyers Association, and he is a past Sports Committee Chair of the American Bar Association’s Forum on the Entertainment and Sports Industries. In 2017 he was appointed to the Board of Directors of Access Justice Brooklyn. Gewirtz sits on the Governance Committee and Nominating Committee of USA Climbing, and he previously served as pro bono General Counsel to the Eastern Section of the United States Tennis Association (USTA).

Prior to BSE, Gewirtz served as the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) General Counsel and its Chief Legal & Government Affairs Officer where he was responsible for all USOC legal matters, as well as the USOC’s government relations activities with Congress and federal government agencies. Gewirtz has also held positions with: The Coca-Cola Company’s Corporate Legal Division – as Global Marketing Counsel – where he negotiated many of Coca-Cola’s most significant sports industry transactions such as its $500 million+ NCAA Corporate Champion sponsorship and media alliance with CBS Sports (as a secondment, he also served as Corporate Counsel for the Coca-Cola Southeast & West Asia Division, based in Bangkok, Thailand); IOC Television & Marketing Services SA – as Director of Legal Affairs – where he served as lead counsel for the International Olympic Committee’s global sponsorship Olympic Partner (“TOP”) Program, primarily in connection with the 2002 Salt Lake Olympic Winter Games and 2004 Athens Olympic Games; the LPGA Tour as General Counsel; and the WTA Tour. He began his legal career as a corporate associate at the New York City law firm of Dunnington, Bartholow & Miller LLP, where he worked on matters for the firm’s global advertising industry clients, along with sports industry clients such as the USTA and the USOC.

A native of Baldwin Harbour, New York, Gewirtz is a graduate of Tufts University, where he was a four-year member and Captain of the Tufts Varsity Tennis Team his senior year, as well as a member of its New England Championship team. In 2016 he was appointed to the Tufts Athletics Board of Advisors. Gewirtz received his law degree from Brooklyn Law School, where he was the recipient of a three-year merit scholarship, from which he is a two-time recipient of its Alumni Achievement Award in Sports Law, and at which he previously served as an Adjunct Professor of Sports Law.

Gewirtz is married to Brooke Raphael, who is Vice President of Strategy & Operations for Promontory Therapeutics. They have two children.


Michael Goldsholl

Michael Goldsholl
WNBPA

Michael Goldsholl is the Director of Operations for Business & Legal Affairs at the Women's National Basketball Players Association (WNBPA), where he has worked since joining as a legal intern in 2015. Representing the Players, Michael helped negotiate the groundbreaking 2020 WNBA-WNBPA Collective Bargaining Agreement. In 2021, Michael was named to The Athletic's 40 Under 40: Rising Stars in Women's Basketball. He earned his J.D. from Brooklyn Law School in 2017 and his undergraduate degree from Loyola Marymount University in 2013. Michael is originally from Santa Barbara, CA, but now calls NYC home, having lived there for the last decade.


Brett Goodman

Brett Goodman
NBC Sports

Brett Goodman serves as General Counsel for the NBC Sports Group. In this capacity, he manages a group of 16 lawyers and other personnel responsible for all legal matters related to each of NBCUniversal’s sports-related businesses and platforms, including the NBC Television Network, Peacock, NBC Olympics, Golf Channel, GolfNow, SportsEngine, Telemundo Deportes, and a number of regional sports networks located throughout the United States.

Among other things, Goodman negotiates long-term rights deals with a variety of important sports organizations. He has served as lead drafter of NBC’s multiple winning Olympic rights bids and on numerous occasions has led NBC’s legal team in groundbreaking negotiations with the National Football League. In addition, Goodman has negotiated agreements with the National Hockey League, NASCAR, PGA Tour, PGA of America, The R&A, FIFA, Premier League, the University of Notre Dame, and other high-profile properties. He also has handled talent negotiations and other contract and licensing work, along with intellectual property, regulatory, litigation and insurance matters. Goodman is among NBC’s key liaisons to the International Olympic Committee, United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee, the Los Angeles Organizing Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games 2028, and many domestic Olympic-sport national governing bodies.

Goodman first was employed by NBC after college, when he won an Emmy award as a researcher on the company’s exhibition of the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona. Working with dozens of broadcasters, producers and directors, Goodman compiled statistics and information and helped write for Bob Costas, Katie Couric, Dick Enberg and others.

Goodman has volunteered his time for many years with the Women’s Sports Foundation and is a member of the WSF’s Board of Trustees. He also is a board member for the Lindsey Vonn Foundation and is actively involved with Cycle For Survival, the nationwide movement to battle rare cancers associated with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and founded by his sister Jennifer Goodman Linn.

Prior to re-joining NBC in 2000, Goodman was an intellectual property associate at New York’s Dewey Ballantine LLP, where he handled both litigation and transactional matters in the fields of trademark, copyright, patent and internet law for the firm’s international and domestic clients.

Goodman graduated from Princeton University in 1990 and is a 1995 graduate of Columbia University Law School.


Peter Goplerud

Peter Goplerud
Spencer Fane LLP

With a focus on higher education and sports law, Peter is a frequent lecturer and is widely published in the sports law area, including serving as co-author on one of the leading textbooks on the subject. He has also extensive accreditation experience, particularly within legal education, having served as chair of numerous ABA Site Evaluation teams.

Peter has been a consultant in sports law and higher education and previously served as Of Counsel to law firms in Denver, Colorado; Tulsa, Oklahoma; St. Louis, Missouri; and Edmond, Oklahoma, as well as providing service as an expert witness prior to joining Spencer Fane. Peter was actively involved in the representation of professional athletes in team and individual sports during the 1980s and 1990s. He also has experience with coaches’ contracts, and NCAA matters, including Name, Image, & Likeness (NIL) issues, athlete eligibility issues, compliance matters, and NCAA membership. He has significant strategic planning experience and has also served on a special investigation team at a Big 10 institution.

He has been a law professor at eight law schools and has served as dean of four of those schools. He has been a part of the Board of Directors of the Sports Lawyers Association since 1997.


Christopher Harrington
DraftKings Inc.

Christopher Harrington is Senior Corporate Counsel at DraftKings, serving the commercial transactions team. Prior to joining DraftKings two (2) years ago, Christopher was Association General Counsel of the Rock Entertainment Group (REG) in Cleveland, Ohio for seven (7) NBA seasons. REG's properties include the Cleveland Cavaliers, Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, Cleveland Monsters, Cleveland Charge, and Cavs Legion GC. Prior to joining REG, Christopher worked at BSE Global in Brooklyn, New York for three (3) years as Staff Counsel. BSE Global's properties during Christopher's tenure include the Brooklyn Nets, Barclays Center, New York Islanders, and the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum renovation project. During law school, Christopher was a summer associate at the Madison Square Garden Company, teams and sports operations, which included the New York Knicks, New York Rangers, and New York Liberty. Christopher is a graduate of Cleveland-Marshall College of Law and Albion College.


Russel Hedman

Russel Hedman
Hogan Lovells

Russell Hedman leads and negotiates complex M&A and investment transactions around the world, with a particular focus on sports teams and private equity. Russell's combination of experience and enthusiasm has made him a trusted advisor to clients across industries. Russell’s notable sports team transactions include leading the acquisition of the Denver Broncos for the Walton-Penner ownership group, the buyout and subsequent sale of the Brooklyn Nets and the Barclays Center for Onexim Sports & Entertainment Holdings, and the 2021 recapitalization of the San Antonio Spurs.


Aaron Hernandez

Aaron Hernandez
Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law

In Summer 2023, the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law named Aaron Hernandez the Assistant Dean and Executive Director of the Allan “Bud” Selig Sports Law and Business Program at Arizona State University. As Executive 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. 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.


Alanna Frisby Hernandez

Alanna Frisby Hernandez
Wasserman

Alanna Frisby Hernandez is the Executive Vice President, Business Affairs and Operations of Wasserman’s Team Sports division where she manages the legal and day-to-day operations of the group. In this role, Alanna has negotiated and finalized a variety of agreements, including employment, endorsement, sponsorship, content development and appearance contracts for Wasserman’s women’s sports group, as well as baseball, basketball, hockey, soccer, coaches and executives, media, Olympic, creator and NIL clients. Alanna is also charged with educating and informing the entire talent practice on important legal issues and industry trends, including the application of various Olympic rules, NIL, NFTs, AI and inclusion riders in talent agreements. Alanna also manages Wasserman’s M&A transactions relating to the Talent Representation practice and has been intimately involved in the growth of the business over the last 11 years. Alanna works closely with The Collective, a division of Wasserman dedicated to creating change in support of equity and fairness for women in sports and entertainment. Alanna was a founding member of Wasserman’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Council, and previously served as a co-leader of the women’s DE&I subcommittee, which is dedicated to promoting and supporting women at Wasserman and within the industry as a whole.

Alanna began her legal career at Weil, Gotshal & Manges in their Complex Commercial Litigation department. She received her bachelor’s degree from UCLA and her JD from Columbia Law School.


Pearlynn Houck

Pearlynn Houck
ACC

Pearlynn Houck serves as the ACC’s General Counsel.

Prior to joining the ACC in 2023, Houck was a litigation shareholder at Robinson Bradshaw in Charlotte. During her 17-year career at the firm, she practiced in the areas of litigation, government and internal investigations, education, and sports law.

Houck serves as a member of the ACC’s Executive Staff, playing a leadership role in setting the strategic vision of the Conference. She is responsible for Conference legal matters and risk management, while managing all litigation and other claims involving the ACC. Houck provides legal consultation to the ACC Board of Directors, Executive Committee, Advisory Committees, Conference committees and service groups and is the primary point of contact for the Conference’s institutional General Counsels.

Houck has been widely recognized during her career, including being named to The Best Lawyers in America’s 2020-2023 edition for commercial litigation and as a North Carolina Super Lawyer since 2013. In 2015, Houck received a Forty Under 40 award from Charlotte Business Journal and in 2020 was named one of The Mecklenburg Times’ 50 Most Influential Women. In 2021, the Sports Business Journal included her as an Outside Counsel Power Player.

A native of Montana, Houck received her undergraduate degree with high honors from the University of Montana and Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School and clerked for the Honorable N. Carlton Tilley Jr. in the Middle District of North Carolina.

 

Kelly Jones

Kelly Jones
Under Armour, Inc.

Kelly Jones serves as Senior Counsel, Marketing, Sports, & Entertainment at Under Armour. She structures and negotiates a broad range of marketing agreements with athletes, celebrities, musicians, and influencers and provides strategic legal and business counsel to her business clients. Prior to working at Under Armour, Kelly spent six years in-house at Octagon, providing similar transactional and marketing support for Octagon-represented athletes, celebrities, and entertainers. Kelly received her BA from Bucknell University where she was a four-year varsity athlete, and her JD from The George Washington University School of Law.


Jill Kelley

Jill Kelley
New York Jets

Jill Kelley is the General Counsel for the New York Jets and is responsible for the Club’s legal and compliance functions. Prior to the Jets, Kelley was General Counsel of PointsBet, where she was the general counsel for all U.S. sports book operations. She previously served as senior counsel for the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation and their Foxwoods Resort Casino, one of the world’s largest resort casino hotel properties. Kelley began her legal career as an international tax attorney for 10 years, with London law firm Withers LLP and PricewaterhouseCoopers. She has also served as an Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of Connecticut School of Law.


Phaidra Knight

Phaidra Knight

Phaidra Knight is an athlete, sports media talent, philanthropist, fashion designer, and business entrepreneur. For nearly 18 years, she traveled the globe as a professional rugby player. In 2010 she was named the US Rugby Player of the Decade. She became the first and only black American inducted into both the World Rugby and USA Rugby Halls of Fame in 2017 and 2021 respectively. She is on the Board of Directors for USA Rugby and the Board of Trustees for the Women's Sports Foundation (WSF). She also served as the WSF President for 2021. Phaidra is a keynote speaker and has an expansive television dimension, having worked with ESPN, NBC Sports, CBS Sports, World Rugby, FloSports, and USA Rugby TV. She was on the NBC Universal 2020 Tokyo Olympics broadcasting team and covered women's sevens rugby games. She was featured with the Oscar Award winning Halle Berry in Halle's directorial debut "Bruised" released in 2021. She is currently training as a mixed martial artist at the Renzo Gracie Academy in New York City to become a professional fighter. In 2021, she made her debuts in Muay Thai Kickboxing and MMA. Phaidra is the current Bantamweight Champion for Cage Wars MMA Promotion. Her current record is MMA (6-0) and Muay Thai (1-0).

Phaidra founded PeaK Unleashed in 2019, a non-profit organization dedicated to the personal and physical development of marginalized youth through educational support, rugby and yoga, particularly those of incarcerated and exploited populations. In 2020, she launched a clothing line, the PSK Collective, a fusion of active and streetwear. The brand is dedicated to supporting the empowerment of girls and women in sports and advancement of women's equity.


Eleanor M. Lackman

Eleanor M. Lackman
Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp LLP

Eleanor M. Lackman is a trusted advisor and nationally recognized leader in copyright, trademark, and media, entertainment, and sports law, and a recent recipient of an MBA degree with a certificate in entertainment, media and sports. Among other recognition by industry publications such as Billboard and Variety, Eleanor has been ranked as a leading lawyer by the prestigious Chambers USA for copyright and trademark law every year since 2014, including a "Band 1" ranking in 2022 and 2023, and she has repeatedly been named one of the top 100 lawyers and top 50 women lawyers in the New York metro area by Super Lawyers. Her clients include leading names in the media, entertainment, sports and games, e-commerce, fashion, technology, and consumer goods industries. Eleanor practices in New York and California and has been admitted in cases in several other states across the country.

Eleanor handles litigation and counseling in the copyright and trademark fields, ranging from litigating some of the most closely watched cases in IP, to drafting amicus briefs to the Supreme Court of the United States, to advising on global brand filing, strategy, and enforcement. She also is a past officer and committee chair with the Copyright Society, a longstanding committee member at INTA, a recent co-chair of the Sports Law Committee of the New York City Bar Association, and a Board member for Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts (NY) and Fordham Law School's Center on Law and Information Policy.


Krista Larson

Krista Larson
Stinson LLP

Krista Larson serves as the Director of Well-Being at Stinson LLP. In this role, Krista leads the implementation of Stinson's vision, strategy, and programming to support the health and well-being of all constituents in alignment with the firm's values and the ABA Well-Being Pledge.

Krista holds a Masters of Applied Positive Psychology degree from University of Pennsylvania where she studied the science of human flourishing under the founder of the field, Dr. Martin Seligman. She has a proven track record of success in the lawyer well-being area and is passionate about leveraging Positive Psychology to help all members of the legal industry thrive.


Christine G. Lazatin

Christine G. Lazatin
Partner

Christine G. Lazatin is a partner in the Corporate Department.

Christine is one of the nation’s leading sports finance attorneys, advising professional sports teams, leagues and owners, corporate borrowers and financial institutions on many of the industry’s most critical and complex financings.

Christine regularly represents several major sports leagues (including the National Basketball Association, the National Hockey League and Major League Soccer), as well as a number of NBA, NHL, National Football League and Major League Baseball teams, in connection with acquisition and stadium financings, working capital facilities, league-wide and league-level credit facilities, workouts and restructurings. She has also represented financial institutions in structuring financings for teams and team affiliates.

Over the past several years, Christine has worked on the deals that are at the cutting edge of the business of sports. As the industry grappled with the disruption caused by COVID-19, she advised numerous leagues, teams and other clients on financings to address their short- and long-term liquidity needs.

In addition to her financing work, Christine represents sports clients on a full range of corporate matters, including many expansion and ownership transactions for the NHL, the NBA and MLS. Recently, she advised MLS in launching an affiliated Division III professional men’s outdoor league known as “MLS Next Pro” and continues to advise the new league on governance and expansion matters.

Christine has been recognized as an elite lawyer by a variety of sports and legal publications. She was named a “Game Changer” by Sports Business Journal in 2022, and she is one of only four women ranked by Chambers USA in the Sports Law category.

Some examples of Christine’s work include:

  • Representing the NBA with respect to its $5.5 billion league-wide team facilities
  • Representing Soccer United Marketing, an affiliate of MLS, in its $25 million financing with a syndicate of Black-owned banks organized by the National Black Bank Foundation, the first major commercial deal in which a U.S. sports league transacted exclusively with Black-owned banks
  • Representing two major sports leagues in upsizing and extending their league level financings ($900 million and $575 million, respectively)
  • Representing JPMorgan as agent in credit facilities for the Chicago Cubs, the New York Mets, the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Tampa Bay Rays
  • Representing the Philadelphia Eagles in financing the team’s renovation of Lincoln Financial Field
  • Representing a global financial institution in upsizing and extending a $230 million line of credit for the largest minority owner of an MLB club
  • Representing an MLB club in an aggregate $350 million term loan and revolving facility from a subsidiary of a global asset manager
  • Representing various NFL owners in financings with JPMorgan and Wells Fargo

Other Distinctions
Sports Business Journal Game Changers: Women in Sports Business 2022
Sports Business Journal Power Players: Outside Counsel 2021
Chambers USA: Nationwide: Sports Law 2019-2023 (Associate to tch, 2019-2020; Up & Coming 2021)


Oliver Luck

Oliver Luck

As Chairman of Altius Sports Partners, Oliver Luck provides leadership experience spanning collegiate and professional athletics. His roles have included Commissioner of the XFL, Executive Vice President for Regulatory Affairs and Strategic Partnerships of the NCAA, and Athletic Director of West Virginia University. Additionally, Oliver has been in leadership roles with the Houston Dynamo of Major League Soccer and the National Football League and was Chief Executive Officer of the Harris County-Houston Sports Authority, where he oversaw the financing, construction and management of professional sports and entertainment infrastructure in Houston, including Minute Maid Park, Reliant Stadium and Toyota Center.


Kristina Minor

Kristina Minor
Husch Blackwell

A former NCAA Division I tennis student-athlete and senior compliance administrator, Kristina has devoted her career to navigating the ever-changing complexities of intercollegiate athletics. Prior to joining Husch Blackwell, she served in the compliance departments at major public and private universities, the Big Ten Conference, and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), where she began her career. She also served on the National Association for Athletics Compliance (NAAC) Board of Directors. Kristina thrives on creative problem-solving in regulatory spaces in service of her clients. Her unique background allows her to apply an experienced-based, practical approach to assisting clients with matters such as compliance assessments, independent program reviews, NCAA infractions, and name, image, and likeness (NIL).


Carlos Montoya

Carlos Montoya
Onrise

Carlos S. Montoya is the Chief Operating Officer at Onrise. Onrise works with sports leagues, clubs, teams and players associations to provide comprehensive 1:1 mental health care to those organizations' athletes.

Carlos is an executive and non-profit board member with two decades of experience at professional sports teams, law firms, a Fortune 100 company, and a private-equity backed SaaS company. Most recently, Carlos was SVP & General Counsel at Keystone Sports and Entertainment, the company that operates the Philadelphia Union MLS soccer team, Subaru Park and the WSFS Bank Sportsplex, where he oversaw legal, HR and player safeguarding and welfare. Previously, he was SVP & Global General Counsel at Partnerize, where he managed the legal team for a global, private-equity backed software and SaaS company in the affiliate marketing industry; SVP & Deputy General Counsel for Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment, the entity that operates the Philadelphia 76ers, the New Jersey Devils, the Prudential Center, Dignitas eSports, Sixers Innovation Lab, and the Sixers Youth Foundation, among other properties; and Assistant General Counsel at Aramark Corporation, where he held various corporate counsel and compliance positions, including serving as lead counsel for Aramark's business dining division and supply chain group, and managing an enterprise-wide compliance team. Carlos practiced law at Cooper LLC, Morgan Lewis and Simpson Thacher, and clerked for the Honorable Gene E.K. Pratter, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

Carlos graduated from the University of Virginia and the University of Pennsylvania Law School. He serves on the Compass Pro Bono Philadelphia board of directors and Philadelphia Youth Basketball's strategic planning committee. He previously served on the boards of the Philadelphia Union Foundation, Germantown Cricket Club, Sixers Youth Foundation (board member and Secretary), Public Interest Law Center, and Hispanic Bar Association of Pennsylvania.

Carlos lives in the East Falls neighborhood of Philadelphia, PA with his wife, who is a partner in Ballard Spahr's labor and employment group; and their 12-year old son and black Lab. In his free time, Carlos loves to cook, go running, and watch as much soccer as humanly possible.


Raul J. Muñiz

Raul J. Muñiz
IBM

Raul J. Muñiz is a technology transactions attorney at IBM. His practice consists of providing legal support to IBM’s Global Markets organization, which drives the adoption of hybrid cloud and artificial intelligence with IBM Consulting.

He is responsible for drafting and negotiating complex IT-related agreements and partnering with internal stakeholders, including finance, accounting, operations, and product development teams, to resolve contract issues.

Raul is a graduate of St. John’s University School of Law and the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College of Florida Atlantic University. He is licensed to practice law in New York, New Jersey, and Florida.

 

Adam Neuman

Adam Neuman
Baltimore Ravens

As the Chief of Staff and Special Advisor to the President at Baltimore Ravens, I leverage my experience and education in sports, law, and public administration to support the strategic vision and operations of one of the most successful and respected franchises in the NFL. I joined the Ravens in July 2023, after serving for four years as the Chief of Staff, Strategy and Operations & Deputy General Counsel at the Big Ten Conference, where I was a key aide to the commissioner and the presidents and chancellors of the member institutions.

In my previous role, I contributed to the leadership, management, and legal affairs of the conference, overseeing issues such as conference expansion, media rights, government relations, strategic initiatives, risk management, and policy development. I was instrumental in securing the historic additions of USC and UCLA to the conference and negotiating the record-breaking media rights deal with FOX, CBS and NBC. I was also recognized in The Athletic's inaugural College Sports 40 Under 40 list, featuring the top young coaches, players, execs, and influencers in the industry. Each summer, I teach a course focusing on College Athletics at Columbia University. In March of 2024, I was appointed by the Governor to serve as Commissioner to the Maryland Port Commission (MPC) which helps establish policies directed toward improving the competitive position of the Port of Baltimore within the international maritime industry.

I am passionate about advancing the values and mission of sports, academics, and social responsibility, and I am honored to be part of the Ravens organization that exemplifies excellence, integrity, and innovation.


Trisha E. Newman

Trisha E. Newman
Women's Flat Track Derby, Inc.

Chief Legal Officer to Women's Flat Track Derby Inc. and Partner at the law firm of Manning & Kass, Elrond, Ramirez, Trester, LLP in the Los Angeles Office. Practices transactional and appellate law, focused on corporate law and data privacy.


Robert Ollman

Robert Ollman
Phoenix Suns, Phoenix Mercury and Footprint Center

Robert Ollman is currently Corporate Counsel for the Phoenix Suns, Phoenix Mercury and Footprint Center. Robert received a Bachelor of Political Science and Philosophy (double major) from North Dakota State University and his law degree from Marquette University Law School.

Robert played four years of Division I football at NDSU and was part of two national championship teams.

Robert is married to his wife Jenna, and they have one daughter (Remi).


Daniel Render

Daniel Render
Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP

Daniel Render represents a wide range of clients in the professional sports industry, including National Basketball Association, National Hockey League, National Football League, Major League Soccer, Major League Baseball teams, arenas and stadiums, investors, and sponsors. Daniel counsels clients on a variety of transactional matters, including acquisitions and sales, debt and equity financings, media rights agreements, sponsorship agreements (including naming rights agreements), ticketing agreements, retail merchandising agreements, concessions agreements, and coach and management employment agreements.

Daniel has represented clients across the professional sports industry, including:

• Teams and their home arenas/stadiums, including the Chicago Bulls, Brooklyn Nets, Golden State Warriors, Sacramento Kings, Milwaukee Bucks, Los Angeles Clippers, Phoenix Suns, Baltimore Ravens, New York Islanders, Seattle Kraken, Chicago White Sox, Oakland A’s and Philadelphia Union; and

• Commercial partners and sponsors of teams and their home arenas/stadiums including major international financial institutions, beverage companies, and professional services and management consulting firms and social media platforms.

In 2023, Daniel was selected as a member of the prestigious “Forty Under 40” by Sports Business Journal as one of the 40 top sports executives under the age of 40 in the United States and in 2021 was selected by Sports Business Journal, along with other members of the Katten team, as a “Power Player”. In 2022, Daniel was selected as a “Rising Star” by Law360.

Prior to attending law school, Daniel worked in the marketing department for the Chicago White Sox.

Daniel attended Haverford College where he was a four-year member of the Haverford Baseball Team.


Dariely Rodriguez

Dariely Rodriguez
Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law

Dariely Rodriguez is a Deputy Chief Counsel for the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law where she works closely with the President and Executive Director, the Chief Counsel, managers, and staff to provide strategic guidance for litigation and advocacy projects that advance racial justice. Dariely serves on the organization’s Senior Leadership team and plays a key role in supporting synergy and integration across the organization’s practice areas and overseeing the professional development of the organization’s legal staff. Dariely previously served as the Lawyers’ Committee’s Economic Justice Project Director, where her work focused on combatting discrimination in employment, healthcare, and economic opportunities on behalf of communities of color. In this capacity, she served as plaintiff-side counsel in various impact litigation matters. Dariely regularly co-authors or otherwise significantly contributes to amicus briefs before the Supreme Court and other federal courts.

Dariely currently serves as an adjunct professor at GW Law School. She previously served as a political appointee Chief of Staff in the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs at the U.S. Department of Labor under the Biden Administration. Earlier in her career, she was an Assistant Attorney General in the Civil Rights Bureau in the Office of the Attorney General of New York and worked in private practice focusing on labor and employment issues.

Dariely received her J.D. from Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University where she was the recipient of the Dwight L. Greene full tuition scholarship. She received her B.A. from New York University.


Yasi Sahely

Yasi Sahely
William Morris Endeavor

Yasi was born and raised in sunny Southern California but has always been a Nor Cal girl at heart (Go Niners!). She graduated with a B.A. in English from UC Davis in 2012 and a J.D. from UC Law SF (formerly UC Hastings) in 2016. After law school she worked her way into the sports and entertainment industry, landing a job at NBCUniversal in the TV Marketing department where she supported the RSN marketing efforts, and then later moved over to the Talent Legal department where she worked on News, Sports, and Executive talent deals for the company. In 2022 she crossed over into agency life when she started at WME, where she now splits her time supporting the Sports Content and Sports Broadcast agent groups as their dedicated Business Affairs Executive. Yasi lives in NYC with her boyfriend and two fur babies (dog + cat), and loves watching sports (obviously), trying new restaurants, and digging through the awesome NYC sample sales.


Tarun Sharma

Tarun Sharma
University of Minnesota Law School

Tarun is an associate in Fredrikson’s Mergers & Acquisitions group who assists clients with general corporate matters.

As part of the Mergers & Acquisitions group, Tarun represents public and private companies in many types of business transactions. His experience includes being part of the Business Law Clinic at the University of Minnesota Law School, where he worked with an internet startup to launch their mobile application, and with a generational barbecue sauce maker to form an entity.

Leveraging his experience working in Major League Baseball, collegiate athletics and for the Big Ten Conference, Tarun helped found the Sports & Name, Image and Likeness Clinic at the University of Minnesota Law School. Together with Fredrikson shareholder Christopher Pham, Tarun teaches the course to a group of law students and helps collegiate athlete clients take advantage of their Name, Image and Likeness rights through endorsement and branding contracts.


Michael Sheetz

Michael Sheetz
Cooley LLP

Mike Sheetz has over 30 years of experience handling trade secret and business litiga-tion in federal and state courts throughout the US. He has acted as lead trial counsel in many complex commercial and employment-related matters. Among the many varied cases Mike has handled, he has prosecuted or defended dozens of trade secret and non-competition cases in Massachusetts and in more than 15 other states, for technol-ogy and life sciences companies, among others. Mike has also led complex internal investigations on a wide variety of issues for both for profit and not-for-profit clients. He routinely advises boards of directors and CEOs in high profile, bet-the-company mat-ters. His diverse practice also includes representing many senior business executives. For much of his career, Mike has negotiated employment agreements (either company-side or on behalf of management) involving senior management teams, CEOs and other C-level executives. He also leads Cooley's national sports practice.

Mike has been recognized as a leader in commercial litigation by Chambers USA, where a client is quoted as saying, "he recognizes that achieving a successful resolu-tion of a matter must take into account his client's commercial position and goals." He is also recognized as a key lawyer in Cooley's trade secret practice by Legal 500.

Mike is the chair of Cooley's sports law practice. He has represented some of the top sports organizations and athletes in the US in a wide variety of matters.


Kenneth L. Shropshire

Kenneth L. Shropshire
Wharton School

Professor Shropshire is the Senior Advisor to Wharton School Dean Erika James. He is focused on launching and leading the Wharton Coalition on Equity and Opportunity (Wharton CEO). He returns to the University of Pennsylvania as the David W. Hauck Professor Emeritus at the Wharton School and Emeritus Professor of Africana Studies, after five years following launching and leading, as CEO, the Global Sport Institute at Arizona State University where he was also the Adidas Distinguished Professor of Global Sport. In his previous thirty-year career at Wharton he founded and directed the Wharton Sports Business Initiative and led the sports focused executive education programs.

Wharton CEO is being positioned as the source for evidence-based solutions to problems of inequity and access, CEO will be a collaboration with industry dedicated to dismantling specific challenges hindering individual and community progress. Through cross-disciplinary research and academic content, CEO will evaluate barriers to access in fields like healthcare, finance, education, sports and entertainment, while also exploring the systemic obstacles to capital and disparities in pay and opportunities for under-represented groups across many industries. By leveraging Wharton’s research insights and corporate relationships, CEO will help organizations answer the questions currently hindering them from effectively tackling issues of corporate diversity, community engagement and societal advancement. The Coalition will be integral in advancing insights and innovation showcasing Wharton’s broad capabilities across such subjects.

He graduated from Stanford in 1977 with a degree in economics and, after completing his third year at Stanford Law School, graduated from 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.

Professor Shropshire has worked with numerous sports entities, from professional leagues to professional athletes. He currently shares his sports business expertise through published books, podcasts, and other media. He also serves on public boards, including Moelis & Company. He is also serving as the Acting Director of the Jackie Robinson Museum.


Todd Shumaker

Todd Shumaker
CCHA Collegiate Sports Law

Todd Shumaker is a partner in CCHA’s Sports Law and Higher Education practice groups. Todd's practice includes representing clients in NCAA regulatory matters related to sports wagering and reinstatement, waivers, infractions investigations, and appeals, as well as Title IX gender equity reviews and sexual harassment investigations. Todd regularly presents on current trends in college sports including NIL and Title IX processes and works with both secondary and post-secondary clients to develop education related to Title IX and athlete welfare. Todd worked with the enforcement staff at the NCAA for eight years where he investigated and processed violations of NCAA rules, sat as an appeals panelist for USA Basketball, served as a liaison to the Board of Governors Student-Athlete Engagement Committee and the Division II Enforcement and Infractions Task Force and helped lead diversity, equity and inclusion efforts. Prior to his time at the NCAA, Todd spent seven years with the Indiana Office of Inspector General and State Ethics Commission as an attorney and Chief Compliance Officer where he assisted in public corruption investigations and adjudicated ethics violations.


Debbie Spander

Debbie Spander
University of Minnesota Law School

Debbie is the Founder & CEO of Insight Sports Advisors, a boutique media and sports coaching agency. Previously an executive at Wasserman and Fox Sports, Debbie has 25 years experience negotiating and structuring groundbreaking deals in sports media, marketing and sponsorships as well as NCAA and NBA coaching.


Naima Stevenson Starks

Naima Stevenson Starks
Stinson LLP

Naima has been a trusted advisor to corporate and nonprofit legal departments for over 20 years. Her practice focuses on handling litigation, compliance, governance and transactional matters across a variety of industries, including higher education, sports and entertainment, and apparel.

Naima has served in a variety of legal and leadership roles for Varsity Brands and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). She has significant experience advising businesses on matters relating to employment laws and practices, privacy considerations, regulatory policies and protocols, ESG reporting and related efforts, crisis communication and enterprise risk management.

Prior to Naima's in-house experience, she served as a corporate and securities attorney for a global, full-service law firm where she advised and represented public and private corporations in transactional matters involving securities regulations, private equity and mergers and acquisitions.

 

Craig Troyer
Las Vegas Grand Prix, Inc.

Craig Troyer is Senior Vice President and Deputy General Counsel of Liberty Media Corporation and also is Senior Vice President and General Counsel of Las Vegas Grand Prix, Inc., which is the promotor of the Formula 1 Las Vegas Grand Prix, an annual Formula 1 race occurring on the streets of Las Vegas. The inaugural race occurred in 2023.

Mr. Troyer began his career at Baker Botts in Dallas, New York and London. In 2005 he was hired to Liberty Media Corporation's legal team. Historically his practice has primarily focused on mergers and acquisitions. When Liberty Media decided to self-promote the race in Las Vegas he was tapped as general counsel for the race. Mr. Troyer is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma and the University of Chicago Law School.


Martin Walsh

Martin Walsh
NHLPA

Marty Walsh has spent his life fighting for working people, as a labor leader, as a public official and as a private citizen. The son of Irish immigrants, Marty was born and raised in Boston’s Dorchester neighborhood.

He started out by following in his father’s footsteps as a union construction worker, rising to become president of Laborers Local 223 in Boston and eventually head of the Greater Boston Building Trades Council, representing roughly 35,000 blue-collar workers on major construction projects across the region.

In 1997, at the age of 29, Marty won election to the Massachusetts House of Representatives, where he spent 16 years fighting for workers’ rights and good jobs. A champion for civil rights, he took a courageous early stand for marriage equality, supported communities of color, immigrants, seniors, veterans and he served as a State House leader on substance abuse treatment and recovery support.

In 2013, he was elected Mayor of Boston, an office he served in for seven years. He led Boston through a period of historic success, growing the city’s economy, reducing crime, investing in schools and libraries, and ending chronic homelessness among veterans in the city. His groundbreaking policies included the nation’s first municipal Office of Recovery Services, paid parental leave for city employees, climate action and flood protection strategies, universal pre-kindergarten and free community college for low-income students.

In January 2021, President Joe Biden nominated Marty to serve as the United States’ 29th Secretary of Labor. After taking office during the COVID-19 pandemic, Marty worked to support both laid-off and frontline workers. He subsequently leveraged the President’s historic economic recovery to strengthen worker power and improve job quality. During his two years in office, Marty brought high-quality job training programs to millions of Americans, strengthened mental health support and access to treatment, and ushered in a historic surge in worker organizing.

In February 2023, Marty was appointed as the Executive Director of the National Hockey League Players’ Association, returning to his roots as a labor leader where he can continue to champion the importance of workers’ rights and the shared benefits of collective bargaining for all.

Marty is someone who never forgets where he came from. A survivor of Burkitt’s Lymphoma as a child, he has fought to expand access to healthcare for all. Embracing recovery from alcoholism as a young man, he has always believed in compassion and second chances. Grateful for the role that unions played in helping his immigrant family join the middle class, he co-founded pre-apprenticeship programs that have become national models in helping people of color, women and justice-involved individuals enjoy successful construction careers as union members.

He is a graduate of Boston College and shares his life with his long-time partner, Lorrie Higgins.


Laura Warren

Laura Warren
Chicago Fire Football Club

Laura is a seasoned sports executive and top legal advisor for Chicago’s Major League Soccer team, the Chicago Fire Football Club, where she was recently recognized by Crain’s Chicago Business as a Notable Gen X Leader in Sports. In her role as SVP and General Counsel, Laura created the club’s first in-house legal department and advises the Club on sports and risk management issues, as well as oversees the club’s human resources department. Notable projects include legal operations for the development of the club’s new training facility and its development team. Laura is also an adjunct lecturer in sports law for Northwestern University and serves on the American Bar Association’s Entertainment and Sports leadership team, where she previously co-chaired the Sports Division. Prior to joining the Chicago Fire, Laura worked in college sports for DePaul University and in private practice as a commercial litigator at Sidley Austin LLP. Laura is a proud graduate of the University of Chicago Law School and was a dual-sport athlete as an undergraduate at Illinois Wesleyan University, which comes in handy when she is attempting to school her two teenage sons in pickup games.


John Wilson

John Wilson
K&L Gates LLP

John Wilson is a partner in K&L Gates’ Seattle office whose practice focuses on clients in the technology and sports industries. John has deep experience drafting and negotiating commercial agreements for clients that range from startups to Fortune 500 corporations.

John serves as Co-Chair of the firm’s Global Sports Industry Group. He represents clients from a broad spectrum of the sports industry, regularly assisting with structuring, drafting, and negotiating sports transactions including naming rights deals, sponsorship agreements, celebrity/athlete endorsements, media rights agreements, and stadium construction contracts. He has experience advising clients positioned on both the team/league and the sponsor/brand side of deals.

For the firm’s clients in the tech industry, John often assists with drafting and negotiating complex cloud computing agreements (including IaaS and SaaS), technology development, licensing arrangements, worldwide distribution, cooperative marketing, and endorsement deals. In addition to negotiating and drafting agreements, he regularly counsels clients on matters involving intellectual property, marketing and advertising, and privacy issues.


Warren K. Zola

Warren K. Zola
Boston College

Warren K. Zola serves as the Executive Director of the Boston College Chief Executives Club, a program of the Carroll School of Management at Boston College. Long recognized as one of the world’s premier business forums, the Boston College Chief Executives Club gathers keynote speakers to address Boston’s business leaders. The speakers are the world’s most influential CEOs drawn from the top echelons of their fields—thought leaders who welcome the opportunity to address an audience of their peers.

In addition, Zola is an adjunct faculty member in the Carroll School’s department of Business Law & Society teaching two graduate courses—Sports Law and the Business of Sports. As an attorney and key opinion leader in the business of sports and sports law, Zola is frequently relied upon by the national media for his insight and perspective, and was invited to a Congressional roundtable discussion as an expert to discuss reform in college athletics. In addition, he has provided scholarly articles for legal textbooks, books, law reviews, and newspapers.

Zola earned a B.A. with Honors from Hobart & William Smith Colleges, a J.D. from Tulane University, and an M.B.A. from Boston College. He has been an active member of the Sports Lawyers Association and Massachusetts Bar since 1993. Zola serves on the Board of Directors of four non-profit organizations: Mass Mentoring Partnership, Sports Lawyers Association, You Can Play, and his alma mater, Hobart & William Smith Colleges.

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