Headline Sports Law

Harvard Law School 2011 Sports Law Symposium

What: Harvard Law School 2011 Sports Law Symposium

When: Friday, March 25, 2011 (9:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.)

Where: Ames Courtroom (9:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.) and Austin West (1:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.)

PANEL #1 – AMATEURISM PANEL – 9:30-10:40am

Different sports entities answer the question “what it means to be an amateur” in different ways.  This panel takes a “comparative” approach to amateurism and look at how domestic and international sports organizations and entities (e.g., NCAA, IOC, and other sports regulatory bodies) define “amateurism.”  This panel will discuss how each type of organization defines “amateur” differently, and ask, normatively, what is the best way to define “amateurism”


  • Roger Abrams (Northeastern University Law School)
  • Jeremy Bloom (World Champion Skier)
  • Christian Dennie (Barlow, Garsek & Simon LLP)
  • Paul Haagen (Duke University)
  • Michael McCann (Vermont Law School and
  • John Nichols (Penn State University and Co-Chair of the Coalition on Intercollegiate Athletics)


Over the past year, the landscape of college athletics has been dramatically altered with the movement of numerous teams to new conferences, including Nebraska to the Big 10, Colorado and Utah to the Pacific 10, Boise State to the Mountain West, and Brigham Young to independent status.  This raises issues about amateurism and the role of the NCAA in either facilitating or impeding conference realignment. This panel will explore legal and ethical issues related to amateurism and the role of the NCAA in conference realignment.


  • Greg Byrne (Athletics Director, University of Arizona)
  • Kristi Dosh (Taylor English Duma LLP and
  • Patti Ohlendorf (VP of Legal Affairs for the University of Texas at Austin)
  • Patrick Rishe (Webster University and
  • Jason Russell (Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher, & Flom)
  • Glenn Wong (UMass Isenberg School of Management)


The mission of the Sports Legacy Institute is to advance the study, treatment and prevention of the effects of brain trauma in athletes and other at-risk groups.  SLI was founded on June 14, 2007 by Chris Nowinski and Dr. Robert Cantu in reaction to new medical research indicating brain trauma in sports had become a public health crisis.  SLI has formalized groundbreaking neuropathological research by partnering with Boston University School of Medicine to form the Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy.  SLI President and CEO Chris Nowinski and other panelists will discuss SLI’s research and community outreach efforts and address the concussion crisis as it relates to intercollegiate athletes.


  • Dave Bergeron (Stanford University, NFL)
  • Peter Carfagna (Harvard Law School)
  • Matt Henshon (Princeton University, Harvard Law School)
  • Isaiah Kacyvenski (Harvard College, NFL)
  • Pete Kendall (Boston College, NFL)
  • Chris Nowinski (Harvard College, WWE, SLI President and CEO)
  • Dave Zucker (Harvard Law School)

PANEL #3 – ATHLETE-AGENT PANEL – 1:10-2:20pm

The relationship between player agents and college athletes remains a hot topic for colleges, players, agents, players’ unions, and state governments.  Assuming we want to retain a model in which student-athletes are amateurs, how should colleges, unions, and states prevent agents from engaging in impermissible relationships with athletes?  More importantly, what role should colleges and universities play in assisting student-athletes who “go pro” in sports? This panel will discuss the athlete-agent issue by exploring agent regulation, how student-athletes and agents interact under the current regulatory regime, and what programs are in place to assist student-athletes who “go pro” in sports.


  • Peter Carfagna (Harvard Law School)
  • David Cornwell (DNK Cornwell)
  • David Dunn (Athletes First)
  • Dan Fitzgerald (Brody Wilkinson PC, Connecticut Sports Law Blog)
  • Jason Levien (Agent and Former General Counsel, Senior Vice President and Assistant General Manager of the Sacramento Kings)
  • Mike Zarren (Assistant General Manager of the Boston Celtics)
  • Warren Zola (Boston College)


Three pending class action lawsuits (O’Bannon v. NCAAKeller v. EA Sports, and Agnew v. NCAA) have the potential to forever change college sports.  The O’Bannon and Keller lawsuits attack the NCAA’s licensing practices as violations of antitrust laws and the players’ rights of publicity, while Agnew’s lawsuit challenges the NCAA’s 37-year-old practice of giving one-year scholarships.  This panel will explore the merits of the pending lawsuits and the potential impact of a successful outcome for any of the plaintiffs.


  • Steve Berman (Hagens Berman)
  • Gabe Feldman (Tulane University Law School)
  • Rick Karcher (Florida Coastal School of Law)
  • Ron Katz (Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP)
  • Jon King (Hausfeld LLP)
  • Ed O’Bannon (Former NCAA Men’s Basketball Player and Lead Plaintiff in O’Bannon v. NCAA)
  • Libby Sander (Chronicle of Higher Education)

PANEL #5 – BCS PANEL – 3:50-5:00pm

The Bowl Championship Series has been attacked by legal scholars, state attorney generals, and other interested parties as violating federal antitrust law.  In 2010-11, however, non automatic-qualifying schools took home a record $24.7 million.  Additionally, Playoff PAC recently submitted a report to the Internal Revenue Service challenging the tax-exempt status of the Fiesta, Orange, and Sugar Bowls and arguing that the three BCS bowls should not be considered Section 501(c)(3) charities.  This panel explores the antitrust and tax issues associated with the BCS.


  • Marc Edelman (Barry University’s Dwayne O. Andreas School of Law)
  • Brian Frederick (Sports Fan Coalition)
  • Alan Fishel (Arent Fox)
  • Nathaniel Grow (University of Georgia)
  • Stephen Ross (Penn State University Law School)
  • Mark Shurtleff (Utah Attorney General)
  • Katie Thomas (New York Times)


Cost: Free. Register here.

By Darren Heitner

Darren Heitner created Sports Agent Blog as a New Year's Resolution on December 31, 2005. Originally titled, "I Want To Be A Sports Agent," the website was founded with the intention of causing Heitner to learn more about the profession that he wanted to join, meet reputable individuals in the space and force himself to stay on top of the latest news and trends.

Heitner now runs Heitner Legal, P.L.L.C., which is a law firm with many practice areas, including sports law and contract law. Heitner has represented numerous athletes and sports agents as legal counsel. He has also served as an Adjunct Professor at Indiana University Bloomington from 2011-2014, where he created and taught a course titled, Sport Agency Management, which included subjects ranging from NCAA regulations to athlete agent certification and the rules governing the profession. Heitner serves as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Florida Levin College of Law, where he teaches a Sports Law class that includes case law surrounding athlete agents and the NCAA rules.