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Birth of a Rivalry: Villanova Claims THEY are the true Sports Law Competition Dynasty

Updated: Jul 20, 2022


In a recent article, Brendan Bell highlighted Fordham’s recent success in the Tulane International Baseball Arbitration Competition, winning three of the past four competitions. Former Fordham Sports Law President and Conduct Detrimental’s very own Dan Lust crowned his alma mater “the first-ever dynasty in the history of sports law competitions.” It didn’t take long for this statement to attract backlash from Villanova Law students and alumni who felt slighted by Mr. Lust’s words.

Ignoring the bias of the former Fordham Sports Law Society President’s statement, a simple look at our Villanova Sports Law Spotlight justifies the Villanova students’ objection to Fordham’s title as the first sports law competition dynasty:

Villanova dominates Tulane’s Pro Football Negotiation Competition, winning it four of seven years and finishing 3rd in 2021. Austin Meo '22 and Ryan Murphy '22 became the first 1L-only team to ever win the event back in 2020.

It would seem Villanova’s Pro Football Negotiation Team holds this distinction, with their dynasty dating back to 2017. However, allow me to elaborate on just how impressive Villanova’s Pro Football Negotiation squad has been. The team took home the championship in 2017, 2019, 2020, and 2022. Villanova finished in 2018 and 2021 as finalists and semifinalists, respectively, but what really stands out is the 2020 competition: Villanova entered two teams into the competition. “Both teams made it to the Top 8 and they pinned us against each other in the quarterfinal,” noted Villanova Sports Law alum Arun Thottakara. “They had to, though, because if they put us on opposite sides of the bracket we both would have made it to the final.”

If we isolate this debate between Villanova’s Pro Football Negotiation Team and Fordham’s Pro Baseball Arbitration Team, Villanova edges out Fordham as the premiere sports law competition dynasty. However, if we expand our view to each school’s full sports law competition resumé, the gap grows substantially wider. The Pro Football Negotiation Team’s success is emblematic of Villanova’s dominance across various sports law contests. In the Tulane Pro Basketball Negotiation Competition, Villanova entered two teams in both 2020 and 2021. In 2020, one team finished as finalists and the other finished in fifth place; and in 2021, one squad took home the championship and the other finished in fourth place. In the Tulane International Baseball Arbitration Competition, Villanova made it to the semifinals in 2020 and 2021 as well as the quarterfinals in 2022.

Fordham may hold bragging rights for the baseball competition, but the most dominant school for sports law contests and the home of the first sports law competition dynasty resides in Pennsylvania, not New York. You can be sure Mr. Lust will not forget that anytime soon.

Special thanks to Austin Meo (Villanova '22) and Arun Thottakara (Villanova '21) for their help in gathering information for this article.

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