Updated: Aug 29, 2022
Sports law is an ever-evolving and expanding subset of the law, and as the recent NCAA v. Alston ruling, NIL, and Super League controversy have shown, there are far more legal roles in sports than the typical pro agent. From arbitration and player unions to compliance and contracts, a law degree can open the door to a wide range of opportunities at both the collegiate and professional level of athletics. Many law schools around the country recognize the potential of sports law and offer some opportunities in the field, while some boast full-fledged sports law programs and concentrations. However, unlike business law and health law, U.S. News & World doesn’t offer lists detailing sports law programs; this makes the law school search difficult for a prospective 1L with aspirations for a career in sports.
Enter the Sports Law Program Spotlight! Although this was originally intended to be a monthly series, we will be putting these spotlights on a more frequent basis due to the popular demand by both prospective law students and law schools themselves. In this series, we highlight a law school that offers strong opportunities in the field of sports law. These opportunities include, but are not limited to:
● a sports-centric curriculum;
● sports law certifications;
● unique legal internship opportunities within the sports market;
● and sports law journals.
The focus of this month’s Sports Law Program Spotlight is…
Tulane University Law School
Keeping with the “Sports Law Blue Blood” theme from the Marquette spotlight, this week’s school has a championship sports law pedigree. Tulane boasts not only the best team logo in college sports (this isn’t up for debate, and I will not tolerate Angry Wave slander) but also an extensive list of alumni spanning every corner of the sports law world; over 60 alumni currently hold positions in the sports industry as agents, scouts, general counsel, athletic directors, and general managers. Furthermore, the director of the Tulane Sports Law Program, Professor Gabe Feldman, forms enduring relationships with each of his students and even hosts his own sports law podcast.
In 1993, Tulane Law became the first law school in the country to offer a certificate of concentration in sports law. Since then, over 450 Tulane Law students have graduated with the sports law certificate, including former NFL GM Mike Tannenbaum and Nick Sabella, the current Manager of Football Administration for the New York Jets. After years as counsel for the Minnesota Vikings, Demeka Fields now serves as counsel for New Balance. That’s right: Tulane Lawyers represent everyone from sports franchises to sportswear. If that wasn’t impressive enough, the Tulane Sports Law Journal also holds the distinction as the most widely read legal sports journal in the country. Talk about dominant.
When it comes to internships, the Green Wave can either dive into a familiar part of the industry or get their feet wet in a new sports role. You might have noticed each of the alumni I’ve mentioned have experience with NFL teams. With the nearby New Orleans Saints providing externships exclusively to Tulane Law students, these experiences are common at Tulane. Students also enjoy exclusive externships with the NBA’s Pelicans and compliance internships with the Sun Belt Conference, headquartered inside of the Superdome. Tulane Sports Law students may also intern with Altius Sports Partners to educate organizations on how to best address NIL concerns. These experiences and many more ensure Tulane Lawyers have the expertise to address the ever-evolving landscape of both collegiate and professional sports.
Members of the Tulane Sports Law Society (TSLS) gain practical knowledge of the sports industry by facilitating roundtables and career workshops, as well as organizing Tulane’s national four sports law competitions: Basketball and Football Negotiation, Baseball Arbitration, and Mardi Gras Moot Court. These competitions feature judge panels with representatives from the MLBPA, NHLPA, NFLPA, ESPN, and countless sports agencies. Participants and organizers alike gain insights into the business of sports, seeing all that goes into the multi-million-dollar contracts populating your Twitter feed and SportsCenter updates. TSLS events serve as prime networking opportunities as well. “You get exposure to professionals at all levels and you never know where those people will end up,” TSLS President Schuyler Corbin notes, “but because the net is so wide with who you can meet through Tulane, you build strong relationships early on and years later you’re a part of their circle… you’re doing what those professionals are doing, and now you’re the one providing opportunities for the next generation just like they’ve done for you.”
In short, Tulane Sports Law is rivaled by few but second to none. From exclusive externships to prestigious alumni, this New Orleans institution has it all. If you’re an undergrad interested in a legal career in sports (and hungry for beignets), consider Tulane Law.
(Special thanks to TSLS President Schuyler Corbin, whom I had the pleasure of interviewing for this article)