By Jonathan Stahler (3L), NSLNC Assistant to the Director
The Third Annual National Sports Law Negotiation Competition (NSLNC) held at Thomas Jefferson School of Law the weekend of September 20-22, 2013, can only be described as another major success for TJSL as the spotlight was on the law school and the school's Center for Sports Law & Policy (CSLP).
Thirty-six teams from 26 different law schools across the nation came to San Diego for the weekend to compete against each other, with Chapman University School of Law (Orange, CA) team of Andrew Mase and Clay O’Neal walking away the overall winner. Mase and O’Neal competed and finished fourth last year.
Second place went to UC Hastings College of Law (San Francisco, CA), third place to Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law (Dallas, TX) and fourth place to Fordham University School of Law (New York, NY).
The distinguished panel of judges in the final four included TJSL Dean and President Thomas Guernsey, TJSL Professor and former Dean Kenneth J. Vandevelde, and Professor Rodney K. Smith, Director of TJSL’s Center for Sports Law and Policy. They heard the finalists negotiate their problem dealing with a Title IX dispute. All three judges stated that they would have happily hired any one of the four teams to represent them in the dispute.
All of those in attendance told Jeremy Evans ‘11, Director of the NSNLC, that the competition was "first-class" from top to bottom. Overall, it was an exciting weekend for all of the participants, beginning on Friday evening after the Sports Law Conference with four private luxury boxes at Petco Park for everyone to watch the San Diego Padres successfully take on the Los Angeles Dodgers. Also, Professor Randy Grossman, NSLNC Board member, accompanied Major League Hall of Famer and San Diego Padres Executive Vice-President Dave Winfield to the box to greet and take pictures with the competitors. Padres General Counsel Erik Greupner, also made a special appearance and conversed with the competitors. All of the competitors who were in the box remarked how lucky they were for such an opportunity.
The Competition began on Saturday morning and ran through the entire day as the 36 teams were narrowed to the Final Four. As the host school, Thomas Jefferson School of Law did not compete. Saturday’s first two rounds (Round One: NHL Television Deal; and Round Two: Concussions) were capped off with a mixer at the Double Deuce nightclub, introducing the competitors to San Diego’s Historic Gaslamp Quarter.
“Thomas Jefferson put on a wonderful competition,” said Joshua Igeleke Jr., a 3L from UNLV – William S. Boyd School of Law, who competed on one of the negotiation teams. “The NSLNC is by far the best sports law competition,” said Coach Thomas Greene of St. John’s University School of Law. “It was really well-organized, and the diverse topics were all very strong.”
The NSLNC Board, special assistants, CSLP, Sports Law Society Board, volunteers, timekeepers, judges and competitors deserve praise and recognition for their continued efforts in making the 3rd Annual National Sports Law Negotiation Competition a complete success. Evans said, “Just as I heard last year, the feedback received indicated a great time was had by all. The success of the NSLNC continues to grow the strong reputation of TJSL’s tremendous sports law program.”
Samuel Ehrlich, one of two Special Assistants to Evans, was happy to see law students across the country have different perspectives on how to solve the negotiation problems. Ehrlich said, “Getting to see the two problems I worked so hard co-writing with Jonathan Stahler and Tara Mallis being negotiated by some of the top law students in the country was a great experience.”
A very special thanks is deserved by the Board of the NSLNC, Jeremy Evans, Brandon Leopoldus and Professors Rod Smith and Paul Spiegelman. Ehrlich and Jonathan Stahler, both 3Ls, served as Special Assistants to Evans for the second consecutive year, and helped draft two of the problems negotiated in the competition. Tara Mallis (3L) also assisted greatly and helped draft the Final Round problem with Ehrlich. Sports Law Society President and Vice President Michelle Evenson and Sara LaProwse were instrumental in organizing volunteers to assure that the competition ran smoothly. Special recognition should also be given to the entire Communications Department at TJSL, Event Planner Kathryn Markey, IT's Patricia Ramert, the Center for Sports Law and Policy, the Academic Assistants, Student Services, the Sports Law Society and the Alternative Dispute Resolution Society.
Thirty local, national and international practitioners served as judges to score this competition, and we are grateful to TJSL Professors Leah Christensen, Steve Semeraro, Rod Smith and Ken Vandevelde, and Dean Thomas Guernsey for volunteering their time on Saturday and Sunday.