By Alfredo Bustamante, 2L, CSLP Fellow
The 4th Annual National Sports Law Negotiation Competition (NSLNC) was held at Thomas Jefferson School of Law on the weekend of September 19-21, 2014. Hosted by the school’s Center for Sports Law & Policy (CSLP), the competition was another great success and continues to be an anticipated and nationally recognized event each year.
This year’s competition included thirty-six teams from twenty-two different schools; each highly prepared to bring their best to the competition. In TJSL’s first year of having its own team in the competition, the team of Jordan Mlynarczyk and Currun Arora represented the school very well and gained valuable experience from participating. “It felt great being able to represent Thomas Jefferson,” said Jordan Mlynarczyk, a 2L Sports Law Fellow. “Overall, we felt like we accomplished our goals and look forward to putting ourselves in a position to do even better in the future.”
Beginning on Friday with the Sports Law Conference, guests were treated to two panels: “Sports Law: Playing to Win, Being Successful in the Sports Industry” and “Olympics: Getting to Gold.” Following the conference, competitors and coaches walked to Petco Park and enjoyed the Padres v. Giants game from private luxury suites.
The competition began on Saturday morning and lasted until the afternoon, when the top four teams were announced on the 8th floor rooftop of TJSL. Participating teams were also presented with their Competitor Certificate for participating in the competition.
Following the first two rounds of the competition (Round One: “Preserving Torrey Pines”, and Round Two: “Behind the Mask”), a mixer was held at Moonshine Flats, which allowed competitors and coaches to relax and mingle in a fun environment located in San Diego’s Historic Gaslamp Quarter.
After the final four teams competed on Sunday morning, it was the team of Joh Sedtal and David Lewis from the University of Maryland, Francis King Carey School of Law that was announced as champion. Second place was awarded to the University of Mississippi School of Law, third place to Southwestern Law School (Los Angeles, CA), and fourth place to the defending champion Chapman University School of Law (Orange, CA).
This year, the distinguished panel of judges in the final four included United States District Judge Honorable Roger T. Benitez ‘78, Associate Justice Honorable Joan K. Irion, and Superior Court Judge Honorable Browder A. Willis, III ‘83. Benitez and Willis both serve on the Board of Trustees for TJSL. These judges oversaw negotiations between the final four teams that involved an athlete’s use of supplements which may have led to a failed PED test. After the final round concluded, all three of the judges expressed their admiration and respect for the competitors and their performances during the negotiations. Each competitor left no doubt in the judges’ mind that they will soon become successful negotiators in whatever area of law they pursue.
Overall, it was a fun and exciting weekend for all participants. “The competition had great facilities, great school, and great hosts. It was very organized,” said John Michael Allen, 3L from the University of Mississippi School of Law. “All of the competitors were really well prepared, and the judges gave good feedback that helped us prepare for the next round.” When asked if he’ll be returning to the competition next year, John responded: “If I could return to the competition next year, I absolutely would. I’ll definitely be recommending this competition to our board though.”
By the end of the weekend, many teams were singing praises about the competition. When asked how he felt the competition went, Jordan Mlynarczyk responded: “I think it went great. I kept hearing from everybody competing that it was one of the most well put together events that they’ve been to. A lot of people were pumped for the competition, and I feel CSLP Director Jeremy Evans did another great job putting everything together this year.”
A special thanks goes to the NSLNC Fact Pattern Drafting Committee, Assistants, and CSLP Fellows: Shana Avery, Jordan Keglovits, Nate Lenz, Ryan Larson, Sam Ehrlich, Josh Desmond, Phylicia Coleman, Rachel Travis, Theo Montgomery, Rachel Baum, and Pua Uyehara. We would also like to thank the members of the Thomas Jefferson School of Law Sports Society, Alternative Dispute Resolution Society, and Sports Law Fellows for their help in organizing volunteers and ensuring a successful competition.