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Baseball salary haggling: A Tulane winter tradition

January 27, 2015

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At Tulane Law’s 2014 National Baseball Arbitration Competition, John D’Angelo, manager of salary & contract administration in the MLB Commissioner’s Office, offers feedback to law students representing a player and team in a mock arbitration hearing.

Is Kansas City center fielder Lorenzo Cain, the American League Championship Series MVP who helped lead the Royals to the 2014 World Series, worth the $3.35 million he’s seeking — or just the $2.1 million the team wants to pay?

Law students from across the United States (and a Canadian team) will spend two days making their pitches about who’s right in this and a pair of other salary disputes when Tulane Law School hosts the 8th Annual National Baseball Arbitration Competition.

Run by members of the Tulane Sports Law Society, the unique competition allows students to sharpen their oral advocacy skills by handling simulated salary arbitration hearings modeled closely on the procedures used by Major League Baseball.

MLB team lawyers, sports agents and industry representatives — including Tulane Law alumni — serve as arbitrator/judges for the competition, which also gives competitors a chance to network with baseball professionals.

Judges include Tulane graduates Alex Winsberg (L ’00), director of legal affairs for the Los Angeles Angels, and agent Marc Kligman (L ’95) of Total Care Sports Management; Damon Jones, Washington Nationals vice president and club counsel; Houston Astros General Counsel Giles Kibbe; Nick Krall, Cincinnati Reds director of baseball operations; Arizona Diamondbacks General Counsel Nona Lee; and Dave Prouty, general counsel of the MLB Players Association.

“The competition is a terrific opportunity for students to practice their oral argument skills in the context of the baseball arbitration system and to meet and learn from a variety of top baseball executives,” said Professor Gabe Feldman, who directs the Sports Law program and founded the event.  

Tulane was the first U.S. law school to offer a certificate of specialization in sports law. The program, now 22 years old, is the leader in the field and prepares students to deal with challenging legal and business issues confronting an increasingly complex industry.

The Sports Law Society, along with Tulane’s Moot Court Board and the Sports Lawyers Journal staff, also hosts the annual Mardi Gras National Moot Court Competition, the only such event focusing on contemporary legal problems confronting the sports industry.

 
   


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