The Tulane Sports Law Program celebrated its 30th Anniversary with fanfare in November, bringing back the faculty and students who launched the Program in 1993 and has since seen extraordinary growth and success.
“It became more than we ever expected,” said founding faculty member Gary Roberts, who as a professor at Tulane started teaching the first few courses in sports law in the 1980s. Roberts went on to become dean of the Indiana University Robert McKinney School of Law and was former President of Bradley University. He handed the reins in 2007 to Professor Gabe Feldman who remains the Tulane Program’s Director to this day.
In November, Roberts joined Feldman, former law Dean Lawrence Ponoroff and numerous Program alumni, who have each in some way helped the Tulane Sports Law grow, during the festivities which included two panels on the state and future of the evolving – and booming – sports industry.
The Program honored Roberts, the visionary behind the effort to bring sports law to campus, who spoke of the unexpected way sports law evolved, positioning Tulane as the number one sports law program in the nation. Ponoroff and Feldman honored Roberts in remarks that brought levity – a Gary Roberts bobblehead was involved – in a roomful of students and alumni who have been beneficiaries of their foundational work to raise the profile of Tulane’s top-ranked program.
Alumni like Chris Robinson and Tim Edwards (both L’18), co-founders of the popular Tulane Pro Basketball Negotiation Competition attended, and both spoke of the doors that Tulane Law opened for them, and the gratitude they have for alumni who established opportunities for them to connect in the industry. Expectedly, there was great reminiscing and discussion about everyone’s unique Tulane sports law experiences.
“There wasn’t much in the late ‘90s and as a former college athlete, I was looking for a light in the darkness, someone to show me what it meant to work in the sports industry,” said alum Jeff Dorso (L’01) who is Vice President and General Counsel of the Sacramento Kings and who studied under Roberts. “Tulane was that light. It was foundational.”
Two panels, both focused on where the massive sports industry has been and where it is going, featured Tulane greats like Vicky Neumeyer (L ’98) Senior VP & General Counsel for the New Orleans Saints and Pelicans alongside Tyrone Thomas (L ’01) Partner & Co-Chair of the Sports Industries Team at Holland & Knight. Others who spoke included Taryn Brown (L ’09) Corporate Associate with Baker McKenzie who discussed future changes in the industry along with Edwards and Robinson.
“If you want to study sports law, this is the place to be,” said Jay Cohen (L’ 06), Baseball Specialist at ZS Sports and Staff Attorney at Zuckerman Spaeder, who spoke about how things have changed since his time at Tulane. “Whenever I go to industry events, being part of Tulane Law School has opened doors for me, and that is a tribute to the recognition of the Tulane Sports Law Program.”