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Sports Law competitions, events draw more than 100 practitioners to Tulane

June 01, 2023 6:00 AM
Eric Blevins eblevins@tulane.edu

The Women in Sports Law Symposium, a student-led annual event, this year brought dozens of the top women in the business of sports to Tulane Law. Organized by a board led by 3Ls Lizzie Snyder and Kayla Willilams, the January event was the largest in its 7th year. It is just one of the premier student-run events that highlight the Tulane Sports Law Program. (Photo: Tracie Morris Schaefer)


 Tulane Law School’s student-run Sports Law Society was proud to host its long-standing annual pro sports negotiation competitions and Women in Sports Law Symposium this Spring. With all five events in-person, Tulane Sports Law was thrilled to have more than 100 judges and speakers combined at these events, along with over 130 student teams from schools across the country.

The 7th Annual Tulane Pro Basketball Negotiation Competition, presented by the Fragomen law firm, was held on February 23-24, 2023. This event, led by student co-chairs George Kernochan, Andy Myers, Russell Schmidt, and Sophia Urrutia, featured 44 different student teams and over 50 judges from every area of the basketball industry, including reps from more than 20 different NBA teams, certified agents, the NBA itself, and prominent media members.

Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic, who covered the 2023 competition in this recent article, had this to say:

"Over the last half-decade, what one attendee called the league’s ‘shadow figures’ have come together just a few miles from the French Quarter for an annual gathering of the NBA’s salary-cap experts for its own convention of sorts. . . The days in New Orleans have become what one NBA executive calls ‘the salary-cap version of [the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference]’ . . . . As competitors come to Tulane hoping to be noticed, some team executives attend to scout for someone to hire or for a name to notch away for the future. As they do, the Tulane diaspora across the NBA will continue to expand, and a small competition that started just six years ago will have its next problem to solve: What happens when its gets to be too big?"

The competition culminated in a four-team championship round during which each finalist team took turns in a separate negotiation against the same opponent (Kernochan and Schmidt) over a hypothetical contract, with the judges ultimately ruling a student from Indiana Law as champion- a first for a solo competitor.

The 16th Annual Tulane International Baseball Arbitration Competition, also presented by the Fragomen law firm, was held on January 19-20, 2023, led by student co-chairs Wilson Beattie, Thomas Birchfield, Lorraine Kelly, and Connor Weldon. Thirty-seven teams from schools across the country competed in rounds designed to mirror MLB’s formal arbitration format, making arguments over hypothetical contracts for MLB stars. Rounds were scored by 16 judges from across the baseball industry, including MLB teams and MLBPA-certified agents.

After many exciting rounds, the championship was awarded to the team from UCLA Law. The final round, which featured a mock arbitration over Astros star Kyle Tucker, may be viewed here.

The 9th Annual Tulane Football Negotiation Competition took place February 3-4, 2023, led by student co-chairs, Jack Brouwer, Callie DeCort, and Austin Yarnell. In this competition, student teams from 44 schools negotiated over mock contracts for real NFL players. Seventeen judges from many different NFL franchises, along with NFL agents, helped narrow the field down to the championship. After a tense final round negotiating over a contract for Baltimore star quarterback Lamar Jackson—whose real-life contract negotiation was at that time still subject to speculation— the judges declared the team from Chapman Law the champion.

The 2nd Annual Tulane International Fútbol Negotiation Competition, presented by the Fragomen law firm, took place on March 10-11, 2023. The competition was led by student board members Callie DeCort, Caroline Kaniff, and John Turner, and featured six student teams engaging in mock negotiations over two types of contracts in international soccer. The competition first included negotiations over mock contracts for the sale and transfer of players between different clubs— distinct to the international soccer business— such as Atletico Madrid. 

In other rounds, teams negotiated over a player’s hypothetical contract with a club for wages, with one side representing the player’s agent and the other representing the club. Ultimately, Creighton Law and Chapman Law (the same champions of the Football competition) met in the final round to negotiate a mock player contract between English club Chelsea and U.S. international star, Christian Pulisic. The judges were Andrew Bell (Consultant with the New Orleans Jesters), Daniel Rico (Senior Counsel with MLS), and Patrick Teague (Founder, Five v Two) and, after a close negotiation, the judges awarded Chapman their second Tulane Sports Law competition championship of the season. The final round may be viewed here.

Women in Sports Law Symposium student organizers.

The 7th annual Tulane Women in Sports Law Symposium was also an enormous success, drawing speakers from across the country and all corners of the sports industry. 

Led by student co-chairs Lizzie Snyder and Kayla Williams, both 3Ls, and sponsored by the Fragomen and Stone Pigman law firms and the Tulane Center for Sport, the 2023 event featured four star panels with 18 speakers, including from major law firms, universities, major leagues, and more, covering a variety of sports legal topics. The weekend included a kick-off reception at the Glazer Club at Yulman Stadium on Tulane’s campus, featuring a keynote address from New Orleans Pelicans executive, Swin Cash. And, the Symposium even offered a panel at the Pelicans’ Smoothie King Center with complimentary tickets to that night’s game for Symposium attendees.

More information may be found on the Symposium website here.