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Collegiate and Professional Sports

Many of the issues faced on and off the field in the sports world mirror workplace law challenges faced by employers from all industries.

Overview

Comprised of attorneys with deep, practical experience in the sports world, our Collegiate and Professional Sports Practice Group is uniquely situated to serve the diverse needs of collegiate and professional sports entities. Our attorneys have a profound understanding of the issues affecting the realm of sports and athlete management.

At the collegiate level, we are regularly retained to conduct investigations into alleged infractions of NCAA rules, and to represent universities before the NCAA Committee on Infractions and NCAA Infractions Appeals Committee. We advise college and university clients on compliance with the growing number of NCAA and NAIA rules and guide institutions through increasingly complex regulations governing collegiate sports. We have vast experience advising institutions on Title IX and civil rights laws, representing colleges and universities at every stage of the compliance process, including audits, civil rights reviews and government investigations.

At the professional level, our attorneys provide valuable counsel to sports franchises during acquisitions, in times of crisis and throughout the life of a franchise. We also counsel agents and sports agencies on the current regulatory and enforcement environment, including the myriad of state licensing and sports union certification requirements. While our priority is litigation avoidance, where prevention is not enough, our attorneys vigorously defend clients in cases of alleged non-compliance, player association investigations and in numerous areas of civil litigation.

With the growing number of foreign athletes throughout the collegiate and professional ranks, our firm can provide assistance in sports-related global immigration matters. Whether it is guiding teams, coaches, managers or players through the immigration process or developing strategies to overcome potential immigration barriers, we provide timely, cost-effective solutions that help meet organizational needs.

Our Collegiate and Professional Sports Practice Group can assist in all the following areas:

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September 22, 2017

Education Department Rescinds Obama-Era Guidance on Campus Sexual Assault Investigations, Issues Interim Guidance

September 22, 2017

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos on September 22, 2017, released Title IX interim guidance, while rescinding Obama-era policies, for handling sexual assault cases on college campuses. Specifically, the Department of Education withdrew the “statements of policy and guidance” contained within the April 4, 2011, “Dear Colleague Letter... Read More

September 7, 2017

Plans to ‘Reframe’ Title IX Enforcement Announced

September 7, 2017

The Trump Administration believes that Obama-era guidance regarding sexual assault on college campuses created a “failed system” that was a “disservice to everyone involved,” Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said on September 7, 2017. According to DeVos, “There must be a better way forward.” Enacted in 1972, Title IX is a... Read More

August 16, 2017

Affirmative Action in College Admissions to Become a Justice Department Priority?

August 16, 2017

The Trump Administration is preparing to focus on affirmative action in college admissions, according to The New York Times, which reportedly obtained an internal announcement to the Department of Justice (DOJ) Civil Rights Division (CRD). The announcement, The Times said, directs the Division to redirect resources to investigate and... Read More

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February 17, 2018
The Boston Globe

Gregg Clifton Spotlighted for Marlins Arbitration Win

February 17, 2018

Gregg Clifton is spotlighted for the Marlins winning their arbitration hearing over right-hander Dan Straily in "Managerial rankings start with Astros’ A.J. Hinch," published by The Boston Globe. Subscription may be required to view article Read More

January 15, 2018
Sportsnet

Paul Kelly is Spotlighted for his Role in the Defense of Former NHL Player Kevin Stevens

January 15, 2018

Paul Kelly is spotlighted for his role as legal counsel for former NHL player Kevin Stevens in "What it Takes," published by Sportsnet. Subscription may be required to view article Read More

January 13, 2018
Sportsnet

Paul Kelly Discusses the Case of Former NHL Player Kevin Stevens

January 13, 2018

Paul Kelly discusses the case of former NHL player Kevin Stevens and his struggles with addiction in "Shattered: Former NHL star Kevin Stevens’s battle with addiction," published by Sportsnet. Subscription may be required to watch video Read More

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New Labor Board General Counsel Rescinds Guidance Declaring Student-Athletes ‘Employees’
December 7, 2017

One of the first actions of new National Labor Relations Board General Counsel Peter Robb was to rescind guidance that college football players at private universities are employees under the National Labor Relations Act. Read More

Can NFL Players be Fired, Disciplined for Protesting During National Anthem?
September 25, 2017

President Donald Trump has suggested that the National Football League’s television ratings decline was caused by “fans seeing those people (players) taking the knee when they’re playing our great national anthem.” Trump has urged fans to “leave the stadium” when players kneel during the national anthem and suggested that NFL team owne Read More

NLRB Finds Sports Team’s Electronic-Content Workers As Employees Eligible To Unionize
August 24, 2017

The National Labor Relations Board has found the individuals who produce electronic content for viewing during professional basketball games are employees, rather than independent contractors. Minnesota Timberwolves Basketball, LP, 365 NLRB No. 124 (2017). Read More