Conference Review: Ivy Sports Symposium and Tulane National Baseball Arbitration Competition

I’ve tried to impart on you the importance of attending conferences, so I started a series reviewing the conferences out there so you can make educated choices about which ones to attend. (See the “Conference Reviews” tag for other reviews.) There is no one conference that’s perfect for all of you. Much of it will depend on what area of sports you’re interested in or how much you can afford to spend to attend a conference.

I’m not willing to vouch for any conference I haven’t attended, so I’ve found people who have attended to write guests posts.

Quick Details:

Ivy Sports Symposium: TBA (usually late November/early December; rotates around Ivy League schools)

Tulane National Baseball Arbitration Competition: February 8-12, 2012 (registration for participants already closed for this year, but mark your calendar for next year)

Darren Heitner, attorney, sports agent, professor of Sports Agency Management at IU-Bloomington and founder of SportsAgentBlog.com, has been nice enough to write a guest post about his experiences at the Ivy Sports Symposium and Tulane National Baseball Arbitration Competition:

By: Darren Heitner

Twitter: DarrenHeitner

Instead of taking up space speaking about my achievements in the sports business world over the past 26 years of my existence, I will let you read more about me at http://www.darrenheitner.com, if you are so interested.  What I will write about here is part of the methodology of how I got to where I am today.  The two biggest components to my success, which may seem rather obvious, have been a strong knowledge base and a large, influential network.  I could not have excelled without both immensely important elements.  Attending, speaking, and participating in sports business events led me down the right path.

When I was a 1L at the University of Florida Levin College of Law (a 1L is our nerdy way of saying first-year law student), I had heard about an event titled, the “Princeton Sports Symposium.”  I had always been enamored with the Princeton academic tradition and figured I would try to convince my law school to pay (at least in-part) to send me up to Princeton and come back with intelligence that would allow me to develop a similar program at the University of Florida.  Check in hand, I booked my travel and experienced what is still today (in my mind), the best student-run sports business symposium in the United States.  It has changed its name to the “Ivy Sports Symposium,” but is still managed by superstar Chris Chaney, who was in charge of the Princeton Sports Symposiums of years past.  The most recent Ivy Sports Symposium was held at the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania.  A good way to keep track of the venue, speakers, and topics for the next Ivy Sports Symposium is to follow its Twitter account (@sportssymposium).

I certainly gained a wealth of knowledge by attending the Princeton Sports Symposium my 1L year and was honored when I was brought back in my 2L year to speak on a panel for “Rising Stars in the sports industry.”  I also became President of the University of Florida Sports Law Society and put together what I believe to be two very strong Sports Law Symposiums in Gainesville, Florida.  Side note – while it is a fantastic idea to attend sports business/law events, just imagine how rewarding it is to run a successful event.  Since those days, I have been asked to speak at numerous sports symposiums across the country, including Indiana University (where I am now a Professor of Sport Agency Management), Arizona State University Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, the Union Internationale des Avocats (UIA – International Association of Lawyers), and New York Law School.  Another event that I participated in as an arbitrator and moderator was the 2011 Tulane National Baseball Arbitration Competition.  I will be participating again in 2012 and strongly urge law school students interested in the sport of baseball to enroll in the future.

The Tulane National Baseball Arbitration Competition was originally created as a way for law students to compete against each other in a moot court setting, but with topics that were far from normal moot court topics.  The Competition itself involves mock arbitrations about real players coming up for arbitration every year.

This 2012 event involves three real players where each school/team involved must argue for one of the sides for each player (either representing the player or team).  Each school will participate in 3 preliminary rounds, and after all preliminary rounds have been completed, the winningest teams with the highest scores advance to a semifinal round (with the winner of each advancing to a final round). Most of the match-ups are judged by practicing sports law/sports professionals, while the semifinal and final rounds are judged by three panelists each, all with significant real baseball arbitration experience. Their goal is to get not only a variety of judges to volunteer their time, but to also put participants face-to-face with the real movers and shakers in the baseball and sports industries.

The National Baseball Arbitration Competition concludes with a symposium where current topics involving Major League Baseball are discussed to give competitors better insight as to what is going on in the industry, which they will hopefully use as a jumping off point in future discussions with industry professionals.

In conclusion, there are many fantastic sports business events for interested individuals to attend.  I have merely picked two that have truly stood out as very worthwhile events for those interested in the business of sports.  The Ivy Sports Symposium has a much broader scope and is open to all (as long as you pay the fee and register before the tickets sell out).  The Tulane National Baseball Arbitration Competition is limited to law school students who also must pay a fee and register in time.  Further, the scope is narrower, as it is strictly about baseball, includes a participation component, and is highly focused on arbitration.  For individuals interested in the baseball agent profession, this event is the closest thing you will find to real, practical experience prior to practice.  Arbitration is a key element of practicing as a baseball agent.

I am always available to answer questions.  My email is heitner@gmail.com.  I write daily (during the week) at SportsAgentBlog.com.  I am also an attorney at Wolfe Law Miami, P.A., where I focus my practice on entertainment, sports, and intellectual property litigation and transactional work.

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