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Professor Maureen Weston Engages Sports Law and ADR Experts From Across the Spectrum

In Spring 2020, the Pepperdine Caruso Law Entertainment, Media, and Sports Law Program planned two major events in connection with the Pepperdine Institute for Entertainment, Media, Sports, and Culture, and the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution. Professor Maureen Weston intended to bring renowned sports law and ADR experts to campus for two events, "The New Frontier of Sports Gambling," and "Olympic Issues Heading to Tokyo 2020."

However, the COVID-19 pandemic caused plans across the globe to change, including rescheduling these events as well as postponing the summer Olympic Games in Tokyo. Professor Weston, who was new to online teaching, quickly adapted to a virtual learning environment, and students in her Sports Dispute Resolution courses were able to meet a variety of experts online.

Distinguished Experts Shared Their Insights with Students over Zoom

  • Rachel Luba (JD '16), a Major League Baseball player agent, inspired students by describing her progression into the male-dominated professional baseball world, the range of her work and services as an MLB agent, salary arbitration, and starting her own agency business.
  • Daniel Wallach, a sports gambling attorney and expert, spoke to students about the history of and current trajectory of sports gambling in the United States.
  • Bryce Blum and Adam Gertz, E-Sports attorneys from ESG Law and Morrison Rothman, respectively, shared their law practice experience, along with their insights on e-sports legal, financial, and player employment. They also discussed well-being issues in this emerging industry.
  • Brian Halloran, a longstanding former member on the NCAA's Committee on Infractions explained the NCAA investigatory and infractions hearing and appeal process.
  • Barbara Reeves, a JAMS Neutral, talked with students about the process for reporting, investigating, and adjudicating sexual misconduct and abuse claims brought in arbitration through the U.S. Center for SafeSport and Title IX processes.
  • Jeff Benz, Court of Arbitration for Sport Arbitrator joined to team-teach with Professor Weston for an intensive study on Sports Dispute Resolution, which included JD, LLM, MDR, and Seaver College students. Benz shared his extensive experience with Olympic and international dispute resolution and also his recent work with the NCAA's new Independent Accountability Resolution Panel. The class engaged in mock negotiations, a NCAA Infraction Hearing, and Olympic athlete selection dispute arbitration.

A major topic in these discussions was the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on sports. Professor Weston recently reflected on this question in her article, "The Lasting Impact of COVID-19 on Sports: Financial, Legal, and Innovation" (SSRN) (Santa Clara Law Review, forthcoming).