ASU Unveils Innovative One Year Sports Law Programs

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Collaboration between Highly Ranked Law & Business Schools

If you want to work with professional sports teams, big sporting events, or promising student athletes, then you may be interested in the innovative new sports law and business program officially being launched this week by Arizona State University. The highly ranked Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law and W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University are collaborating on two new sports law graduate degrees you can earn in just one year. Classes begin this fall. 

“I’ve worked in the sports law field for three decades and can see we need professionals who have training in both law and business to help work on regulatory and revenue issues in the sports industry,” explains Professor Rodney K. Smith of the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, director of the new programs. “I don’t know of any other program in the country that offers a master’s degree like this with just a single, intensive year of study.” 

The two new one-year degrees are a Master of Legal Studies (M.L.S.) for those without a law background and a Master of Laws (LL.M.) for those who already graduated from law school. In each program, students will work on 18 to 21 credits from the law school and six to nine credits from the W. P. Carey School of Business. This includes an externship, which might be for a professional sports team, a sports law firm, or even a big event like a college bowl game. The programs are going to be small and personalized, accepting fewer than 30 people each in their first year. They will also focus on team-based learning and look at real-world issues, such as stadium problems, player unionization and contract negotiations. 

Ray Anderson, ASU vice president of university athletics and a former executive vice president of football operations for the National Football League, will be a professor of practice in the programs. He wanted to be part of a high-quality sports offering, and this one is located in a metropolitan area with three professional sports teams, major golf events, college football bowl games and even next year’s Super Bowl.

"I am proud to be a part of the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law Sports Law and Business Program because it is the only one of its kind to offer a sports-focused graduate program that combines the strengths of a top law school with a top business school as its foundation,” Anderson says. “One of the reasons I came to Arizona State University from the National Football League is because of the vibrant Phoenix sports market with its combination of sporting events representative of all major sports leagues and organizations. This fact, combined with a premier research university, will produce top-quality learning experiences for students in the curriculum." 

Courses in the new program will encompass both law and business areas, including “Sports Business Strategy and Industry Dynamics,” “Negotiations and Drafting in the Sports Industry,” and “Problems in Professional Sports Law and Business.” Big-name speakers from the world of sports are expected to participate, as well. 

“The sports industry is complex and expanding,” says Marketing Professor Michael Mokwa of the W. P. Carey School of Business. “The new program will provide skills and savvy for individuals seeking to make a real difference in the field.”

For more information about the new one-year degrees, visit law.asu.edu/sportslaw.  A three-year Juris Doctorate program will also be added this fall for those who want to pursue their law degree with an emphasis in sports law and business.

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