SEC Law Schools Collaborate for Series on Future of College Athletics

Virtual panel series runs through April and is open to the public

UM law professors Will Berry (left) and Stacey Lantagne (right) moderate a panel discussion on name, image and likeness issues in college athletics in October 2021 with Will Kava (center left), Ole Miss senior associate athletics director for compliance; Bruce Siegal, an attorney with Greenspoon Marder LLP; and panelists joining in virtually. Submitted photo

OXFORD, Miss. – The 12 law schools in the Southeastern Conference are collaborating to host “A Series of Conversations on Name, Image and Likeness and the Future of Intercollegiate Athletics” throughout the academic year.

Professors from each law school, as well as professionals within the athletics industry, will speak on a variety of legal topics surrounding the NIL policy for college athletes that took effect July 1, 2021.

The NCAA policy allows college athletes to directly benefit financially from their own name, image and likeness. NIL activities include endorsements, appearances and autograph signings.

“With the adoption of state NIL laws last summer, a wide variety of legal issues have emerged with participants and legal experts trying to figure out this exciting new landscape in intercollegiate athletics,” said organizer Will Berry, a law professor at the University of Mississippi. “This conversation series will provide an important window into these issues for students, athletes, lawyers, athletic departments and members of the general public interested in the effect of state NIL laws on college sports.”

The first event of the semester will be held via Zoom at noon Wednesday (Feb. 2) on the topic of “NCAA v. Alston and Antitrust Laws,” with panelists Thomas Lambert and Gary Myers, both professors at the University of Missouri School of Law, and Laura Phillips Sawyer, professor at the University of Georgia School of Law.

Updates and information on joining the conversations are available on the School of Law website.

This is yet another effort by the SEC law schools as a group. Last year, professors from each school came together to discuss ways to incorporate topics dealing with diversity into the first-year law curriculum.

“I’m thrilled to see all the SEC law schools once again collaborate on timely and important topics,” said Susan Duncan, Ole Miss law dean. “NIL brings us another opportunity to share the talents and expertise of the cadre of professors at our respective institutions.”

The UM law school kicked off the series in October with the 10th Annual Mississippi Sports Law Review Symposium: NIL and Intellectual Property Summit. Speakers included Steinberg Sports agent Chris Cabott; Loeb & Loeb attorney Lisa Wiznitzer; New York University law professors Dan Lust and Anthony Iliakostas; NCAA associate general counsel Curtis Franks; Greenspoon Marder attorney Bruce Siegal; and William Kava, senior associate athletics director for compliance at Ole Miss. The panel was moderated by Ole Miss law professors Will Berry and Stacey Lantagne.

Here is the full list of upcoming events:

Feb. 2 Alston and Antitrust,” with speakers Thomas Lambert and Gary Myers, University of Missouri School of Law, and Laura Phillips Sawyer, University of Georgia School of Law

Feb. 17 – “The Future of the NCAA,” with speakers Neal F. Newman and Meg Penrose, Texas A&M School of Law

Feb. 18 – “Whose Name, Whose Brand? NIL and Collegiate Trademarks,” with speakers Lee Ann Lockridge and David Fleshman, Louisiana State University School of Law, and Darren Heitner, University of Florida School of Law

March – “How To Help Students Understand Their Publicity Rights,” with Brian L. Frye, University of Kentucky School of Law, and Etienne Toussaint, University of South Carolina School of Law.

“The Impact of Sports Betting Legislation and Conference Realignment on College Sports,” with Ron Rychlak, UM School of Law and 2021-22 secretary for the SEC executive committee, and David Shipley, University of Georgia School of Law

April  – “Tax Aspects of NIL,” with Tessa Davis, University of South Carolina School of Law, and Jennifer Bird-Pollan, University of Kentucky School of Law

“NCAA Infractions: Past, Present and Future,” with Howard Brill, University of Arkansas School of Law, and Joshua Lens, University of Arkansas School of Health, Human Performance and Recreation

“College Athletes as Employees?” with Deepa Das Acevedo, University of Alabama School of Law; Blair Druhan Bullock, University of Arkansas School of Law; and Jennifer Shinall, Vanderbilt University Law School

“NIL Implementation Considerations,” with Brian Krumm, University of Tennessee School of Law; Lynn Youngs, University of Tennessee College of Business; and Bobby Bramhall, president of Athlete Licensing Co.