“Anyone who’s interested in pursuing [sports law, Miami Law offers] a unique opportunity and there’s really no competition out there for what we’re able to offer here,” stated Peter Carfagna in a recent interview. As Director of the Sports Law Track in Miami Law’s LLM in Entertainment, Arts and Sports Law, Carfagna discussed the practical skill sets students learn in the short courses he teaches.
An adjunct faculty member, Carfagna is the author of various casebooks including Negotiating and Drafting Sports Venue Agreements and Representing the Professional Athlete, and teaches courses in these areas at Miami Law in addition to “Representing the Pre-Professional Athlete.” In a recent sit down with Greg Levy, deputy director of the program, Carfagna described his courses and how they benefit students. Below are excerpts from the full video interview.
Something I want to emphasize is the clinical nature of your classes...you create a simulated law department, the students are role-playing, they’re taking sides, they’re negotiating, they’re drafting and they’re putting in clauses based on the negotiations. Can you talk about this overarching component in all of your courses?
“Yes, so [in my classes it’s] ‘Welcome to my law department… I’m the senior partner in the firm or I’m running a legal department and I’ve given you these assignments and I’m going to supervise you.’ I’m not going to put you out to sea, I’m going to give you templates…but they’re not quite right for the right reasons. So we’re really tweaking these agreements, every word counts, and it’s a laboratory experiment. You deliver back to me something that I call it’s ‘execution ready’ – ready to hand to a client and say, ‘Sign this, I’m comfortable, and you’re covered.’”
Can you take us through your “Representing the Pre-Professional Athlete” course?
“We talk about NCAA compliance…we talk about some of the scandals…University of North Carolina and the academic fraud scandal…What is required to keep your amateur status as a student athlete? We don’t just talk about it we teach what the rules are for agents who want to go prospecting, what they can and cannot do…What the agents’ rules are, what the student athletes’ rules are to maintain student amateur eligibility. We look at all those things in a very serious sort of legal lens rather than just a SportsCenter way. You know, because again, it’s strict contract interpretation, very serious rules and regulations interpretation, and job opportunities because it’s a growing area.”
What issues do you encounter in the “Representing the Professional Athlete” course?
“So now we ‘Go Pro’….the agent is now allowed to recruit the student-athlete…How does he or she negotiate and draft a contract to be represented by an agency? We go into the first product endorsement agreement… ‘I’m a golfer or a tennis player, which club do I play, what racket do I swing and how do I get paid for that?’ What kind of an agreement do we negotiate and draft? This is hands-on clinical, you are actually [in the class] the lawyer for a client and you’re negotiating and drafting a product endorsement agreement. And then we go to a license agreement…publicity rights, name, image, likeness rights…We look at the stages of a professional athlete’s career, the concussion litigation, and what happens when the cheering stops, post retirement opportunities…”
We look at the third course now which is “Negotiating and Drafting Sports Venue Agreements,” you have a lot of different agreements related to the venue?
“Now you’re representing the owner of a Hard Rock Stadium or Marlins Park and you’re doing a lease agreement, you’re doing a naming rights agreements, you’re doing a presenting sponsorship agreement, an official credit card of the Dolphins or Marlins, you’re doing food and bev[erage]…you’re doing a beer deal…a pizza deal…media rights deals. So all the things that the owner of a sports venue or a sports team would need to have negotiated and drafted, we play act that…It’s clinical, it’s hands-on. You’re taking on the role of counsel to the owner of a team.”
The only course of the four you teach that is exclusive to LLM and JD/LLM students is “Purchase and Sale of a Minor League Baseball Team” something in your career you’ve done a lot of and draw on your actual experience. Can you take us through that course?
“This is very complex commercial [transaction]...You might think, ‘Oh, this is minor league,’ but every clause counts, every negotiation counts. We’re buying and selling, these are multi-million dollar properties. So we’re negotiating a very sophisticated commercial transaction. And we’re delivering what the LLM students negotiate and draft and I’m supervising. We’re ready for a closing on the sale of a minor league team… [Students] do each and every clause and deliver an agreement that’s ready to be signed to close the deal.”
In addition to teaching at Miami Law, Carfagna has been a Visiting Lecturer in Sports Law at Harvard Law School since 2007 and is a Board Member of the Concussion Legacy Foundation and the LPGA (Ladies Professional Golf Association). A sports industry expert, Carfagna has spoken with students on hot topics in sports law including: