Success requires not only a winning team, but also an understanding of the laws, rules, and regulations covering the ever-changing college athletics landscape. Goulston & Storrs’ College Sports Law Practice understands the laws, rules, and regulations, and the impact of them on athletic programs at colleges, universities, and conferences. The College Sports Law Practice has a strong bench of seasoned experts to represent and advise colleges and universities, and athletic departments and conferences on such top of mind issues as culture and social change and the resultant risks; advising and mitigating against the risks involved in permitting student-athletes to monetize their name, image, and likeness; and mitigating the risks in reopening and staying open.
We utilize the talents of Goulston & Storrs’ corps of seasoned legal experts who advise in such other diverse areas as employment relations; internal investigations; drafting and defending coaching contracts; e-sports; media and product licensing; intellectual property; data privacy issues; sponsor/hospitality contracts; construction and retrofitting of stadia and arenas; Title IX; risk assessment; and litigation.
Specifically, the College Sports Law Practice provides advice and representation to college athletic administrators and their legal counsel in the following important areas:
- Diversity & Inclusion – Cultural Change: In the increasingly public and toxic revelations of gender and race bias, Goulston & Storrs has developed a unique cultural assessment program, which is tailored exclusively for each school, to help colleges understand and respond to these diversity and inclusion issues. Also, Goulston & Storrs has investigated and reported on dozens of examples of perceived racial or gender bias.
- NIL: Goulston & Storrs helps mitigate risk by following, reporting, and working with colleges to understand and comply with the often-conflicting pieces of legislation and NCAA rules, state laws, and regulations. This risk mitigation covers recruitment, maintaining athletes, transferability of athletes, and maintaining school revenues and values. Goulston & Storrs is well prepared to draft NIL contracts and negotiate with professional sports agents and third-party NIL companies who will be representing NIL rights of student-athletes.
- Contracts: In hiring coaches and athletic directors, Goulston & Storrs works with its clients to create employment contracts that align with the college’s values and commitments, provides guidance concerning potential breaches, and reduces the risk of high-priced buyouts.
- COVID-19 and Related Safety Issues: Goulston & Storrs’ cross-disciplinary team advises and guides colleges, universities, and athletic conferences on the considerations and risks involved in reopening and staying open, compliance with state and local governmental orders, and the privacy issues involved, for example, in testing, obtaining and using biometric data.
In addition to these current top-of-mind issues, the Goulston & Storrs College Sports Law Practice provides advice and representation on such other areas affecting college sports as:
- E-sports: E-sports is developing into a multi-billion-dollar industry with millions of participants and fans, including at the college level. Goulston & Storrs helps its clients realize the revenue potential of e-sports while educating them about compliance with the National Association of Collegiate Esports (NACE) governance structure and state (and federal) statutes dealing with sports betting.
- Sponsorship, Media Licensing, Product Licensing, and Concession Agreements: Goulston & Storrs advises and represents colleges, universities, and athletic conferences in numerous contractual relations they have including sponsorship deals, agreements with apparel and equipment manufacturers, vendor and concession agreements, multi-media agencies, and product licensing arrangements.
- Hospitality Services/Marketing: Game Day concerns include ADA compliance, digital marketing and ticketing strategies, privacy and the collection of digital data and concession agreements. Goulston & Storrs can assist in addressing the legal concerns and liability risks, including health and safety, digital data ownership, Wire Act issues and state and federal regulations.
- Facilities: Many colleges conduct athletic programs in aging or noncompliant stadia and arenas. Goulston & Storrs can help reduce the risks of such facilities by working to ensure that stadia and arenas are compliant with federal, state, and local laws. Also, Goulston & Storrs assists its clients in negotiating agreements to finance the construction of new or retrofitted athletic facilities, inland acquisitions, and in dealing with environmental concerns.
- Contract, Regulatory and Antitrust Advice and Guidance: Goulston & Storrs advises, litigates, and arbitrates claims including representing schools when sponsors, apparel or other partners seek to avoid contractual obligations; enforcing and registering intellectual property rights to, among other things, brands, logos, marks and digital data; interpreting media and other licensing agreements; in dealing with their rights and obligations under the law, existing contracts, statutes, NCAA regulations, and court decisions.
- Title IX: Title IX represents federal policy. With the pandemic and gender-based questions about compliance, including recent LGBTQ decisions, Goulston & Storrs can help steer through the morass of regulations to achieve compliance.