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 represents and advises colleges, universities and athletic conferences in such diverse areas as reopening in the wake of COVID-19; diversity & inclusion training and education; employment relations and internal investigations; sports-related contracts; e-sports; media and product licensing; intellectual property including name, image and likeness (NIL), data privacy, agent relations and data privacy; sponsor/hospitality contracts; construction and retrofitting of stadia and arenas; Title IX; and risk assessment and litigation.
Our team of attorneys represent a broad range of practices, including Sports, Entertainment, Corporate, Financing, Employment, Hospitality, Intellectual Property, Litigation, and Real Estate. They have been especially selected because of their expertise, legal skills and diverse backgrounds.
We provide advice and representation in the following areas, among others:
- 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, compliance with state and local governmental orders and the privacy issues involved, for example, in testing, obtaining and using biometric data. Goulston & Storrs has developed and regularly updates a detailed checklist of reopening considerations, including best practices and alternatives that various schools are pursuing.
- Diversity & Inclusion and Employment Relations: In the increasingly public and toxic revelations of gender and race bias, Goulston & Storrs has developed a unique cultural awareness program to educate and train administrators, coaches and athletes concerning these diversity and inclusion issues. Through its employment expertise, Goulston & Storrs also works with its clients to create employment contracts for athletic directors and coaches that align with the college’s values and commitments and provides guidance concerning potential breaches.
- Investigations and Dispute Resolution: Goulston & Storrs investigates and guides colleges, universities, and athletic conferences regarding student-athlete's initial and continuing eligibility, transfer waivers and rule violation accusations.
- 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 the numerous contractual relations they have including sponsorship deals, agreements with apparel and equipment manufacturers, vendor and concession agreements and media and product licensing arrangements.
- NIL and Agent Relations: Recent court decisions and state NIL laws permit athletes to be compensated for use of their name, image, and likeness. Goulston & Storrs helps navigate the NCAA rules, state laws and regulations, and potential federal law, by keeping its clients up-to-date about changing laws. As athletes retain agents to negotiate for them, Goulston & Storrs can negotiate with professional sports agents and third-party NIL companies who will be representing student-athletes and draft the NIL contracts.
- 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 and universities conduct their 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, in land acquisitions and in dealing with environmental concerns.
- Contract, Regulatory and Antitrust Advice and Guidance: Goulston & Storrs advises, litigates and arbitrates claims for colleges, universities and athletic conferences. These include representing schools when sponsors, apparel or other partners seek to avoid contractual obligations; in enforcing and registering intellectual property rights to, among other things, brands, logos, marks and digital data; in interpreting media and other licensing agreements; and 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.