The University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg welcomes Mark Conrad, an associate professor of law and ethics at Fordham University’s Gabelli School of Business, to Greensburg to discuss “The Professionalization of College Sports.” The program on Tuesday, April 9, will begin at 7 p.m. in the Ferguson Theater (Smith Hall). This event is free and open to the public.
Conrad, who is the director of the Sports Business Concentration program at Fordham, brings a deep understanding of the business of sports, media law, and ethics to the discussion. His Twitter handle is @Sportslaw1, and his book “The Business of Sports -- Off the Field, In the Office, On the News,” (Routledge/Taylor and Francis, 2017) has been cited in leading journals as one of the most comprehensive texts on the subject.
Conrad explained, “For decades, the model for the governance of collegiate sports in the United States was that of a strict form of amateurism, coupled with an inherent social contract. Under the rules of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), ‘student-athletes’ would receive a college education and (in some, but not all cases) a scholarship to attend the institution in return for participating in a sport under the authority of the school. For many, this system worked well. Many benefitted from the experience–receiving a quality education and building character and teamwork from the athletic experience.
“However, in certain sports, this system is broken and has been for a long period of time. Men’s basketball and football programs have flourished in certain ‘power’ schools and conferences, which have resulted in huge sums of money paid to colleges, conferences, and the NCAA through television and other media rights. All the stakeholders profit . . . except the students who perform the labor. The system has led to academic fraud scandals in some of the nation’s leading universities. It also resulted in greater involvement of government prosecutors who are using racketeering and wire fraud laws to, in effect, enforce NCAA rules.
“The system is potentially illegal, as the NCAA, along with its member schools, acts as a cartel to restrict the economic rights of a labor force. Increasingly, the courts have been involved in deciding the fate of college athletics.”
Conrad will discuss the following as part of his presentation:
· The concept of “amateurism;”
· The reasons why the system is anti-competitive for the “money” sports;
· The leading court cases and last month’s ruling in the Jenkins case;
· U.S. v. Gatto prosecutions and the criminalization of the NCAA rules;
· Proposed solutions:
o Paying players,
o Endorsements and image rights,
o Establishing “power” conference autonomy,
o The viability of minor league football and basketball as an alternative.
In addition to teaching sports law, Conrad has also taught courses covering contracts, business organizations, and media law. His books and articles have appeared in academic, legal, and general circulation publications.
He has also published in numerous academic and non-academic journals on various sports law topics, including governance issues, intellectual property, collegiate and international issues. In addition to his full-time responsibilities at Fordham, Conrad has served as an adjunct professor at Columbia University’s master’s program in Sports Management, St. John’s University School of Law, and New York Law School. He has lectured at Northwestern University’s campus on Doha, Qatar, and has appeared on panels and symposia at Harvard Law School, Duke University School of Law, the University of Virginia School of Law, as well the law schools of Fordham, Pace, Hofstra, DePaul, and Arizona State universities. He served as president of the Sport and Recreation Law Association from 2014-15 and president of the Alliance for Sport Business from 2016-18.
Conrad has been quoted in the New York Times, Boston Globe, and Chicago Tribune and has appeared on CNN, WCBS-TV, Fox5 NY, Bloomberg TV, and i24News.
Conrad received his B.A. from City College of New York and his J.D. from New York Law School. After receiving his law degree, he earned an M.S. from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. He is a member of the New York and District of Columbia bars and resides in New York City.
Founded in 1963, the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg is a publicly assisted, four-year, liberal arts college in southwestern Pennsylvania. Pitt-Greensburg offers 29 baccalaureate degree programs, including new majors in Nursing, Healthcare Management, Public Policy, and Education, as well as 24 minors and four certificate programs. With nearly 1,500 students, more than 10,000 alumni, and faculty and staff numbering 260, Pitt-Greensburg provides a vibrant, diverse community that is a dynamic model of a 21st century liberal arts education. As part of the University of Pittsburgh system, Pitt-Greensburg offers the resources of a world-renowned university combined with the individualized and immersive experiences of a small liberal arts college. Creativity and an entrepreneurial spirit permeate the campus and extend into its many collaborative projects with the Westmoreland County community. Nestled in Pennsylvania’s beautiful Laurel Highlands, the campus is surrounded by the region’s outdoor recreation venues and rich history. It is a five-minute drive from uptown Greensburg and less than an hour’s drive from Pittsburgh.