On Tuesday, October 18th the Rice University Sport Business Alliance hosted “Labor Issues In Sport: A Discussion with Experts from the Industry” at Keck Hall on the campus of Rice University.
- Russ Granik, former NBA Deputy Commissioner and President of USA Basketball
- Brian Cooper, Associate A.D. of Finance at Rice
- Jeff Nalley, CEO of Select Sports Group
- Adelqui Boue, Executive Vice President of the International Sports Agency
- Martin Levy, Professor of Law at the Thurgood Marshall School of Law.
The panel brought years of experience in player representation in the MLB, NBA, and NFL, as well as a strong background in league and organizational operations at the professional level.
The first topic of discussion for the evening was the ongoing NBA lockout and the areas of contention between the owners and the players. “As is usually the case, the dispute is all about money,” said Granik, who has negotiated multiple collective bargaining agreements in the past and is currently a legal expert for ESPN. “Until the two sides can agree on how to divide the (basketball related income), the lockout will continue.” The panel differentiated between the NBA and NFL lockouts, stating that the NFL has a stronger model of revenue generation in place and was fighting over the distribution of that revenue, whereas the NBA model needs to be modified.
Additional topics of discussion included the implementation of the hybrid system between the NBA and the NBA Developmental League, the recent lockout and player-agent relations in the NFL, and the new wave of legal representation that has begun to infiltrate college athletics.
The panel was followed by a reception at Brochstein Pavilion, where guests were able to meet the five panelists and continue their discussion of the most pressing issues in sport. Both the panel and reception were attended by Rice students, local law students, and members of the Houston media.
The Rice University Sport Business alliance is a student-run organization that seeks to establish relationships with members of the sport industry, and executes events such as the Labor Issues in Sport panel to increase school-wide recognition for the Sport Management program.
Ryan Glassman, a junior from Baldwin, NY, is majoring in English and Sport Management and minoring in Business.