New Marquette Lawyer Magazine Highlights the “Winning Record” of the Sports Law Program and Features Various Faculty

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Marquette Lawyer Magazine Cover Fall 2021Past, present, and future. Look to all three in judging the success of any higher education program. Consider the Fall 2021 issue of Marquette Lawyer magazine as a way of putting the Marquette Law School’s sports law program up to judgment in just those ways—and we’re not shy about saying the verdict is strongly favorable. Marquette has been breaking ground in sports law for decades, it continues to be a leader, and the future of our students is promising.

The new magazine, titled “The Sports Law Issue,” looks to the past with a profile of Ray Cannon, from the Law School class of 1913, who became a pioneer of sports law in the United States. The fascinating story is written by Cannon’s grandson Thomas G. Cannon, a former professor at Marquette Law School. It describes Ray Cannon’s legal work on behalf of famed athletes such as Jack Dempsey, the world heavyweight champion boxer; “Shoeless Joe” Jackson, a baseball star who was accused (wrongly, it would seem) of accepting money to throw the 1919 World Series; and Red Grange, whom some consider the greatest college football player of all time. Ray Cannon was also involved in early efforts to form an association of baseball players to help them deal with team owners. The story may be read by clicking here.

The magazine looks to the present with profiles of 14 Marquette lawyers who participated in the sports law program while in law school. They have gone on to successful careers, variously in sports and in broader fields of law. Included are some of the Marquette lawyers working for major sports franchises, teaching college courses, handling the legal needs of college sports programs, working in the business world, representing private clients, leading private businesses, and developing nonprofit organizations.

And the magazine looks to the future with profiles of six students now in the sports law program and on track for legal careers.

“A Winning Record,” the story profiling the alumni and the current students, may be read by clicking here. Continue reading “New Marquette Lawyer Magazine Highlights the “Winning Record” of the Sports Law Program and Features Various Faculty”

Sports Law Experts See Major Changes Coming Soon to College Sports

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Will this summer be a turning point for college athletics?

The full answer to that is complex, multi-faceted, and, of course, still to emerge. But two experts in sports law summarized their responses concisely during an “On the Issues with Mike Gousha” program, posted on the Marquette Law School web site on May 27:

“I think so,” said Steve Ross, Lewis H. Vovakis Distinguished Faculty Scholar at Penn State University and Executive Director of the Penn State Center for the Study of Sports in Society.

Are we at a watershed moment for college sports?

“I think we are,” said Professor Matt Mitten, executive director of the National Sports Law Institute at Marquette University Law School. “We’re coming to a crossroads within the next month.” Continue reading “Sports Law Experts See Major Changes Coming Soon to College Sports”

Insights and Anecdotes from an American Sports Legend, Bud Selig

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Do Milwaukeeans – or at least enough Milwaukeeans  – appreciate what an amazing figure Bud Selig is? Not only in terms of changing baseball, but in terms of changing things that are now big parts of the fabric of American culture?

As Selig often says, baseball is a social institution. It’s a key part of American culture. The game is not called the national pastime without good reason.

Major league baseball today is a far different game than it was, say, 40 years ago. And Selig, who grew up on the west side of Milwaukee and took a hard-to-imagine route to become the commissioner of baseball from 1992 to 2015, has been at the center of just about every change. Continue reading “Insights and Anecdotes from an American Sports Legend, Bud Selig”

Remembering Professor Gordon Hylton

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Headshot of the late Professor Gordon Hylton.The Marquette Law School community is saddened by the news that Professor J. Gordon Hylton has passed away at age 65, following a battle with cancer.

Gordon was a wonderful colleague on the Law School faculty.  He joined the faculty at Marquette University Law School in 1995, after teaching previously at the Chicago-Kent College of Law of the Illinois Institute of Technology.  Gordon left Marquette Law School in 2015 to join the faculty at the University of Virginia School of Law full time (having visited at UVA many semesters previously).  He also served a memorable year  as the Fulbright Professor of Law at Kyiv-Mohyla Academy in Kiev, Ukraine.  A wonderful In Memoriam webpage celebrating Gordon’s career appears on the website of the University of Virginia School of Law.

Gordon taught courses in Property Law, Trusts and Estates,  and Legal History, among others, and was also closely involved with the National Sports Law Institute at Marquette Law School.  He was a frequent contributor to the Marquette Law School Faculty Blog, where he was known for his posts on the history of Marquette Law School in general and on the often overlooked athletes who had a historical connection with our institution.  His blog posts were sometimes quirky, often obscure, but always among the most interesting to appear on the Faculty Blog. Continue reading “Remembering Professor Gordon Hylton”

Bucks Exec Emphasizes Team’s Community Goals in “On the Issues” Program

Posted on Categories Milwaukee, Public, Speakers at Marquette, Sports & LawLeave a comment» on Bucks Exec Emphasizes Team’s Community Goals in “On the Issues” Program

Yes, the owners of the Milwaukee Bucks have big goals for their basketball team, including ultimately an NBA championship. But they also have big goals for spurring positive developments in Milwaukee, not only in the immediate area of their new arena downtown but more broadly.

“We’re trying to do our part as a good corporate citizen,” Alex Lasry, senior vice-president of the Bucks, said at an “On the Issues with Mike Gousha” program at Marquette Law School on Thursday.

Lasry, the son of Marc Lasry, one of the lead owners of the National Basketball Association franchise, emphasized the community involvement goals of the team. That starts with the arena and surrounding developments, including a practice facility, parking structure, and entertainment district. More development will come after the current arena, Bradley Center next door, is razed and land needed for construction purposes is freed up, Lasry said. He said the team was talking about $1 billion in total spending in the immediate area.

Public funding of the arena project, totaling more than $250 million in state and local money, is one reason the team is strongly committed to having a broader positive impact on Milwaukee, he said. But it goes beyond that.

Lasry said the chance to do more than just own a team was one of the big draws for his father and Wes Edens, the other major figure in the purchase of the team from Sen Herb Kohl in 2014.

“When my dad and Wes were buying the team, my dad had been looking to buy a team for about 10 years before he bought the Bucks,” Alex Lasry told Gousha. “He looked at the Sixers, he looked at the Hawks, he looked at a few teams, and was never quite able to pull the trigger on something.

“And I think when they came here, what they saw was not only a chance to own a basketball team, which had always been a life-long dream and has been really cool, but they saw a chance to re-think what a major part of a downtown could be. They saw a chance to actually develop 30 acres of a downtown in a major city, which I don’t know if a lot of you know, but you don’t actually get to do that in a lot of cities, where you kind of get a blank slate for 30 acres in a downtown.”

Describing the reach of what is going on in the immediate area of the arena, which is slated to open a year from now, Lasry said, “What we’re doing right there is exactly what we wanted to do and exactly what we promised, which is create real economic development and not just create an arena on an island, which is kind of what the Bradley Center is right now.”

The team’s community goals also include paying comparatively high wages for all the jobs connected to games; setting – and meeting – ambitious goals for hiring city residents and contracting with businesses owned by minority members and women during construction and beyond; and supporting economic development and community causes such as working with schools and youth organizations. He said the team wants its impact to reach beyond the arena area into neighborhoods across the city.

Lasry, who owns a home in Milwaukee and who has become involved in a list of civic groups, spoke highly of the city. Milwaukee has needs, he said, but the city has “incredible bones,” including a beautiful location and major universities. And then there are the people. “If you give Milwaukee 100 percent, Milwaukee will turn around and give you 200 percent,” he said.

”There is no reason it (Milwaukee) shouldn’t be able to match any big city,” he said. And the Bucks want to be a key part of that.

To watch the one-hour program, click here.  







The Law Professor Who Coached the Marquette Football Team

Posted on Categories Marquette Law School, Marquette Law School History, Public, Sports & Law1 Comment on The Law Professor Who Coached the Marquette Football Team

The Marquette University Law School has long been associated with the world of sports.  Although the National Sports Law Institute has represented the connection in recent years, the school’s relationship to the sports industry goes back much further than the 1989 founding of the Institute. Federal Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis, later the first Commissioner of Baseball, was a lecturer at the law school shortly after it opened; Carl Zollmann, the first major sports law scholar, was on the Marquette Law faculty from 1922 to 194; and a number of outstanding athletes, including Green Bay Packer end and future U. S. Congressman Lavvy Dilweg and Olympic Gold Medalist (and future congressman) Ralph Metcalf studied at the law school in its early years.

However, no one has ever combined the two fields more perfectly than Prof. Ralph I. Heikkenin who, during the 1947-48 academic year, both taught full-time at the law school and coached the Marquette varsity football team, at a time when the team played at the highest level of collegiate competition.

Heikkinen was already well known to sports fans in the upper Midwest when it was announced that he would be joining the Marquette faculty and staff in the spring of 1947.  A native of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, Heikkinen had grown up in the community of Ramsey.  He had enrolled in the University of Michigan in the fall of 1935 where he excelled academically. Not only was he an outstanding student, but he was a published poet and the president of the student government.  On top of that, he was an under-sized lineman who made the powerful Michigan football team as a walk on.

Although he began his career as an unheralded newcomer, by the time he was a junior, Heikkinen had developed into one of the best two-way linemen in the country. Although just 6’ tall and weighing only 183 pounds, he was voted as his school’s MVP during both his junior and senior years and was chosen unanimously as a guard on the 1938 All-American team.  During Heikkinen’s senior year, the Wolverines, under new coach Fritz Chrisler, narrowly missed a perfect season thanks to a narrow 7-6 defeat at the hands of Minnesota, in which Michigan botched an extra point kick, and a 0-0 tie with Northwestern, which featured a Michigan missed field goal from the 6 yard line.  Even so, the team finished the season 6-1-1, ranked #16 in the country in the final Associated Press poll.

After completing his college career, Heikkinen was drafted by the Brooklyn Dodgers of the National Football League.  Because of concerns over his size and his interest in playing professional football he was not chosen in the 1939 draft until the 12th round, the #105 overall pick.  Since the end of the 1938 college season, Heikkinen had been on the fence on the issue of professional football, and initially appeared to be leaning toward remaining at the University of Michigan as a graduate or law student who would also coach the linemen on the freshmen football team.

Finally, after accepting an invitation to play in the 1939 College All-Star game, which pitted the top senior collegians against the NFL campion Washington Redskins, “Heik,” as he was known, decided to sign with the Dodgers.

However, the football success he had achieved in Ann Arbor was not to be repeated in Brooklyn.  Even though NFL players in 1939 were much smaller then than they are today, Heikkinen was undersized by the NFL lineman standards of the time. Also, having missed the pre-season because of his indecision and his participation in the College All-Star game (which was won by Washington, 27-20), he had trouble earning playing time after his arrival in Brooklyn.

Although one of the Dodgers’ 1938 guards had retired and the other had been moved to tackle, Heikkinen lost out in the competition for the two guard positions to two other, less-heralded rookies.  After only three games of the 1939 season (in only two of which he actually played) the Dodgers simply released Heikkinen rather than keep him on the bench while paying his salary.

Some published accounts reported that the release had been that Heikkinen’s request so that he could accept a coaching position at the University of Virginia.  Whatever the reasons for his release, within three weeks, Heikkinen was in Charlottesville, Virginia.  There, he accepted a position as assistant line coach for the school’s football team which has coached by former Marquette head coach Frank Murray.  At the same time he enrolled as a first year student at the University of Virginia Law School, even though the fall semester was already underway.

For the next five football seasons, Heikkinen was an assistant coach on the Virginia football team.  In 1940, he was promoted to head line coach, a position that he would hold for the next five seasons. Virginia’s football fortunes increased dramatically after Heikkinen’s arrival, but that probably had more to do with the simultaneous appearance of future Hall of Famer halfback “Bullet Bill” Dudley, arguably the greatest player in the school’s history.  Although the team’s fortunes fell off after Dudley graduated, in 1944, the team had its second best record since 1925.

When not coaching the Cavaliers, Heikkinen divided his time between his legal studies and his involvement with the University of Virginia’s Flight Preparatory School which was established as part of the United States Navy’s V-12 program during the Second World War.  According to the University records, Heikkinen was enrolled as a law student in 1939-40; 1940-41; and 1944-45, although it seems likely that his coaching duties kept him from taking a full load of courses during the fall semester, and he may have taken classes in 1941-42 and 1943-44 to catch up for the work that he had missed.

In 1943 and 1944, he was an instructor in aeriel navigation and physical education for Naval Officers enrolled at UVA under the V-12 program.  (The UVA football teams in 1943 and 1944 were greatly strengthened by the presence of the Navy students who were eligible for intercollegiate sports.)  It is entirely possible that Heikkinen was also enrolled in the Navy Reserves between 1942 and 1944, in preparation for his service to the V-12 program.

In spite of his protracted time as a law student, Heikkinen excelled academically.  When he graduated, he ranked number 1 in his class, and he was selected to Phi Beta Kappa and was one of two law students in 1944 honored with membership in the Order of the Coif.  He was also chosen as a member of the University’s prestigious Raven Society.  Although his work schedule was not really compatible with law review membership, he did become a member of the staff of the Virginia Law Review during his final semester in law school.

After graduating from law school in June of 1944, Heikkinen remained on Murray’s coaching staff.  However, at the conclusion of the 1944 season, he announced his resignation from his coaching position and his decision to accept an associate’s position with the New York law firm of Cravath, Swaine and Moore.

While practicing law in New York, Heikkinen kept his hand in the world of football by serving as a scout for Lou Little’s football program at Columbia University during the 1945 and 1946 seasons.

Following the 1945 season, Coach Murray left the University of Virginia and returned to his previous employer, Marquette University, where he was a legendary figure.  As the head football coach of Marquette from 1922 to 1936, the Golden Avalanche/Hilltoppers compiled a won-lost record of 90-32-6, culminating with an appearance in the inaugural Cotton Bowl during Murray’s final game at the helm. Neither of his successors, Paddy Driscoll and Tom Stidham, came close to matching Murray’s success on the playing field, and in 1946, Murray was enthusiastically welcomed back to Marquette.

In 1946, Murray’s first season after his return, the Golden Avalanche went 4-5-0.  At the conclusion of the season, head line coach Al Thomas decided to step down. Thomas had actually been Heikkinen’s replacement at the University of Virginia, and he had come back to Marquette with Murray in 1945.  As a replacement for Thomas, Murray seized on the idea of convincing Heikkinen to return to the coaching ranks. Heikkinen was initially reluctant to return to coaching, but Marquette was willing to sweeten the pot a good deal by offering Heikkinen a full time position as Associate Professor of Law as well as a job as Murray’s chief assistant with the football team.

Moreover, Murray suffered a heart attack in the spring of 1947, a development that would require his role in the management of the football program to be reduced for the rest of the calendar year.  As a result, Heikkinen was offered the chance to run the football team’s spring practice in April and to coach the team from the bench during regular season games in the fall (although Murray would officially remain the head coach).  Heikkinen accepted the position in April of 1947, with the stipulation that he would be allowed to retain his New York affiliations and would be free to return to New York at the end of the 1947-48 academic year, if he chose to do so.  He arrived in time to oversee the 1947 spring practice.

The law school that Heikkinen joined in 1947 was thriving, as more than 400 students, many of whom were ex-GI’s, streamed into its hallways.  (Three years earlier, during the War, the enrollment had fallen to 44 students.)  Over the past two years Dean Francis X. Swietlik had quickly rebuilt the law faculty which had been largely dismantled during the war years.

To accommodate the influx of students anxious to return to civilian life and get on with their legal careers, the law school had decided to continue the “three semesters per year” curriculum that it had embraced during World War II.  With full length Summer, Fall, and Spring semesters each year, this format meant that law students could graduate from the law school in just two years.  Heikkinen’s first class was part of the Summer 1947 semester.

The addition of Heikkinen brought the number of professors on the law faculty to 15, which included eight full-time professors.  Four–Dean Francis Swietlik, Francis Darneider, E. Harold Hallows, and Willis Lang —were full professors, while four others–James Ghiardi (who joined the faculty in January 1946, after returning from military service in Europe), Warner Hendrickson, Kenneth Luce, and Heikkinen—were associate professors. Of the eight full-time professors, four—Darneider, Swietlik, Lang, and Ghiardi–were Marquette Law School alums, while the other four had law degrees from Michigan, Chicago, Harvard, and Virginia.

In addition, the faculty included seven part-time lecturers and instructors, and a regent, Rev. Edward McGrath, S.J., a Jesuit who was also a professor of jurisprudence. The most prominent of the part-time faculty was Milwaukee lawyer Carl Rix, who taught Property and who was wrapping up his term as president of the American Bar Association.

Associate Professors Ghiardi and Heikkinen, who were only a year apart in age, were both from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan (although from opposite ends) and quickly became great friends, often socializing with their wives and with colleague and fellow-Michiganer Kenneth Luce and his spouse.

As a teacher Heikkinen appears to have been readily accepted by his colleagues.  He taught a variety of courses, but he specialized in corporations and security transactions, and during the 1947-48 academic year, he and Luce contributed an article on recent developments in Wisconsin corporation law to the Marquette Law Review.  Although he was a football coach, Heikkinen had a surprisingly soft speaking voice.  As an AP wire service story noted in November of 1947, he had “such a low-pitched voice that he uses a microphone during classroom hours.”

He was also quite conscientious when it came to making sure that his coaching duties and opportunities did not interfere with his classes.  Shortly after he joined the faculty in the summer of 1947, he declined a much coveted invitation to coach the North team in the Upper Peninsula High School All-Star football game because it would have required him to cancel some classes.  During several away games during the football season that fall Coach Heik had to follow the team in a later train, and in one case, take an airplane, to avoid having to miss any classes.

Under the joint direction of Murray and Heikkinen, the 1947 Marquette football team got off to a roaring start, defeating South Dakota, St. Louis University and Detroit Mercy in its first three games by a combined score of 101 to 47.  The winning streak came to an end, however, in game four when the Hilltoppers lost in Milwaukee to a fellow Jesuit school, the University of San Francisco, 34-13.  Trailing 28-0 at half, Marquette was never in the ballgame, and the victory elevated the California school to #20 in the Associated Press rankings.

Marquette may have been over-confident coming into the San Francisco game, given that the team was undefeated, and San Francisco was coming off a home loss to Mississippi State.  The next week featured the game that most Marquette fans felt was the most important of the season, the annual match-up with the University of Wisconsin in Madison.

The 1947 game, like all the others in the series, was played at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, and pitted the 3-1-0 Hilltoppers against the 2-1-1 Badgers.  Even though Madison was coming off of a 9-0 upset of #12 Yale the week before, Marquette fans seemed confident that this could be one of the rare years that the Catholic school might win out over the state university.

In spite of optimistic predictions of success, Marquette’s offense simply could not gain any traction, and single touchdowns in the first three quarters put the UW ahead 21-0 before MU finally scored.   The Badgers subsequently added two more TD’s to Marquette’s one, for a final score of 35-14.

The suddenly dispirited Hilltoppers proceeded to lose their next three games to Michigan State, Villanova, and Indiana, all of which had winning records in 1947.  The team finally rebounded in its last game of the season which required it to travel to Phoenix the weekend before Thanksgiving.  There, it defeated the 5-2-0 Arizona Wildcats.  Rolling to a 33-7 lead in the third quarter, Marquette coasted to a 39-21 victory to bring its final record to 4-5-0, the same mark it had achieved in 1946.  However, the season did at least end on a positive note.

Although many Marquette law students had played on the university football team in the years before World War II, the growing expectation that law students in the post-war era would be college graduates all but eliminated the law school football player.  It does not appear that any law students played on the varsity football team during Heikkinen’s year as coach.

Following the end of the football season on November 22, Heikkinen continued to be an active faculty member at the law school, and most members of the law school community assumed that he would remain at Marquette the following year.  He participated in the spring football practice in late April of 1948, and several newspapers reported that he would be part of the Marquette coaching staff in 1948.  However, in August, the university announced that Heikkinen had resigned both his law school and coaching positions so that he could return to law practice in New York.

According to Heikkinen’s friend Jim Ghiardi in a 2014 interview, no one at Marquette ever knew exactly why Heikkinen decided to leave the law school after only one year on the faculty.  He may have been disappointed with Murray’s decision to return to full-time coaching in 1948, which would have diminished his role in the program.  He also may have simply missed practicing law; after accepting the coaching position in the spring of 1947, he briefly considered turning down the faculty position in favor of a position with a Milwaukee law firm.  Also, by the summer of 1948, Heikkinen’s wife was pregnant with the couple’s third child, and Heikkenen may have decided that he could better support his planned large family—the Heikkinen’s ultimately had six children—on the salary of a Wall Street lawyer than he could on his modest assistant football coach-law professor salary at Marquette.

On the Marquette Law School faculty, Heikkinen was replaced by a young law professor named Leo W. Leary, who left the faculty at the University of Texas to return to his native Wisconsin in the fall of 1948. While he never coached the football team, Leary became a Marquette Law School legend in his own right over the next three decades. If you want to strike up an interesting conversation with any Marquette alum over age 70, just ask him or her what they thought of Leo Leary.

Shortly after his return to law practice in New York, Heikkinen became the executive secretary and attorney for the Studebaker-Packard Corporation, an automobile company that had been a Cravath client.  In 1958, he left Studebaker and went to work in the legal department of General Motors, where he remained until his retirement in 1978.  At different times in his life Heikkinen apparently battled alcohol problems, and at General Motors he was responsible for initiating and establishing corporation-wide alcohol treatment and education programs.  After leaving Marquette, he never again worked as a football coach, but at his induction into the Upper Peninsula Sports Hall of Fame in 1973, he was also identified as a former professional football scout, so his involvement with the sport may have continued after 1948.

Heikkinen died in Michigan in 1990, where he lived in the Detroit suburbs.

Although there have not been very many, Ralph Heikkinen was not the only combination football coach and law professor in American history.  Lawyer and Hall of Fame coach Daniel McGugin coached the Vanderbilt football team and taught occasional classes at the Vanderbilt law school during the first three decades of the 20th century.  Similarly, Fred Folsom taught part-time at the University of Colorado Law School while coaching the school’s football team from 1908 to 1915.  However, unlike McGugin and Folsom, Heikkinen was a full-time law professor, and he managed to hold both positions in the post-World War II era, when both coaching and law teaching were more demanding tasks than they had been forty years earlier.

Since it appears that Heikkinen is the only person to have been a full-time major college football coach and full-time law professor at the same time, it is entirely appropriate that he accomplished this distinction at the Marquette University Law School where the connection between law and sports has long been recognized.

Gordon Hylton is a Professor of Law at the University of Virginia School of Law.  Prior to joining the faculty at UVA, Professor Hylton was a longtime member of the Marquette University Law School faculty.

Should College Athletes Be Paid to Play?

Posted on Categories Sports & Law1 Comment on Should College Athletes Be Paid to Play?

sports1On April 19th I participated in a lively panel discussion debating the pros and cons of paying Division I Football Bowl Championship football and men’s basketball players for their services, hosted by The Ohio State University Sports & Society Initiative, which was recently started by its College of Arts & Sciences.  Despite the commercialized nature of these sports, I advocated that college student-athletes should not receive economic benefits based on their playing ability, including cash stipends, in excess of the full cost of attendance at their respective universities.  In my view, there should be greater emphasis on ensuring they receive a meaningful education and earn a college degree that well prepares them for a career other than professional sports, which could include lifetime free tuition and cash bonuses for earning an undergraduate degree. Other panelists included sports economist Andrew Zimbalist, who expressed substantially the same views, as well as Joe Nocera, a New York Times writer, and Vince Doria, a former ESPN senior vice president, who both asserted that college football and basketball players should be paid based on their individual athletic ability and accomplishments.  A video of this panel discussion along with a second panel of former Ohio State football, men’s and women’s  basketball players (including Maurice Clarett, Lawrence Funderburke, and Shawn Springs), and a women’s golfer discussing this issue is available here.

Take Part in Sports, But Minimize the Risks, Sports Concussion Expert Says

Posted on Categories Public, Speakers at Marquette, Sports & LawLeave a comment» on Take Part in Sports, But Minimize the Risks, Sports Concussion Expert Says

Julian Bailes does not say that kids younger than 14 – or anyone else – shouldn’t take part in contact sports such as football.  But they should know the risks, follow the rules, and make sure they are involved with coaches and others who do the right things when it comes to the health of players.

Bailes is someone whose views are particularly worth attention. A former team physician for the Pittsburgh Steelers, he has been a central figure in medical work that has brought to light the links between repeated hits to the head and long-term brain damage among football players.

During an “On the Issues with Mike Gousha” program Tuesday at Marquette Law School, Bailes outlined the history of awareness of the toll that concussions and “sub-concussive” hits to the head can have, going back more than a century. But it has been in recent years that work by doctors, most notably  Bennet Omalu and Bailes, has established the high incidence among former professional football players of a form of brain damage known as CTE. Continue reading “Take Part in Sports, But Minimize the Risks, Sports Concussion Expert Says”

Insights Offered on Working in the White House and Judicial Nomination Gridlock

Posted on Categories Judges & Judicial Process, President & Executive Branch, Public, Sports & LawLeave a comment» on Insights Offered on Working in the White House and Judicial Nomination Gridlock


It was three years from the time Brett Kavanaugh was nominated by President George W. Bush to be a federal appeals court judge to the time when his nomination was approved in 2006. That certainly gave him a first-hand look at the difficulties of getting a federal judicial nominee approved by the U.S. Senate.

“It’s been a mess for decades,” Kavanaugh, who serves on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, said Wednesday during an “On the Issues with Mike Gousha” program at Marquette Law School. Republicans have held up appointments by Democratic presidents. Democrats have help up appointments by Republican presidents.

Kavanaugh would not comment specifically on the current high-profile part of this recurring “mess,” in which President Barrack Obama’s nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court has met a wall of Republican opposition in the Senate.

But Kavanaugh repeated a position he has held for years, one that was in line with the policy Bush advocated when he was president: “There really should be rules of the road agreed on by both parties ahead of time to fix the process. “ Kavanaugh said Bush, during his presidency, had suggested a policy in which nominations would get a vote in the Senate within 180 days. Kavanaugh supported that idea. Continue reading “Insights Offered on Working in the White House and Judicial Nomination Gridlock”

Baseball Diplomacy

Posted on Categories International Law & Diplomacy, Public, Sports & Law1 Comment on Baseball Diplomacy

It has been great fun to watch President Obama in Cuba (and to get to say things like–hey, I was there!) over the last two days.  The one thing we did not get to do on our trip was attend a baseball game since we were rained out twice.  Sigh.  But we did talk about the potential impact of baseball exchanges on the economy and there is no question that both Cuban baseball and obama-cuba-baseball-300x229Major League Baseball will have much to discuss as the thaw continues.  Funnily, I was interviewed on Monday by a Swiss journalist–newspaper article here–about the impact of baseball based on my 2001 article called Baseball Diplomacy examining the controversy back then over the Baltimore Orioles playing a game in Cuba in 1999.  In what now seems like ancient history, I wrote about the Elian Gonzales affair, the Helms-Burton act, and, more pertinently to baseball, the economics of playing baseball in Cuba.  I also discussed how Cuban players are treated when they arrive in the U.S. depending on whether they come directly or via a third country.  I imagine that all of these rules will be updated and changing in the next few years.  And it will be fascinating to watch.  Here’s looking forward to more baseball in both directions!


2016 Mardi Gras Sports Law Moot Court Team Success

Posted on Categories Legal Writing, Marquette Law School, Public, Sports & LawLeave a comment» on 2016 Mardi Gras Sports Law Moot Court Team Success

2016 Mardi GrasThe Marquette Sports Law Moot Court team advanced to the final eight of the 2016 Mardi Gras Sports Law Invitational Competition hosted by Tulane University Law School. Please congratulate team members Alexa Callahan, Darius Love, and Nicole Ways. Professors Matt Mitten and Paul Anderson coached the team.  This year the competition included more than 50 competitors and 26 teams.

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