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Top Sports Law Programs in the United States

University of Virginia School of Law

This piece was co-authored by Dylan Harriger and Hayes Rule

Disclaimer: In no way does The Business of College Sports endorse any of these law schools. The authors of this article currently attend Florida State University College of Law and the University of New Hampshire, Franklin Pierce School of Law.

Many prospective law students inquire as to which law school is the best for sports law. We decided to look into this and create a list for students to reference during the application process.

Methodology: We looked at bar passage rates, employment data, cost of attendance, number of sports law courses offered, sports law certificate programs, sports law institutes/centers, sports law journals, and sports law societies. Alumni placement in sports law roles was also considered. Data and program information were found on the American Bar Association website and individual law school websites.

Law School Sports Law Programs to Consider

In no particular order, here are the programs we are highlighting based on the methodology above.

Tulane University School of Law (New Orleans, LA)

Tulane University law school

Led by Professor Gabe Feldman, Tulane is home to the oldest and one of the most successful sports law programs. The Center for Sports allows students to earn a sports law certificate, work on the Sports Lawyers Journal, and host/compete in some of the top sports law student competitions. The competitions involve several areas of sports law, such as basketball, baseball, and football. There is also an annual Moot Court Competition. The Sports Lawyers Journal is published by the Sports Lawyers Association and distributed to thousands of sports lawyers, professors, and students. Tulane is known to host many speakers who help further its student’s understanding and career opportunities in sports law. Located in New Orleans, there are plenty of local opportunities for which students can get involved. Tulane is known for placing sports law students nationally.

Villanova University, Charles Widger School of Law (Villanova, PA)

Led by Professor Andrew Brandt, the sports law program at Villanova is one of the top sports law programs in the United States. The Jeffrey S. Moorad Center for the Study of Sports Law provides students with ample opportunities. Within the Center, students can participate in the Jeffrey S. Moorad Sports Law Journal and assist with the online sports law blog. Villanova hosts frequent sports law events including the annual Journal Symposium. The Sports Law Certificate program offers students a robust sports law curriculum. Located right outside Philadelphia, Villanova is right near many sports teams and law firms with sports law practices.

Marquette University Law School (Milwaukee, WI)

Led by Professor Matthew Mitten and Professor Paul Anderson, Marquette’s sports law program is one of the premier sports law programs. The Marquette Sports Law Review offers students the opportunity to work on one of the few sports law journals that exist. Marquette offers a plethora of sports law courses and a sports law certificate. Affiliated with the National Sports Law Institute, Marquette provides further opportunities to its students to get involved. The NSLI and Marquette Law play host to multiple annual seminars and conferences. Located in Milwaukee, there are many ways to get involved with sports law. Marquette is also well known for placing its sports law students across the United States.

The University of New Hampshire, Franklin Pierce School of Law (Concord, NH)

The University of New Hampshire, Franklin Pierce School of Law

Led by renowned sports law expert Professor Michael McCann, UNH has one of the most robust sports law course offerings in the United States. UNH’s Sports & Entertainment Law Institute has a Betting Certificate Program as well as a Sports Law Certificate program. The Sports Betting Program is one of the most innovative sports law-related offerings and the first of its kind. Known as an intellectual property powerhouse, many course offerings touch on both sports and intellectual property law. The Sports & Entertainment Law Institute hosts events and conferences throughout the year with top names across the sports law industry. Last year, UNH held a sport betting symposium that bolstered many prominent sports betting leaders. Just an hour from Boston, UNH provides students with a network for many sports teams, events, and firms with sports law departments. In recent years, UNH has placed students in summer sports law positions across the country. 

Arizona State University, Sandra Day O’Connor School of Law (Phoenix, AZ)

Led by Professor Glenn Wong and Professor Aaron Hernandez, the concurrent Master of Sports Law & Business/J.D. program at Arizona State offers students a seven-semester track to earn both a J.D. and an MSLB. This innovative program allows for students to take numerous sports law-related courses while also completing their law degree. Students at Arizona State can participate in the Sports & Entertainment Law Journal and the online blog. Located in a major sports city, students have the opportunity to work with a plethora of professional sports teams (such as the Arizona Diamondbacks) and Arizona State athletics. In addition to these local opportunities, ASU has placed students in sports law roles across the United States.

Harvard Law School (Cambridge, MA)

Harvard University

Led by Professor Peter Carfagna, Harvard offers students a plethora of sports law possibilities. Students can participate in The Committee on Sports and Entertainment Law, The Harvard Journal of Sports and Entertainment Law, The Harvard Law School Sports Clinic, and the Annual Harvard Sports Law Symposium. The sports and entertainment law journal is among the best in the country, and the annual symposium draws some of the biggest names in sports law and highlights the top issues in the field. Harvard routinely places students in sports law internships during the school year — specifically the Brooklyn Nets.

The University of Florida, Levin College of Law (Gainesville, FL)

University of Florida Levin College of Law

The Levin College of Law offers its students a Curriculum Roadmap in Entertainment & Sports Law. This roadmap allows students to take several sports law-related courses to better their understanding of the field. Also, the Levin College of Law plays host to an Entertainment and Sports Law Symposium that is widely organized by students. Recently, the Levin College of Law launched the Florida Entertainment & Sports Law Review, which will further allow students to get involved with sports law. With prominent sports law alumni Kristi Dosh (who founded this site) and Darren Heitner, it’s no surprise to see Florida on this list. 

Duke University School of Law (Durham, NC)

Led by Professor Paul Haagen and Professor Doriane Lambelet Coleman, the Center for Sports Law and Policy places Duke Law among the top sports law programs. Currently, the Center focuses on the regulation and business of professional, Olympic, and education-based sports, the welfare of athletes, and the promise of sport as a social good. Its recent Future of College Sports Series has focused on Name, Image, and Likeness legislation. This series has featured Senator Cory Booker among other prominent sports law and policy leaders.

University of Mississippi School of Law (Oxford, MS)

Led by Professor Will Berry, Ole Miss has been a mainstay in sports law education for years. Ole Miss offers a concentration in sports & entertainment law that consists of several sports law-related courses. Students can participate in the Mississippi Sports Law Review, and the annual symposia that average attendance of 250. Ole Miss hosts speakers throughout the year on sports law-related topics. Its students have the opportunity to work with the Ole Miss athletic compliance department, among other possibilities.

University of Virginia School of Law (Charlottesville, VA)

University of Virginia School of Law

Virginia Law offers a professional sports law course annually led by Professor Mark S. Levinstein and Professor Donald L. Dell. Virginia Law offers its students the opportunity to work on the well known Virginia Sports and Entertainment Law Journal. With over a dozen graduates working in sports law, UVA boasts arguably the top sports law alumni.

University of Miami School of Law (Coral Gables, FL)

Led by Professor Patricia D. White and Professor Peter Carfagna, Miami offers a bevy of sports law courses, including the joint J.D. LL.M Entertainment, Arts, and Sports Law program. Miami Law hosts plenty of sports law-related programming, including the Global Entertainment & Sports Law + Industry Conference. Being in one of the top sports law cities is a huge draw, as Coral Gables is less than five miles from Miami. The program also offers short, one-week courses focusing on sports law content and has typically offered students a chance to intern with Jay-Z’s Roc Nation and/or the Miami Dolphins.

University of Oregon School of Law (Eugene, OR)

Led by Professor Robert Illig, Oregon offers a unique sports law program. The Oregon Law Summer Sports Institute is a five-week summer program worth six credits. During this summer program, students learn about antitrust, labor, intellectual property, Title IX, compliance, arbitration, torts, and other areas of sports law. This program is also open to visiting students and is certainly something to consider if you attend a different law school.

Honorable Mentions

Fordham University School of Law (New York, NY)

University at Buffalo School of Law (SUNY) (Buffalo, NY)

University of North Carolina School of Law (Chapel Hill, NC)

George Mason University, Antonin Scalia Law School (Fairfax, VA)

Florida State University College of Law (Tallahassee, FL)

UCLA School of Law (Los Angeles, CA)

Pepperdine University, Caruso School of Law (Malibu, CA)

University of Georgia School of Law (Athens, GA)

Ohio State University, Moritz College of Law (Columbus, OH)

Author

  • Dylan is a 3L at the University of New Hampshire Franklin Pierce School of Law. At UNH Law, Dylan serves as the President of the Sports & Entertainment Law Society and sits on the Moot Court Advisory Board as the Trademarks Coach. In 2020, Dylan co-founded and serves as co-president for the Student Sports Law Network (SSLN). SSLN is a global network that connects law students interested in the field of sports law. Before law school, Dylan completed his Master's degree at Texas A&M University and his Bachelor's degree at Houston Baptist University where he was a member of the football team. Dylan has previously contributed to the Sports Lawyers Association blog and sports attorney Darren Heitner's blog.

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