I wanted to take some time today to share a bit about my experience two weeks ago acting as one of the judges for Tulane’s Pro Football Negotiation Competition and help bring some more awareness to the competition, which they are hoping to grow even bigger in the future. For those unaware, Tulane’s Sports Law program has been one of the most prominent programs in jumpstarting the careers of sports front office hopefuls and this competition is just one of the ways that they are furthering that reputation by being the first to focus on football specific competition. It is something that all sports law students should consider in the future to compete in.
As a judge my job was to watch and offer feedback on a 40 minute negotiation in which teams of law students from around the country either represented the team side or agent side of a NFL player negotiation. I was very impressed with the quality of participants and presentations made by the teams. All were very prepared and offered compelling cases for their sides. I had four competitions to judge on day 1 and in every case it was difficult to select a winner because both sides came so prepared and argued their points very well to help come to an agreement.
On day 2 I judged the semi-finals and finals along with Nick Sabella of the Bears and Trip MacCracken of the Chiefs. The work that all sides put into the those finals was tremendous and for teams that I had judged previously it was nice to see how they had applied the advice they had received from myself and other judges to creating their final negotiation strategy. I personally found the feedback from Trip and Nick useful for myself and I think that everyone who attended really got something out of being able to view the finals.
It was very flattering to see how many people knew of the OTC site and were able to use some of the things I discuss to help formulate their strategies on how to approach a negotiation. I was able to meet some great young men and women outside of the judges role at a dinner on Friday night and talk not just about learning the salary cap and various contract metrics but about all kinds of topics ranging from the Jets to the beer of the week selection to a rather unexpected discussion on the latest Star Wars movie. All of the judges were interacting with the students that night and that alone I think was worth the decision for the students to take part in the competition.
I also want to thank the Tulane Sports Law Society for having me as a judge. Through the years I’ve gotten to interact via email with Ryan, who has already graduated, AJ and Harrison as they look to learn more about NFL contracts and contract mechaisms that I discuss on the site. Actually getting a chance to meet them in person as well as so many others from Tulane was great. I also met Gabe Feldman who is the director of their program and he was very engaging and it’s easy to see why that program is so successful. They ran a great competition and expect it to grow in the future.
Below you will find the Tulane press release from the competition to give some added information on the competition. I highly encourage any law student who may want to work in the NFL to strongly consider competing next year. It really is an opportunity like no other to compete and network with your peers. Feel free to email me about any particular questions or thoughts on the competition and Tulane’s email is also included for official information and sign ups for next year. Hope to meet more readers there next year!
2nd Annual Tulane Pro Football Negotiation Competition
The Second Annual Tulane Pro Football Negotiation Competition (TPFNC), hosted by the Tulane Law School Sports Law Society took place on January 29th and 30th and featured teams from 17 law schools competing in a mock contract negotiation for real NFL players such as Josh Norman, Von Miller, Harrison Smith and Alshon Jeffery. The teams were given a side of the negotiation to represent, either the team side or the agent side representing the player, a list of objectives they were to achieve in the final contract agreement, and 40 minutes to argue their side’s position and come to an agreement with the other team.
When the time was up, they were graded and given feedback on their performance by judges who have experience in the industry including: Trip MacCracken, Vice President of Football Administration for the Kansas City Chiefs; Khai Harley, Vice President of Football Administration for the New Orleans Saints; Martin Fischman, sports agent and founder of Fischman & Wiltz Sports in New Orleans; Jason Fitzgerald, founder of one of the most recognized NFL salary cap websites OverTheCap.com; and Nick Sabella, Football Administration Assistant with the Chicago Bears. In addition to the competition itself, teams were given an opportunity to meet and interact with the judges and other competitors during the evening networking event.
“[The Competition] exceeded my expectations,” said Sabella. “You could tell the groups put a lot of work into it, and I can’t wait to see how the competition grows in future years.”
Any law student/school interested in participating in next year’s competition may direct their inquiries to the TPFNC Committee at firstname.lastname@example.org
Jason is the founder of OTC and has been studying NFL contracts and the salary cap for over 15 years. Jason has co-authored two books about the NFL, Crunching Numbers and the Drafting Stage, which are widely circulated in the industry and hosts the OTC Podcast. Jason’s work has been featured in various publications including the Sporting News, Sports Illustrated, NFL Network and more. OTC is widely considered the leading authority on contract matters in the NFL.