Sports Law Scholar Visits Quinney College

Attorney and educator Peter Carfagna visited the S.J. Quinney College of Law January 10-11, serving as the College’s inaugural Sports Law Scholar in Residence. During his visit, Carfagna discussed trends in sports law and professional athletic representation at a lunchtime lecture and offered advice to students on the field of sports law.

Carfagna, a partner at Calfee, Halter & Griswold LLP, in Cleveland, Ohio, and distinguished visiting practitioner at Case Western Reserve University School of Law, served as the chief legal officer/general counsel of the influential sports management and marketing group IMG for 10 years.  During his visit, he provided the lunchtime audience with hypotheticals that illustrated current trends and concerns in sports recruiting and regulation, and discussed the myriad responsibilities of athlete-agents, including avoiding conflicts of interest, the growth of corporate consulting, and the importance of encouraging clients to practice sound financial management.

On the subject of financial management, Carfagna discussed a phenomenon he called “the Entourage Syndrome,” in which a professional athlete continues to compete beyond his peak years in order to support a cadre of hangers-on.  “Andre Agassi played beyond when he maybe should have because he had 64 employees,” he noted.  Carfagna also described psychological dimension of management, noting that “the challenge of representing superstars as talking them out of things their buddies want them to do.”

In his wide-ranging comments, Carfagna also reflected on the current controversy surrounding the use of banned performance-enhancing substances. “How many people believed Roger Clemens’ denial in [recent interviews]?” he asked the audience.

“My advice to Clemens would have been to come clean,” he said. “People forgive and forget.”

One of the students who met with Carfagna, 3L Tyler Buswell was particularly impressed with Carfagna’s generosity: “My greatest impresson was that he listened to me before he gave advice. He took time to find out about my situation and then gave recommendations for how to get into the area of sports law. Although he is one of the most respected sports legal scholars, he seemed genuinely interested in me, a lowly law student, who he met for the first time.  He offered his assistance in the future as well.  I truly hope to keep in contact with him.”