Popular Business-Law Series Kicks Off With Discussion of College Athletes’ Rights Movement

The Equity Now Speaker Series starts on October 3

A hockey player skates toward the camera.

(iStock Photo)

The School of Business’ popular Equity Now Speaker Series resumes this fall with a discussion about the relatively new opportunity for college athletes to profit from the use of their name, image and likeness.

“The College Athletes’ Rights Movement: Antitrust, Employment, and NIL’’ will be the topic of a presentation at 6 p.m. Oct. 3 by Marc Edelman, a law professor at Baruch College and the Director of Sports Business Ethics at the Robert Zicklin Center for Corporate Integrity.

His presentation is the first of a four-part series addressing diversity, equity, and fairness issues, both in the workplace and society at large. The one-hour programs are presented online.

Please pre-register at this link.

UConn business law professor Robert Bird, who organizes the speaker series, says it has been well-received because the topics are broad enough to interest many, and they address issues that impact people at work and in other aspects of their lives.

“Our speakers draw from their personal and professional experience to deliver lectures that are topical, engaging, and readily applicable to a wide range of audiences,’’ he says. “The speakers this year represent leading experts in their domains, delivering cutting-edge information about popular issues facing diversity, equity, and inclusion.’’

Student Athletes Should Be Cautious, Investigate Potential Partnerships

On July 1, 2021, a U.S. Supreme Court decision ended nearly all NCAA restrictions on what athletes could earn from their name, image and likeness (NIL). The relaxation of restrictions on college athletes and endorsements has been a significant and far-reaching development, Edelman says. Many were surprised by the speed with which the change occurred, he says.

Edelman will address important legal changes in the landscape of college sports, ranging from new state laws to Supreme Court decisions to changes in the National Labor Relations Board view for assessing employment status of college athletes. He will also discuss how these changes support goals of both social justice and free markets.

“The present National Labor Relations board is more amenable to the cause of college athletes and is moving at a speed few expected,’’ Edelman says. And while many are happy to see athletes profit from their hard work, some within the college sports industry are less than pleased, he says.

While Edelman suggested that the increased economic opportunities for college athletes are overwhelmingly a good thing, he also acknowledged that “college athletes need to be careful about who they select to represent them. Someone may come to them with a great presentation, but they also need to understand the law and how to operate ethically.’’

Edelman has published more than 70 law journal articles and presented research at some 150 academic conferences, and frequently testifies before government agencies. His research on athlete rights has earned multiple awards. He has been interviewed on CNN, CNBC, and by the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post.

Future Speakers Address Diversity and Inclusion, Civil Discourse

The second lecture, slated for November, will focus on “Leading DEI in a Post-Affirmative Action Environment.’’ Guest speaker Robert Thomas, associate dean for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging at Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business, will lead the discussion.

The series will continue in the spring with a conversation titled, “Hear Me Out: A Lesson in Civil Discourse.’’ Professor Cheryl Black from Belmont University will be the guest speaker.

A fourth presentation is currently being finalized.


The Equity Now Speaker Series is produced by UConn in conjunction with the Academy of Legal Studies in Business, Virginia Tech, Indian University, Boston University and Temple University. The Equity Now affiliates disseminate the speaker series to their students, faculty, and alumni networks, expanding the reach in academic circles and beyond.