Students rock Mardi Gras sports law competition

Florida Coastal School of Law competitors won the 2011 National Sports Law Moot Court Competition, known as the Mardi Gras Competition due to its timing during the week before Mardi Gras, this spring in New Orleans.

The team’s success followed an impressive showing during the 2010 competition, won by Dazi Lenoir Williams and Drew Parrish-Bennett, who also was named competitor of the year.

A statement on the organizers’ website said, “all of the judges were impressed with the quality of the teams from the first round through the finals.” The Sports Lawyers Journal and Sports Lawyers Association helped put the competition together. Former president of the Washington Nationals and Atlanta Braves Stan Kasten, a Columbia Law School graduate, was the celebrity guest judge during the final round.

“The competition draws together some of the best sports lawyers in the country to serve as judges,” said Alexander G. “Sander” Moody of the competition, which draws participants from between 35 and 45 law schools annually. “The competition evaluates students on research, writing and oral arguments.”

The school’s consistent achievement has helped it preserve a respectable foothold in the country’s elite sports law field. Coastal Law is one of three schools in the country offering a sports law certificate program. The annual competition allows the law school to showcase the strength of its students to a national audience and industry specialists.

“This gives us an opportunity to demonstrate to the legal community the consistently high quality of our students,” Moody said. “What we’re able to get in, in an objective way, is confirmation of what I see across the podium when I’m teaching — and that’s some of the best law students in the country.”

The school’s Center for Law and Sports includes some of the country’s top sports law attorneys, including Dean Peter Goplerud, former Olympic swimmer and Title IX expert Nancy Hogshead-Makar, Roger Groves and former professional baseball player Rick Karcher. Goplerud is one of the primary authors of the sports law case book.

Coastal Law’s Sports Law Certificate program, which includes a core of coordinated courses about sports industry functions under state and federal laws, is administered through the school’s Center for Law and Sports.

“We’re all about advocacy — that’s what is special about Mardi Gras,” said Moody, who coaches the team. “It gives our moot court the opportunity to draw on the law school’s recognized expertise in sports law and work with professors renowned in the field.”