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Entertainment and Sports Law Symposium draws industry leaders

Published: January 12th, 2009

Category: News

The Second Annual Entertainment and Sports Law Symposium will bring together some of the best and brightest minds in the world of sports to the University of Florida Levin College of Law on Jan. 23.

The event kicks off at 11 a.m. with a discussion on recruiting, moderated by Professor Thomas Hurst followed by a panel on negotiation. The last two discussions will be on labor issues and the future of sports business, each moderated by UF Law Professors Nick Ohanesian and Jeffrey Harrison. Speakers will include sports law professors at various U.S. legal institutions, sports and marketing agents at top sports and talent agencies, public relations professionals and top wealth advisors.

Keynote speaker, Kevin Sullivan, was appointed by President George W. Bush as assistant to the President for Communications on July 11, 2006. In this position, he oversees White House message development and communications planning.

Previously, Sullivan served as assistant secretary for communications & outreach at the U.S. Department of Education, beginning in May 2005 and receiving Senate confirmation in July 2005. Before joining the Administration, Sullivan was senior vice president for corporate communications & media relations at NBC Universal, where he aligned strategic communications planning across the company’s many divisions and cable networks.

From Feb. 2000 to Oct. 2004, Sullivan served as vice president for communications at NBC Sports. In this role, he led NBC’s communications efforts for three Olympic Games and for properties such as the U.S. Open, PGA Tour and Ryder Cup; the National Basketball Association (NBA); Major League Baseball; NASCAR; Wimbledon; Notre Dame football; and horse racing’s Triple Crown.

Prior to NBC Sports, Sullivan worked for the Dallas Mavericks, where he was regarded one of the NBA’s top public relations executives. Sullivan joined the Mavericks at the inception of the franchise and spent 18 years with the organization, advancing to become vice president of communications, a role which included responsibility for the team’s charity foundation and radio and television broadcasts.

Sullivan won’t be the only expert speaking at the symposium. Bill Rasmussen, founder of ESPN and recently, the College Fanz Sports Network, will give the closing remarks at the symposium this year.

Bill Rasmussen and his team launched College Fanz Sports Network 28 years to the day after launching his most famous earlier creation, ESPN.

He has been called “The Father of Cable Sports” by USA Today (Sept. 1994). Rasmussen’s entrepreneurial daring led to the world’s first 24-hour cable television network, ESPN, where he pioneered such innovations as “SportsCenter,” wall-to-wall coverage of NCAA regular season and “March Madness” basketball, and NFL draft coverage.

Rasmussen was named to The Sports 100, honoring the 100 most important people in American Sports History. His place in sports history was recognized by Sports Illustrated in 1994 when he was honored as one of the “Forty for the Ages,” one of 40 individuals who has significantly altered and elevated the world of sport during the second half of the 20th century.

The symposium serves as an excellent opportunity for students to network and learn from those in the sports profession. The symposium is free and all are welcome.

For a detailed agenda, list of speakers and discussion topics, visit

For more information, contact Darren Heitner at




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