iOS app Android app

Roger I. Abrams
Professor Abrams is a prolific author and leading authority on sports and labor law and legal education. He has served as a salary arbitrator for major league baseball and as a permanent arbitrator for the television, communications, electronics and coal industries, for the U.S. Customs Service, Internal Revenue Service, Walt Disney World, the State of Florida and Lockheed-Martin Company.

Professor Abrams has published six books on the business and history of sports: Legal Bases: Baseball and the Law (1998), The Money Pitch: Baseball Free Agency and Salary Arbitration (2000), The First World Series and the Baseball Fanatics of 1903 (2003), The Dark Side of the Diamond: Gambling, Violence, Drugs and Alcoholism in the National Pastime (2008) and Sports Justice (2010). His most recent book, Playing Tough:The World of Politicis and Sports, was published in 2013. In addition, Professor Abrams is co-author of the leading Sports Law casebook published by Foundation Press. His next project is a book on alternative dispute resolution entitled Inside Arbitration: Deciding a Labor and Employment Dispute to be published by Bloomberg BNA in 2014.

Professor Abrams was appointed to lead the law school in July 1999 and stepped down in 2002. He served as dean of both Rutgers University's law school in Newark, New Jersey, and Nova University Shepard Broad Law Center in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, before coming to Northeastern. He began his academic career on the faculty of Case Western Reserve University School of Law in Cleveland, Ohio, where he became the youngest tenured full professor in the history of that university. After graduating from Harvard Law School cum laude in 1970, he clerked for Judge Frank M. Coffin of the US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in Boston, and then practiced with the Boston firm of Foley, Hoag & Eliot in the areas of labor law and civil rights litigation. Professor Abrams is an elected member of the American Law Institute, the American Bar Foundation, the National Academy of Arbitrators and the Massachusetts Historical Society.

Entries by Roger I. Abrams

Goodbye, Goodell

(5) Comments | Posted September 11, 2014 | 5:23 PM

The sports chattering class has now called for the dismissal of Commissioner Roger Goodell. That may happen if facts keep appearing out of the blogosphere that point to duplicity on the part of the leader of the National Football League. He has apologized for "getting it wrong" when he at...

Read Post

A Change in the Seasons

(0) Comments | Posted September 6, 2014 | 2:20 PM

For many sports fans, this week brings the long-awaited change in the seasons. The National Football League -- the most popular of our sports pastimes -- returns with a full schedule of games that actually count in the standings. While those with favorite clubs still in contention for baseball's post-season...

Read Post

Shunning the Washington Nothings

(1) Comments | Posted August 24, 2014 | 11:17 AM

There is a professional football team in Washington, a member club of the National Football League. Like the other 31 teams, the Washington team has a nickname, but its descriptor is a pejorative reference to Native Americans. When teaching Sports Law this summer, I did not use that nickname to...

Read Post

Commissioner Manfred

(0) Comments | Posted August 15, 2014 | 3:42 PM

It is always a pleasure when the electorate does the right thing. The electorate in this case was the 30 club owners of Major League Baseball, and they selected Rob Manfred as their next commissioner. I have known Rob for 15 years, and he has visited my Sports Law class....

Read Post

O'Bannon's Slam Dunk

(0) Comments | Posted August 10, 2014 | 5:23 PM

The world of college athletics was changed this week by the decision of a federal district court judge in California who ruled that the NCAA violates the nation's antitrust laws when it prohibits college athletes from marketing their names and likenesses. The court's antitrust analysis, which appears to be spot...

Read Post

The Ray Rice Suspension

(1) Comments | Posted July 31, 2014 | 11:36 AM

It can be dangerous business to publicly comment on the disciplinary action taken by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell regarding Ravens running back Ray Rice. His two-game suspension of Rice for domestic violence has outraged many commentators for its leniency. Others who have downplayed the seriousness of Rice's misconduct or blamed...

Read Post

Welcome Home, Lebron

(1) Comments | Posted July 11, 2014 | 3:57 PM

The startling announcement that Lebron James will return home to play for the Cleveland Cavaliers has set the sports world all ajumble. Of course, the world's finest basketball player will be paid handsomely for his efforts on the court, but this move means so much more than simple economics. We...

Read Post

'I Believe That We Will Win!'

(0) Comments | Posted July 3, 2014 | 9:45 AM

The 2014 World Cup in Brazil is over as far as the United States team is concerned. The extra time defeat at the hands (actually, the feet) of Belgian squad ended the dream. It has been a remarkable few weeks for soccer among Americans with incessant media hype and an...

Read Post

The Demise of a Racial Slur

(0) Comments | Posted June 18, 2014 | 2:39 PM

The U.S. Patent & Trademark Office has cancelled the Washington Redskins' trademark registration, calling the football team's name disparaging to Native Americans. While this is the first step in what could become a lengthy judicial proceeding, it reflects a growing recognition in our country that we have begun to move...

Read Post

My World Cup Runneth Over

(0) Comments | Posted June 12, 2014 | 12:19 PM

I have tried to fall in love with the beautiful game. In fact, when I taught a semester in the UK during a sabbatical, I even purchased shares in the Tottenham Hotspur Football Club, and I proudly wear its colors. The problem is that for me -- and apparently no...

Read Post

Painkiller Lawsuit Against the NFL Will Cause the League a Serious Headache

(2) Comments | Posted May 24, 2014 | 11:53 AM

Fresh from tentatively settling the class action lawsuit based on the concussions suffered by its players, the National Football League faces a new challenge that promises to cause the League migraines for years to come. Eight former NFL players -- Richard Dent, Jim McMahon, Jeremy Newberry, Roy Green, J.D. Hill,...

Read Post

Out With the Old and In With the New

(0) Comments | Posted May 14, 2014 | 12:28 PM

I am sure we have all calmed down from the frothy excitement of this year's NFL draft. Wasn't it just thrilling when Commissioner Goodell announced each pick as if it were a "pick six" -- an interception for a touchdown? The draft is a deadly dull exercise in economics. Any...

Read Post

A Sterling Example

(0) Comments | Posted May 2, 2014 | 11:40 AM

Every so often we are reminded why the United States is a special place. Even though we can't seem to agree that it is a bad idea to allow people to walk around public places armed to the hilt, we stand up against terrorists who try to intimidate us by...

Read Post

'I've Got a Horse Right Here; His Name Is Paul Revere.'

(0) Comments | Posted April 28, 2014 | 4:45 PM

My favorite Broadway musical is Guys and Dolls, built around horse racing, gambling and the Damon Runyon characters. In the opening scene, "Nicely, Nicely" Johnson begins the "Fugue for Tinhorns" by announcing "I've got a horse right here; his name is Paul Revere. And here's a guy that says if...

Read Post

The New NCAA

(2) Comments | Posted April 14, 2014 | 5:37 PM

Based on a series of pending legal matters, the NCAA may be entering a period of reconception. In the O'Bannon case, now set for trial in June, a court may rule that the NCAA cannot limit the use of the images of current and former student athletes for commercial purposes....

Read Post

'Whatever They Need, We Will Get Them'

(0) Comments | Posted April 7, 2014 | 5:49 PM

Northwestern football coach Pat Fitzgerald strongly urged his players to reject the effort to unionize the Wildcat team. In doing so, he reiterated themes that have characterized management's response to unionization since the Wagner Act was enacted in 1935. Apparently, only management knows what their employees really need. Only the...

Read Post

The NCAA and the Law

(2) Comments | Posted March 28, 2014 | 4:15 PM

Within its realm, the NCAA is the absolute sovereign. Armed with a rule book as large as a small house, the Association enforces its edicts without much challenge. The NCAA will even penalize a member school for not admitting to its transgressions. This autocracy in Indianapolis has the first, middle...

Read Post

How to Become a Sports Lawyer

(0) Comments | Posted March 24, 2014 | 6:48 PM

I have been chatting with some future law students about how to become a sports lawyer. It is the dream of many young men and women, stoked by the legends of Jerry Maguire and stories of real-life super-agents like Scott Boras. Sports is so pervasive in American society. We see...

Read Post

Fit to be Tied

(1) Comments | Posted March 11, 2014 | 9:10 AM

One of the defining characteristics of baseball is that the game continues until there is a winner. Extra-inning games are common, although it is rare that they extend beyond a few extra frames. However, in 1981 the AAA Pawtucket Red Sox and Rochester Red Wings played for 33 innings --...

Read Post

Opening Day -- But It Doesn't Count

(0) Comments | Posted March 1, 2014 | 4:49 PM

Today was Opening Day in spring training in Sarasota, Florida. The Baltimore Orioles hosted the Toronto Blue Jays in a game that didn't count, an upbeat, cheerful -- even joyous -- occasion. Neither club has lost a game that counts in the standings. Everyone was in a good mood.


Read Post