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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

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....

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'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...

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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...

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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...

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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 --...

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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.


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Are College Athletes Employees?

(1) Comments | Posted February 20, 2014 | 2:40 PM

Members of the Wildcat football team at Northwestern University have filed a representation petition with the Regional Office of the National Labor Relations Board in Chicago, seeking a Labor Board-conducted election to determine whether a majority of the players want to be represented by a union for purposes of collective...

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When Men Were Men

(1) Comments | Posted February 15, 2014 | 10:17 AM

It must be terribly unsettling for old-timers to see how life has changed. Everything used to be so certain -- a place for everything and, of course, everything in its place. This peaceful stability -- where white, heterosexual Protestants ruled America and so-called family values prevailed -- has now been...

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Change the Rules of the Games

(0) Comments | Posted February 7, 2014 | 10:04 AM

Now that the extremely dull 2014 Super Bowl has cleared the sports airways, we can get down to the business of reforming the games we love. (By the way, my vote for MVP -- Most Valuable Pipes -- goes to Renee Fleming, who performed better than the entire Broncos team.)...

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A-Rod Needs a History Lesson

(2) Comments | Posted January 22, 2014 | 12:42 PM

While Alex Rodriquez may be off the front pages for the moment, this hiatus will give him the opportunity to study up on the history of labor relations in the national pastime. He has railed against the labor arbitration process and the man who ran the process in his case,...

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A-Rod is Unrepentant and Vows Appeal

(1) Comments | Posted January 11, 2014 | 1:14 PM

Midday on January 11, 2014, Arbitrator Federic Horowitz issued his expected decision upholding the suspension of Alex Rodriquez under the terms of the agreement reached by Major League Baseball and reducing its duration from 211 games to 162 games, sidelining A-Rod for the 2014 season. Within minutes, Mr. Rodriquez issued...

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Let the Games Begin!

(0) Comments | Posted January 7, 2014 | 3:36 PM

In a few weeks, some of the finest athletes in the world will gather for the quadrennial Winter Olympic festival in Sochi, Russia. The last time the Olympics were held in Russia, it was still the Soviet Union, and the Americans, among other nations, did not send a team to...

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The Triumph of Collective Bargaining

(14) Comments | Posted November 26, 2011 | 3:32 PM

This has been quite a week in the business of sports. Club owners in baseball and basketball have settled their labor disputes with the unions representing their players through the arduous process of collective bargaining. While the parties in baseball were expected to reach an agreement, their history of failed...

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The Arrogance of College Athletics

(200) Comments | Posted November 12, 2011 | 11:26 AM

Every time there is a new scandal involving college athletics hope arises among observers that the latest incident will result in a wholesale rethinking of the entire "amateur" enterprise. When Woody Hayes punched a kid playing for Clemson and Bobby Knight choked one of his "student-athletes," the media seemed interested...

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Al Davis' Legacy

(0) Comments | Posted October 10, 2011 | 6:02 PM

The death of Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis has produced an abundance of contradictory remembrances of the man who was proud to be considered a maverick. Davis confronted the National Football League cartel in federal court when his fellow owners would not allow him to relocate his franchise to the...

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In Search of Gold

(1) Comments | Posted September 21, 2011 | 1:10 PM

Although the college football season is in full swing, most of the attention of the media and the public has been on the frenetic pace of schools moving from one conference to another in search of gold. Like those who rushed to the west to pan for nuggets, the universities...

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College Football Is a Mess

(33) Comments | Posted August 21, 2011 | 6:40 PM

The recent headlines about the perversions in college football have appalled observers, but no one could really have been surprised. The University of Miami fiasco is only the latest in a series of contretemps that spread back over a century. While enforced amateurism is really a post-World War...

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The Parties to the NFL Negotiations Have Run Out the Clock

(3) Comments | Posted July 25, 2011 | 11:03 AM

The NFL owners and the NFL Players Association have finally decided to play "Let's Make a Deal!" That is not surprising, considering the amount of money that would have been squandered had the parties not reached an agreement. I had told my friends not to worry about the NFL...

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What to Do With All Your Free Time

(13) Comments | Posted July 1, 2011 | 5:11 PM

Now that the NBA has joined the NFL in lockout mode, it is time to think about what we are going to do with all our new free time. For some, there will be wailings, dismay and disgust. How can all these guys take away our gusto? What right do...

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A Change in the Game of Baseball We Can Believe in

(36) Comments | Posted June 19, 2011 | 7:10 PM

Word has leaked out of early collective bargaining negotiations between Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association that, in addition to the usual set of issues involving revenue sharing, luxury taxes and player benefits, the parties are discussing a fundamental change in the structure of the leagues....

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