Q&A with the Expert – Betsy Goff
Betsy is an attorney and sports law professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
Question: What were the circumstances that caused you to gravitate to sports law?
Answer: Serendipity: an interview was arranged and, through perseverance, I eventually got a job as “contract attorney” for ABC Sports, back in the day (1974) when ABC Sports was the holy grail.
Within the sports law field, what are your areas of expertise?
Contracts, negotiations and, long ago, sport television but the media has changed so dramatically since those days that my “expertise” is atavistic.
What is the most significant sports law case that you’ve been involved in?
A governmental inquiry into the legitimacy of professional boxing rankings; MSG TV v. NY Yankees over first negotiation/first refusal clause in telecast rights agreement.
What is the most rewarding thing about being a sports law professor?
Providing insights into the realities – rather than the philosophies – that kids will face in the business of sports.
Do you have a pedagogical philosophy when it comes to your academic practice?
Yes. Sports is as competitive in the board room as it is on the field, and the need to have the courage to stand up and be heard is critical for survival. I tell each class on the first day of every semester that anyone whose name I know through his/her participation in class discussion will get an A.
Do you teach in the fall, spring and/or summer?
From 2002 through 2017, spring and fall; starting in 2018, fall only.
Do you use a text? If so, which one?
When I do use a book, which is increasingly less frequently, I use “Sport Law: A Managerial Approach” (Sharpe, Moorman and Claussen). Recently I have found that text books are so expensive many kids don’t (can’t) buy them, and those who do, rarely read the assignments anyhow, so I use articles, old PPs and current events to illustrate what I’m hoping to teach. I also like Sports Litigation Alert. I assign it every semester.