ASU sports law and business program offers students a premier experience leading to top jobs in the field

If you want to know why the Allan “Bud” Selig Sports Law and Business program at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University is so unique and special, just ask the students:

“It is truly unlike any other sports law program in the country.”

“From top to bottom, everyone involved in the Selig SLB program is genuine, charismatic, motivated, friendly and determined to find students jobs in sports.”

“The exclusivity that the program provides into the sports industry is unmatched, and the passion and desire to be successful is so evident.”

“Tight-knit and genuine community.”

“A supportive, lifelong family.”

“Amazing connections.”

“Specialized curriculum.”

“Always room to learn and grow as an individual in the sports industry.”

“When I think of the Selig SLB program, I automatically think of the people who shaped the program whether that’s the students, the faculty or the administrative and leadership teams.”

One of those who helped shape the program is Allan “Bud” Selig, Major League Baseball commissioner emeritus and distinguished professor of sports in America, for whom the program was named in 2019. A legendary and transformative figure in professional sports, Selig’s teaching, advice, mentorship and financial contributions have been instrumental in the program’s growth and success.

Offering students the opportunity to earn a Master of Sports Law and Business (MSLB) degree or a concurrent Juris Doctor/MSLB degree, the program is the only one of its kind in the nation that blends sports, law and business.

Selig has supported the program since it was started in 2014 and was the founding member of the Sports Law and Business Advisory Board. His record of accomplishments in the sports industry provides a front-row perspective that has greatly benefited the advisory board, along with ASU Law faculty, staff, alumni and the students he teaches.

At the time the program was named for Selig, the Marie Selig Professorship at ASU Law was established in the name of his mother — who was also an educator.

Glenn Wong, distinguished professor of practice and executive director of the sports law and business program, recalls how early in Selig’s tenure as commissioner, he took a leadership position on social justice issues, realizing that baseball was more than a game, that it is a social institution.

“The ASU Law SLB program was planned and developed to prepare students for the sports industry and its direction, which is increasingly relying on both business and legal expertise as decisions are made, along with strategic planning for the future,” Wong said. “Commissioner Selig’s involvement with the program has impacted and will continue to impact our students and alumni — the future leaders in the sports industry.”

Program Director Aaron Hernandez was Selig’s student in 2012 when Hernandez was pursuing his JD at Marquette Law School. Selig taught the school’s professional sports law course with Professor Matt Mitten, executive director of the National Sports Law Institute and a mentor of Hernandez.

“What struck me about Commissioner Selig was his candor and preparation,” Hernandez said. “He really cared about his students, and it was crazy to think he was investing this much time into us, while still being the commissioner of Major League Baseball. He preached the importance of sports in society and how we were the next stewards of that important enterprise.

“I have to pinch myself sometimes when I think about being the director of the sports law and business program named after such a great man,” he added. “It is such an honor to be his former student in this role. Life really came around full circle, and I still try to embody his teachings today.”

And now Hernandez is helping to ensure the next generation of sports law and business students land their dream jobs.

“Our No. 1 priority and every decision we make in the program is based on making sure our students get a job in sports,” Hernandez said. “The pandemic created a situation in which we had to shift gears and ensure we were preparing our students for alternate jobs in the event they weren’t able to land a job in sports right away given how everything had shut down. What happened instead is we were still able to place more than 70% of our 2021 grads in full-time sports jobs — a remarkable feat and one that reminds us of how important it is every day to help students then take the practical experience they gain here to becoming the next leaders in sports.”

Alumni of the program are working in over 20 states across the country, following careers that include leadership roles in athletic conferences and associations, marketing jobs for iconic sports brands, and player representative and relationship management roles for top sports agencies and national sports teams.

In addition to access to world-class faculty, the program offers students the opportunity to meet and network with other top sports industry professionals who serve on the Sports Law and Business Advisory Board that Selig founded. The advisory board includes individuals from every major sports league, including individuals at the collegiate and Olympic level, who have excelled and created a reputation for themselves as the best in the sports industry. The board has provided students with internship and job opportunities, unique insight to current topics within the sports industry, as well as additional career and professional insight.

The program welcomed more than 60 new students to this fall’s incoming class. With 67% coming to the ASU Law program from out of state and 10% international, the students hail from 26 states and seven countries. Forty percent of the class also were student athletes, and 100% have prior sports experience.

“When I decided to apply to graduate school, what made the Selig SLB program so special to me was the uniqueness of the program,” first-year student Griffin Limongelli said. “This is the only program of its kind in the entire country that provides a comprehensive outlook of law, business and sports. When you hear ‘only program of its kind in the country,’ I felt I was applying to become part of something very exclusive, competitive and advantageous in earning a career in sports.”

“As a concurrent JD/MSLB student, the Selig SLB program presented a unique opportunity to combine my interests in sports, law and business,” added Miranda Martinez, who was ASU Law’s 2020–2021 JD recipient of the Allan “Bud” Selig Scholarship. “The program is truly unlike any other sports law program in the country, not only because of its specialized curriculum, but also because of the professors, students and opportunities. Beyond the practical industry experience that the program offers, the wonderful people in the program are undoubtedly what make it special. The program equips students with every tool needed to succeed, and you meet some really great people along the way.”

Hear from more ASU Law Selig SLB students on why they chose the program and what makes it stand out.

Julie Tenney
julie.tenney@asu.edu