Global sports experts to speak

"Salary caps, drafts and player transfer rules can — and frequently do — run foul of anti-trust law in this country and others with similar laws," said Opie, the Robert Boden Professor of Law at the law school.

Because of his knowledge in the area, Opie, a visiting professor from the University of Melbourne, will be part of a panel discussing the issue during the two-day International Sports Law Conference that begins in the Alumni Memorial Union at 8:00 a.m. today.

The event, called "International Sports Law and Business in the 21st Century," is a combination of the annual one-day conference hosted by the National Sports Law Institute of Marquette University Law School and The International Association of Sports Law's ninth Congress.

"They wanted to come to the U.S.," said NSLI director Matt Mitten, acknowledging that a majority of the previous Congresses had been held in Europe although Iran and Uruguay have also hosted the event. "They recognized we have a sports law institute with a national reputation … (so) they came to Marquette."

A number of internationally recognized individuals in sports law and related fields will travel to Milwaukee for the event. Paul Anderson, the associate director of the NSLI, expects 170 people from 14 different countries and six continents to be in attendance.

During the conference they will have the opportunity to listen to — and take part in — panels that are designed to discuss some of the prominent sports law issues presently being encountered.

In addition to the issue of player restraints, panelists will discuss sports facility financing; sports stadium safety issues; solutions to sports disputes; sale and movement of franchises; internationalization of sports; and drug testing.

Other notable features of the conference include the involvement of Ulice Payne, Donna de Varona and Richard Pound.

"There's never been anyone on U.S. soil more important for sports," Anderson said of Pound. "He's about as big as you can get."

Pound serves as president of the World Anti-Doping Agency and represents Canada in the International Olympic Committee. He most recently served as the vice president of the IOC from 1996-2000, and he coordinated the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.

De Varona, the winner of two gold medals in swimming during the 1964 Olympic Games, will be on hand to receive the NSLI's Master of the Game Award during a luncheon reception Friday. After she retired from competitive sports in 1965, de Varona founded the Women's Sports Federation and received an Emmy Award for her work as an ABC Sports broadcaster.

Payne is the Keynote Speaker at today's luncheon. He is the President and CEO of the Milwaukee Brewers, and later in the day those in attendance will have the opportunity to tour the team's stadium, Miller Park.

Mitten hopes the combination of panels, speakers and events will result in a productive conference.

"The eyes of the international sports law community are on Marquette and Milwaukee," he said. "Hopefully we provide a unique conference that brings together sports law experts to talk about cutting edge sports law.

"This will also allow us to develop contacts and connections with those who teach around the world and it will increase our reputation. It also enables students to realize the globalization of sports law and (experience) its international aspects."