Sports Law

Our sports industry team has the experience and knowledge to ensure our clients thrive in a dynamic landscape, where the financial stakes and the scope of regulations are constantly increasing. Members of our team regularly represent intercollegiate and professional coaches, players, athletic directors, team administrators, sports agents and franchises in a full spectrum of legal matters ranging from first contracts to complex renegotiations, disputes, litigation and beyond. 

The legal arena is nearly as much a part of the sports world as is the field of play. Headlines centering on the likes of Title IX issues, NCAA investigations, banned substances, eligibility disputes, and player-owner conflicts regularly dominate the sports page. Members of our team possess legal backgrounds as diverse as the issues they handle. Our clients have included an MLB MVP and an NFL Franchise Player, among other coaches and athletes from the Olympics, NCAA, NBA, NFL, MLB, PGA Tour and NASCAR. 

Our distinctive strengths include:

  • Coaches' employment contracts
  • Employment and immigration issues, including O visas for athletes
  • NCAA compliance and disciplinary matters
  • Player contract negotiations
  • Player legal representation re business and personal affairs
  • Negotiation of apparel and product deals for athletes and universities
  • Title IX, CLERY and related statutory compliance
  • Agent regulations
  • Marketing and advertising endeavors
  • Intellectual property protection
  • Privacy rights and protection of rights to name and licensing agreements
  • Collective bargaining agreements
  • Player disputes with agents and clubs
  • Domestic relations matters
  • Stadium construction contract negotiations
  • Professional sport franchise acquisitions and sales
  • Sporting event operation issues
  • Tax matters
  • Bankruptcies


Representative Matters 

  • Represented current and former NFL players regarding injuries, including concussions
  • Provided counsel regarding tax and estate planning to athletes and agents
  • Represented clients in matters associated with alleged NCAA violations
  • Represented an Olympic athlete in immigration and permanent residency issues
  • Represented professional athletes in disputes with agents, and have represented agents in disputes with players
  • Represented agents in investigations by players associations
  • Represented PGA Tour players in disputes with sponsors
  • Represented professional athletes with domestic relations, criminal, league discipline (alleged use of banned substance), and financial issues (including bankruptcy)
  • Represented Major League Baseball player in litigation against Japanese baseball team
  • Represented the interests of prominent football coach in his capacity as an investor
  • Represented severely injured NCAA athlete in a dispute over insurance benefits under the NCAA catastrophic injury policy
  • Represented NCAA baseball player in obtaining release to play for another institution
  • Represented NCAA basketball player in eligibility dispute
  • Provide general counsel services to a minor league soccer team and the Virginia State Golf Association


Whiteford Expands Sports Law Practice with Addition of Ricky Lefft

Whiteford Taylor & Preston announced today that Joseph R. “Ricky” Lefft has joined the firm.  A leading sports law attorney, Mr. Lefft has over 30 years of experience advising professional athletes, coaches and athletic administrators on their professional and personal business matters.

Leading Litigators Join Whiteford, Taylor & Preston in New Richmond Office

Whiteford Taylor & Preston announced today that preeminent Richmond-based litigators Vernon E. Inge, Jr., and Corey Simpson Booker have joined the firm, resident in its new Richmond office.  Mr. Inge is a commercial litigation, bankruptcy and sports law attorney with a national profile.  Ms. Booker is a highly experienced commercial and bankruptcy litigator.  The Richmond office is the firm’s sixteenth and, along with offices in Northern Virginia and Roanoke, its third in Virginia.