Sports Law Icon and Bradley University President Gary Roberts Announces Plan to Retire; Feldman Salutes Him

Jun 7, 2019

Bradley University President Gary Roberts, an icon in the sports law industry, has announced his intent to retire when his contract as president expires at the end of May of 2020.
“I was planning to retire before I accepted this wonderful position (in October 2015) to lead my alma mater,” said Roberts, who graduated from Bradley in 1970 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics and minors in history and speech.
“All along it was assumed that I would have a limited tenure. Next year, I will be 72 years old, and Donna and I want to have some healthy years to enjoy life and check several items off our bucket list. Also, I believe that many of the changes that need to occur at Bradley will take several years to implement fully, and having a president who can provide continuity of leadership throughout that transitional period will be a big plus for the University.” 
Doug Stewart, Chairman of the Board when Roberts was hired, says his intimate knowledge of Bradley was a huge plus: “We hired Gary because he understood the Bradley experience. As a Bradley graduate, he lived it. He was and still is, as passionate about this university as anyone I know. Gary has a way of encouraging people to think outside the box, to be partners, to be creative, and to be innovative. He has the ability to look a few steps ahead towards the future, and that’s what made him the right choice for us.”
Roberts and His Impact on Sports Law
Roberts received his J.D. in 1975 from Stanford University. Upon graduation, he clerked for Judge Ben Duniway of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco for a year before going into private practice with the law firm of Covington & Burling in Washington, D.C.
In the early 1980s, Roberts embarked on a two decade-plus career at Tulane University Law School, where he served as Vice Dean, Deputy Dean, and the Sumter Davis Marks Professor of Business Law. He was also the Founder and Director of the first sports law program in the United States.
In 2007, Roberts became Dean and the Gerald L. Bepko Professor of Law of the McKinney School of Law at Indiana University in Indianapolis, where he served until 2013.
Roberts has continued to practice law part-time throughout his academic career with a focus on antitrust and sports law. He has been a frequent commentator in the media on sports-related legal and business issues. He was the on-air legal analyst for the NFL network and a lead analyst for other national media outlets during the National Football League lockout in 2011. He has testified before congressional committees on nine occasions on sports matters.
Gabe Feldman Salutes Roberts
“Gary is a giant in the sports law field,” Dr. Gabe Feldman, director of the Tulane Sports Law Program and Tulane University’s associate provost for NCAA compliance, told Sports Litigation Alert.
“While in private practice, he was the architect of several foundational legal theories at the intersection of antitrust and sports.
“As an academic, he helped transform sports law into a serious field of study and inspired countless students and professors.
“In many ways, he is synonymous with sports law– from creating the first sports law program in the country at Tulane to his leadership in the Sports Lawyers Association to his brilliant scholarship and teaching, all involved in the sports law industry owe a debt of gratitude to Gary.”


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