Next up in our #SLBrief series is Jonathan Bateman (L ’11). Mr. Bateman received the Sports Law Certificate through the National Sports Law Institute and was also a member of our Sports Law Society during his time on campus. Similar to this week’s #SLBrief guests, Jonathan was recognized for his academic and community achievements, receiving the Martin J. Greenberg Award in 2011 for excellence in sports law academics and service. Currently, Jonathan works as a Compliance Coordinator at the University of Nebraska Athletic Department, which is a member of the Big Ten Conference.
“It really started out in high school when I knew I wanted to go out-of-state for college. I talked with some family and friends. Their sons had gone to Marquette, and they really enjoyed it. That’s when I first learned about the Sports Law program that Marquette’s Law School offered, and that was something that really piqued my interest. I went for a visit in Milwaukee, a really cold winter day, and I fell in love with it.”
“I decided to go there for undergrad, with the intent of going to law school, earning the Sports Law Certificate, and being involved in the Sports Law program. I didn’t know what I wanted to do in sports law, but I did know that I wanted to be involved in sports and the law in some way.”
Favorites in Academic Curriculum
“There was definitely a lot of them. All of the sports law classes were really influential, specifically Amateur Sports Law, the writing workshops, and the seminars. Even some of the classes such as Intellectual Property or Entertainment Law or Constitutional Law, although they didn’t focus on the sports world as much, those are definitely issues that come into play when you’re talking about things like name, image, & likeness issues. Even Education Law that was offered, it was great because of the wide range of activities and issues that can arise.”
“Those were all really beneficial, and specifically within my line of work, the courses in research and writing were definitely pivotal as well.”
“Oversigning” Then and Now
In 2011, Jonathan wrote a law review article that covered the phenomenon of “oversigning” and the role it plays within Division-1 college football.
“That was just something that had been in the news, and I wanted to write about something in college athletics because, as I was progressing, (college athletics) was an area that I wanted to focus on. Oversigning had been a hot-button issue and that was something that I wanted to explore a little bit further. I really didn’t know as much about it then as I do now, but it definitely piqued my interest.”
“At the time that I was writing about it, there was a lot more in the news, but now, it’s not a topic that is covered as much. Overall, you don’t really hear about (the issue) as often, and I’m not really sure the reasoning why on that. There is legislation in place that conferences may have (in terms of the number of allocated athletic scholarships allowed), so the conferences do a good job of helping to change that landscape. I think that’s a huge part of it. With recruiting becoming more publicized overall, just with the advent of social media, some of that knowledge is known by prospective student-athletes and their families about how many spots (the football team) may have, and the schools by in large are pretty forthcoming with the prospects as well about how many spots they have. I think it’s really become a lot better.”
Internships at MU, Nebraska With Different Top Sports
“I can definitely tell you that from inside of the athletics department, we’re working hard for all of our student-athletes, no matter the sport. But, specifically in reference to going from a school that doesn’t have football to a school that does have football, those first couple years in compliance are all coming pretty fast and hard, no matter what school you’re at because each sport has its own interesting set of circumstances that are not only legislatively but also just how the sport works. My time at Marquette was great … they really showed me the ropes and put me into a lot of great situations to really understand the fundamental principles of compliance.”
“Although it was a transition [from interning at Marquette to his current place of employment], the transition was more going from ten hours a week with Marquette to forty-plus hours a week, and you’re starting to learn the ins and outs. Those first couple years of compliance, you’re trying to take in everything you can and sometimes you don’t even know what you don’t know, so that’s more it rather than having football at one school and not having football at another school.”
Nebraska: From Big 12 to Big Ten
“I think my first day (at Nebraska) was June 6, 2011, and if I’m remembering correctly, in early July we became members of the Big Ten. Those first couple weeks, you’re just trying to remember where your office is. You’re definitely emerged in getting everything ready for the next academic year, but the transition to the Big Ten was big. I heard from everyone on our staff how great the conference was in helping us with the transition and some of the nuances with Big Ten Conference legislation that we weren’t used to from being in the Big 12.”
“All I have known is the Big Ten Conference, just because of my short time period in the Big 12. While it was definitely a big transition for the entire athletics department, for me specifically it wasn’t that big because I was trying to figure everything out, not just the new conference.”
We cannot thank Jonathan enough for taking the time to discuss his college athletics journey, both academically and professionally, with us. We hope to talk to Jonathan soon and wish him the best of luck with his future endeavors.
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