University at Buffalo Law School adjunct professor Nellie Drew is the utility player of sports law.
She can devise an imaginary world of NFL expansion in her classroom where students take on the persona of Commissioner Roger Goodell and testy owner Jerry Jones. She compares the threat concussions pose to professional sports to a time when President Teddy Roosevelt called for rule changes to stop the string of football fatalities.
And she takes a decisive stance in the ongoing sales of the Buffalo Bills: Based on what Drew has seen in the NFL and other professional sports leagues, teams move when there are extraordinary circumstances, factors that are not present in this chapter of the Buffalo Bills' relationship to Western New York, she says.
"There is an additional perspective that comes from observing boards of governors in the NFL and other leagues, and the migration of teams over time," Drew says in a UB video interview discussing a variety of sports law issues, including possible ways the NFL can address the threat of concussions: http://bit.ly/UBsportslawExpert.
"Moving an NFL team doesn't happen often," she says. "And when it does, it's usually due to extraneous circumstances, which we don't seem to have here. So I think there is a very good chance the Bills are going to stay in Buffalo."
Drew, who has been quoted frequently by local and national media in recent weeks, employs some creative teaching techniques in her sports law courses, which include "The Anatomy of a Franchise Transaction" and "Professional Sports Contract Negotiation and Arbitration."
"We do a virtual reality expansion of the NFL every year. And as part of that process, each student in the classroom has a role. So we have Jerry Jones in the classroom, and we have the commissioner," Drew says. "There is a variety of things we do that help students build the skill set we believe they need to leave the law school as effective communicators, which is the very essence of law.
"I love teaching," she says. "I love the connection with the students."