NFL free-agent lawyer ready to represent college athletes

Matt Zalaznick's picture
Thursday, October 3, 2013

Jeff Kessler, an attorney who helped bring free agency to the National Football League, is about to focus on the unpaid athletes who generate more than $16 billion in college sports television contracts.

New York-based Winston & Strawn LLP is starting what it describes as the first college-focused division at a major law firm to represent players, coaches, schools and conferences against what Kessler, 59, described as “the unbridled power and influence” of the National Collegiate Athletic Association.

“The NCAA should stand up and take notice that Jeff is involved,” said Bob Lanza, a former National Basketball Association players’ union general counsel who worked alongside Kessler and is now a partner in O’Neill & Lanza, a professional sports advisory firm. “I can’t think of anybody more qualified to start this type of department.”

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