Ryan Berger

Mentor: Dr. Linda Clarke
Warrington College of Business Administration, Department of Management
 
"I got involved with research to gain valuable knowledge on a topic that greatly interests me. I hope to learn a great deal with the research that I do for the University Scholars Program and I know that it will benefit me as I prepare for law school and then the world of sports business beyond."

Major

Dual Degree-Finance & Sport Management

Minor

N/A

Research Interests

  • Agency Law
  • Sports Business
  • Collective Bargaining Agreements

Academic Awards

  • Beta Gamma Sigma Honors Society
  • Delta Epsilon Iota Honors Society
  • University of Florida Dean's List Fall 2010-Spring 2013

Organizations

  • Student Finance Group
  • Florida Business Leadership Society
  • Golden Key Honor Society

Volunteer

  • Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church-giving out Thanksgiving meals and Christmas gifts to the needy

Hobbies and Interests

  • Piano
  • Tennis
  • French
  • Billiards

Research Description

Collective Bargaining Agreements and Lockouts-How are they changing professional sports forever?

Professional sport leagues in the United States in recent years have had several big and highly publicized lockouts with disputes between the owners of the teams and the athletes that make up the team rosters. In the last couple of years these lockouts have occurred in the National Football League, the National Hockey League, and the National Basketball Association. These lockouts have taken place as the two sides attempted to negotiate new collective bargaining agreements once the old agreements expired. These agreements are extremely detailed and complicated and there were many sticking points that both sides would not budge on for long periods of time.

I want to conduct research on several areas surrounding these lockouts. First of all, I want to look into how the public's perception of the leagues, the owners, and the players has changed over the course of the last few years because of the lockouts and how that has affected how people spend their money on these leagues. To the average American citizen who works hard to make a living, these lockouts looked like petty squabbles between exceedingly rich team owners and exceedingly rich professional athletes over how they would share the billions of dollars in revenues that their respective leagues brought in. These lockouts severely impacted the scheduled seasons during the years that they were happening, with the National Hockey League and the National Basketball Association being forced to cancel a significant number of their games that season. This really upset the fans that were deprived of their favorite sports to watch and definitely reflected negatively on the leagues and everyone involved with them.

I also want to do some research into how the balance of power has shifted more from the players to the owners in these newly written collective bargaining agreements and what effects this has had on the leagues in general. The owners in the different leagues definitely had the upper hand in these legal battles as they effectively shut down the leagues and waited until the players were ready to make some concessions and bend to the wills of the owners. For example, basketball players were forced to agree to a new 50-50 percent distribution of all basketball related income that evenly split all of the revenues between the players and the owners. This might not seem like a bad deal until you consider the fact that the previous collective bargaining agreement stipulated that players received 57 percent of the basketball related income while the owners received only 43 percent. There were many other changes and concessions that the athletes had to accept that further increased the owners’ control over their leagues.

Finally I want to look at how sport agents played a role in negotiating these lockouts and what impact they had on the collective bargaining agreements as a whole. I am an aspiring sport agent and this is a topic that greatly interests me. I am very passionate about sports law and sports business and I would love to see the effect that sport agents had in the collective bargaining agreement. Since few to none of the professional athletes in these leagues have any legal expertise, they looked to their agents to use their knowledge of the law and their skills in negotiation and persuasion to represent the players’ best interests. It was up to the agents to secure the best possible deal with the owners for the players’ benefits.