Mississippi College

Visiting Hall of Fame Professor Michael McCann Teaches MC Law Summer Classes

May 18, 2012

Millions of fans seeking the latest on the NFL’s Bounty Gate scandal and the retrial of ex-New York Yankee Roger Clemens want to hear the scoop from sports law expert Michael McCann.

They can check out McCann’s blitz of opinions as the “Sports Illustrated” legal analyst or his Twitter posts about a lucrative enterprise that’s no longer just about wins, losses and players who are role models for America’s youth.

For a couple of weeks in May, more than 40 students signed up for his classes as the Distinguished Visiting Hall of Fame professor at Mississippi College School of Law in downtown Jackson.

They’re getting to hear his lectures on sports broadcasting, labor issues in professional sports, online sports gambling, sports agents, concussion lawsuits by retired NFL players, steroid policies, the future of the Bowl Championship Series, and much more.

The 36-year-old director of the Sports Law Institute at Vermont Law School, McCann is enjoying his brief return to the Magnolia State. It comes just weeks after his April 28th marriage, and honeymoon in Paris with his new bride, Kara.

His honeymoon down South in Mississippi lasts through late May.

“I visit because Mississippi is like a second home to me, and I’ll always be a huge fan of Mississippi College and MC Law,” McCann says. It wasn’t too long ago that the Harvard Law School graduate was a full-time Mississippi College law professor – between 2005 and 2008.

So much has happened in the sports world and to McCann’s career since then. Among his writings include an investigative piece he co-authored with David Epstein of “Sports Illustrated” on the scandal involving former University of Arkansas football coach Bobby Petrino. He recently joined NBA TV as their on-air legal analyst and did extensive coverage of the NBA’s lockout that shortened the 2011-2012 season. In recognition of his journalism and broadcasting work, the Massachusetts native received the 2011 Media Prize from the Society for Social Psychology and Personality.

But take away all the complex legal issues, and McCann remains a diehard Boston Celtics fan, just a guy who once cheered for star players like Larry Bird and is quite familiar with NBA legends including Bill Russell and the late coach Red Auerbach.

As the ageless Celtics gear up for tonight’s playoff series with the Philadelphia 76ers, McCann is hopeful about his favorite team seeking another NBA championship.

“I know this team is old,” and not as talented as others in the league, like the Miami Heat, McCann says. “But they have heart and drive, and that’s embodied in Kevin Garnett who is playing like a man on a mission. If the Celtics don’t win the title, it won’t be for lack of trying.”

Garnett celebrates his 36th birthday on Saturday making him the same age as Michael McCann. The “Over the Hill Gang” in Beantown also includes hoops stars like 36-year-old Ray Allen and 34-year-old Paul Pierce.

McCann also gets passionate when asked about Bounty Gate that’s stinging the New Orleans Saints with the NFL’s harshest penalties including its head coach getting sidelined for the 2012 season.

“I think Bounty Gate may have never surfaced but for the now 77 lawsuits brought by 2,200 retired NFL players against the league,” he said. “I think the league likely made its internal investigation public so it didn’t appear for the first time in trial.”

After MC law classes Friday, McCann plans to sit down at his computer and crank out his latest opinion on the Roger Clemens federal perjury trial.

Michael McCann’s not just a nationally prominent sports law expert. He’s a New Englander who loves to say nice things about his wife in person and on Facebook. A real estate analyst, Kara, is a graduate of the University of Southern California, where she was a member of the Gamma Phi Beta sorority. “She’s not a lawyer, thankfully!” he says with a laugh.

“Kara and I just got a place in Andover, Massachusetts, where I grew up. Since she’s an L.A. girl, it’s like that John Mellencamp lyric: “Married an L.A. doll and brought her to this small town, just like me.”

In the fall, McCann will be back at work in New England, but this time as  a visiting professor at the University of New Hampshire School of Law.

McCann received his bachelor’s degree at Georgetown University in 1998 and a JD from the University of Virginia School of Law in 2002. He’s active on Twitter at http://twitter.com/McCannSportsLaw and can be reached at mmccann@vermontlaw.edu.

Photo: Michael McCann

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