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Law school dean on NFL Network as legal analyst

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If you watch the NFL Network, you may have recognized a familiar name among the commentators. Indiana University School of Law – Indianapolis Dean Gary R. Roberts has been serving as an on-air legal analyst for the network discussing the current labor dispute between NFL owners and players.

So far, he has done a few call-in interviews, including one on March 11 to discuss the labor negotiations. That interview was recorded at the WFYI studio in Indianapolis and is available on the NFL Network’s website. In that interview, he explained the role of lawyers and the possible trajectory of the NFL labor negotiations through the court system.

When he gives his analysis, he said, he doesn’t take sides and only comments on the legal aspects, such as whether one side has a strong or weak legal argument and why.

During the March 11 interview, he told the other commentators, who were in the NFL Network studio in Los Angeles, that he expected both sides to come to an agreement shortly before the 2011 NFL season is scheduled to begin and that he expects there to be a Super Bowl in Indianapolis in 2012.

Roberts said the NFL Network contacted him a few weeks ago, likely based on his past analysis for other media outlets regarding legal issues of various sports.

Roberts is a leading expert on sports law and antitrust law and has testified nine times before Congressional committees. He is a certified commercial and sports arbitrator with the American Arbitration Association and is a founding member and serves on the board of directors of the International Association of Sports Professionals and Executives.

He said the reason he does media interviews with the NFL Network and other TV and radio programs is for the “great visibility not only for me professionally, but for the law school. It brings our institution into the public’s consciousness, where good people are doing interesting things.”

When he began his tenure as dean of the law school in 2007, Roberts hoped to incorporate more sports law courses, but he said finding external funding has been difficult. The school currently offers two sports law courses, one taught by the dean and the other by Scott Bearby, managing director of legal affairs and associate general counsel to the NCAA.

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