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Tyrone P. Thomas

Member / Co-chair, Sports & Entertainment Practice

TPThomas@mintz.com

+1.202.434.7374

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Tyrone has gained national recognition for his work in employment and sports law. He advises academic institutions on executive compensation arrangements. Tyrone also provides compliance assessments on governance issues and advises clients on conflicts of interest. In addition, he focuses on legal issues pertaining to intercollegiate athletics and professional sports. Tyrone is highly regarded for his insight on sports matters and has served as a legal analyst for various publications. He also chairs the firm’s Diversity Committee.

Tyrone advises boards, presidents, and other senior executives on employment, consulting and separation agreements. In providing compliance assessments on governance issues, he advises on conflict of interests and IRS regulations governing intermediate sanctions and Form 990 reporting. He has counseled on the development and implementation of affirmative action plans and related matters with OFCCP. Tyrone is a frequent speaker for various associations in higher education on presidential compensation and executive searches, including the American Council on Education, the National Association of College and University Attorneys, the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, and the Council of Independent Colleges.

Tyrone represents clients on complex legal issues in athletics. In intercollegiate athletic matters, his experience includes enforcement investigations, the infractions process, and appeals. He advises colleges on Title IX, employment contracts, and policies for athletics personnel. In professional sports matters, he has advised teams on league compliance issues and other legal matters. He is nationally recognized for his experience in sports matters and has served as a legal analyst for the New York Times, ESPN, Sports Illustrated, The Chronicle of Higher Education,Sports Business Journal, University Business, and the Sports Litigation Alert.

In general employment matters, Tyrone advises companies on reductions in force and allegations of discrimination. He successfully defended a nonprofit organization engaged in food recycling and meal distribution programs on a race discrimination charge. He advised a metro transportation authority on corrective action programs arising from a consent decree on discrimination charges. He has conducted litigation avoidance audits relating to prospective discrimination/harassment/retaliation claims for a power company, an international trucking company and a provider of cleaning and facility services.

In addition to his legal practice, Tyrone is chair of the Mintz Diversity Committee. In this role, he leads the firm’s initiatives promoting diversity in the legal profession. Tyrone is also the Co-chair of the firm's Sports & Entertainment Practice.

Education

  • Tulane University (JD)
  • Dartmouth College (BA)

Involvement

  • Past Deputy General Counsel, National Bar Association
  • Member, Sports Lawyers Association

Recent Insights

News & Press

Viewpoints

Two horrible March Madness brackets ago, we analyzed the myriad of legal and operational challenges that could change the face of intercollegiate athletics.
This is the second installment of a series regarding legal issues affecting college athletics that will run during this year’s NCAA basketball tournament. It is no secret that the salaries of coaches of high profile college programs are rising steadily.
This is the first installment of a series regarding legal issues affecting college athletics that this blog will run during this year’s NCAA basketball tournament. Two horrible March Madness brackets ago, we analyzed the myriad of legal and operational challenges that could change the face of intercollegiate athletics. 
As wise employers focus strategic initiatives to enhance diversity and inclusion in the workplace, we periodically receive questions about limitations for proactive approaches in this area.
Happy New Year from your friends at the OFCCP.  This week brings the enforcement of requirements stated under Executive Order 13665, which prohibits federal contractors from discriminating or otherwise conducting adverse personnel actions against employees or job applicants for compensation inquiries, discussions or disclosures.

Preparing for a New World of Collective Action by Student-Athletes

November 17, 2015 | Blog | By Tyrone Thomas

With stunning speed, the balance of power between collegiate athletes and the institutions they play for has changed. Recent events at the University of Missouri may feel like a tectonic shift but the preceding tremors had been evident for some time. 
In a mild surprise given the current constitution of the Board (read – majority appointed by President Obama), the NLRB declined to assert jurisdiction in ruling on the petition of Northwestern University’s scholarship football players to unionize.
Our colleague Michael Arnold recently posted an article to Employment Matters titled, "Unpaid Intern v. Employee Classification Analysis Must Look at Who is Primary Beneficiary of Relationship, Second Circuit Holds".
My colleague, Tyrone Thomas, was quoted in The Patriot News article entitled Does a Settlement of Remaining Penn State Sanctions Issues Help the NCAA, in which he comments on the NCAA’s enforcement processes as they relate to the child abuse sex scandal at Penn State.
If you are a D.C. employer, temporary staffing agency, contractor, or subcontractor, you have yet another wage and hour law to contend with: The Wage Theft Prevention Amendment Act of 2014.

News & Press

NCAA Decides Against Exerting More Authority over Academic Misconduct

September 13, 2019 | Diverse Issues in Higher Education

In a recent article published by Diverse Issues in Higher Education, Mintz Member and Co-chair of the Sports & Entertainment Practice Tyrone Thomas commented on the decision by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA)’s Division I governance to not add reforms that would give the NCAA greater authority to discipline institutions that have engaged in academic misconduct.
In this article, Mintz Member Tyrone Thomas discusses the college cheating scandal which involves sneaking in a non-athlete by exploiting the lower academic standards that some schools allow for sports recruits.
This feature story looks at reform efforts by the NCAA providing some benefits to student-athletes that pursue a professional basketball career. Member Tyrone Thomas, who regularly advises clients on complex legal issues in athletics, is quoted providing commentary.
Mintz has received a perfect 100% ranking by the Human Rights Campaign for the eleventh consecutive year in the organization’s annual Corporate Equality Index, a national benchmarking survey and report on corporate policies and practices related to LGBTQ workplace equality. 
Member and Sports Law attorney Tyrone Thomas provides commentary in this feature article looking at the NCAA, and the litigation challenging its restrictions on college basketball and football players' ability to transfer schools.
Member Tyrone Thomas, an experienced sports law attorney, is quoted in a New York Times article regarding the NCAA announcement that there would be no penalties placed on the University of North Carolina for an academic issue involving the basketball team.
Tyrone Thomas, a Member in the Mintz Washington, DC office, Chair of the firm’s Diversity Committee and a member of the sports law practice, was interviewed by LEAD1 on the topic of diversity and inclusion.
Member Tyrone Thomas, an experienced sports law attorney, is featured in this Sports Illustrated article discussing three “blockbuster cases” for the NCAA’s enforcement group and Committee on Infractions and their implications for others in collegiate sports moving forward.
This article explores the possible connection between the NCAA tournament’s move to South Carolina and Duke University’s loss in the second round of the tournament. Duke lost after North Carolina’s “bathroom bill” led the NCAA to move this year’s tournament out of state.

What will happen to Ole Miss, Hugh Freeze in NCAA investigation? Experts weigh in

February 24, 2017 | http://www.si.com/college-football/2017/02/24/ole-miss-rebels-ncaa-investigation-hugh-freeze Sports lllustrated

Mintz’s Tyrone Thomas provides commentary in this article focused on the NCAA’s serious allegations against Ole Miss. Tyrone, a veteran sports attorney, is among the industry sources familiar with the NCAA process quoted within the piece discussing what could potentially happen next to the Rebels.
For the tenth straight year, Mintz has received a top rating of 100% on the Corporate Equality Index, a national benchmarking survey and report on corporate policies and practices related to LGBT workplace equality, administered by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation.  
Tyrone P. Thomas, a Member of the Sports Law and Employment, Labor and Benefits Practice Groups at Mintz, is speaking at the 2016 Learfield Intercollegiate Athletics Forum. In his session, Mr. Thomas will discuss legal issues facing college athletics.
Member Tyrone Thomas, an experienced sports law attorney, is quoted in The New York Times discussing the University of Louisville’s basketball coach, Rick Pitino, and his involvement in a scandal.
Member Tyrone Thomas is quoted in this Law360 article discussing the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision denying from the NCAA and a group of former college athletes to review the existing amateurism model prohibiting college players from receiving compensation beyond scholarship packages.
Mintz Member Tyrone Thomas is quoted in this Chronicle of Higher Education on how athletic directors of student-athlete programs are taking greater care to listen to their players and provide effective responses to student activism.
Tyrone P. Thomas, a Member of Mintz's Sports Law and Employment, Labor, and Benefits Practice Groups, is speaking on a panel at the Division 1A Athletic Directors Association Annual Meeting. Mr. Thomas will discuss issues and developments regarding student-athlete activism.
Mintz Member Tyrone Thomas is quoted in this Sports Illustrated article covering the NCAA's investigation of the Ole Miss athletic department which faces allegations of misconduct.
Mintz Member Tyrone Thomas is quoted in this New York Times article describing the implications of the NCAA amended notice of allegations to the University of North Carolina for its alleged lack of control pertaining to the supervision of their student-athletes’ academic education.
Mintz Sports Law Member Tyrone Thomas is quoted in this Law360 article on the NCAA's removing any mention of the University of North Carolina men’s basketball and football programs from its allegations of academic fraud.  
Mintz Member Tyrone Thomas is quoted in this Law360 article on the end to the efforts by student-athletes to be considered employees.
Mintz Member Tyrone Thomas is quoted in this Law360 article on the NCAA's announcement that it has approved rule changes to allow college basketball players to enter the NBA draft multiple times without losing college eligibility.

Events

Speaker
Speaker
Apr
30
2019
Panelist
Apr
12
2019

Tulane's Second Annual Entertainment and Sports Law Conference

Navigating the Sports Industry

Tulane University, 6823 St Charles Ave, New Orleans, LA 70118

Panelist
Apr
12
2019

Tulane's Second Annual Entertainment and Sports Law Conference

Navigating the Sports Industry

Tulane University, 6823 St Charles Ave, New Orleans, LA 70118

Panelist
Mar
13
2019

Annual Sports Law Seminar

Sports Lawyers Association

State Farm Arena

Speaker
Mar
2
2019

The Sports & Entertainments Law Students’ Association (SELSA) at Howard University School of Law

22nd Annual Center Court Conference: The Frontier of a New Evolution

Howard University School of Law

Speaker
Nov
1
2018

Navigating the Sports Industry

A Round Table Discussion with Sports Lawyers

San Diego - Bernardo Heights Country Club, Rancho Bernardo

Speaker
Jun
20
2018

Executive Leadership Academy

American Leadership Institute

Panelist
Jun
14
2018

Collaborative 2018

Warehouse at Flynn Cruiseport Boston 1 Black Falcon Avenue Boston, MA

Speaker
Speaker
Oct
22
2017
Speaker
Oct
16
2017

ACE Presentation

Washington, DC

Speaker
Jun
21
2017

ACE National Women's Leadership Forum

Hilton Washington Dulles Airport 13869 Park Center Road Herndon, VA

Speaker
Panelist
Dec
7
2016

Intercollegiate Athletics Forum

Marriott Marquis, New York City, NY

Panelist
Sep
19
2016

Division 1A Athletic Directors' Association

Division 1A Athletic Directors Association

Hilton Dallas Fort Worth, Lakes Executive Conference Center, Grapevine, TX

Co-chair
Sep
14
2016

Sports Law Policy

BESLA

Washington, DC

Speaker
May
12
2016

Sports Lawyers Association 42nd Annual Conference

JW Marriott Hotel Los Angeles at L.A. LIVE 900 West Olympic, Los Angeles, CA 90015, US

Speaker
Jan
28
2016

Second Annual Employment Law Summit

The Princeton Club 14 West 43rd Street, New York, New York

Speaker
Dec
2
2015

ACE 86th National Women's Leadership Forum

American Council on Education

The Westin Arlington Gateway 801 North Glebe Road, 22203 Arlington, Virginia

Speaker
Jun
6
2015

2015 Millennium Leadership Initiative (MLI) Institute

American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU)

Sofitel Lafayette Square Hotel, 806 15th St NW806 15th St NW, Washington, DC 20005