College athlete turns to sports law with help from Great Lakes Sports and Entertainment Law Academy
For Aaron Caputo, a 3L law student at Cleveland Marshall College of Law, sports are more than a hobby. They helped shape his past, and he plans for them to be a significant part of his future.
Caputo was raised in Strongsville, Ohio, a 20-minute drive from Cleveland. Law is in the family lineage - both his mother and uncle are practicing attorneys and Cleveland Marshall alumni.
Growing up, his childhood days were split between hanging around his mom’s law office after school and at the playground where he excelled on the baseball field, eventually playing college ball at Ohio Wesleyan University as a catcher while earning his degree in management economics.
“When I came to law school, I knew I wanted to stay involved in sports,” said Caputo. “Early on, I talked with members of the Entertainment and Sports Law Association and they recommended I look into the Great Lakes Sports and Entertainment Law Academy at Case Western’s Law School. The academy set me on the path to finding my dream career.”
While enrolled in the Great Lakes Sports and Entertainment Law Academy’s online courses, Caputo took up an offer from Professor Peter Carfagna to join him at a Lake County Captains game, the Cleveland Indians Class A Affiliate. Carfagna, who teaches the sports courses offered by the academy, is also Chairman/CEO of Magis, LLC, a privately owned sports marketing, management and investment company, including family ownership of the Lake County Captains. After talking with Caputo and giving him a tour of the stadium, Carfagna offered him a 3-month externship with the team.
“It was an incredible opportunity for me, gaining real-world exposure to the umbrella of legal issues that come with sports law,” said Caputo. “What I was taught in the classroom came to life in my externship, where I worked on naming rights, vendor agreements, presenting sponsorship agreements and premises liability research. It was a perfect match for what we learned in the class, teaching us to think like an owner. I learned a lot and really enjoyed it.”
Caputo followed his externship with the Captains by serving as a teaching assistant with the Great Lakes program. Now, just a semester from graduating, Caputo is hoping his dream career is around the corner.
“Just like playing sports, jobs in sports law are ultra-competitive. That’s a draw for me, going back to my time on the baseball field,” said Caputo. “Under the mentorship of Professor Carfagna, the courses at the academy and my externship and me prepared to step in a work right away. I’m just excited to get started.”