Who We Are

The HBL was founded by Andy Schwarz, Bijan Bayne and Ricky Volante, who all play different roles in its organization. The league also has a small staff assisting with raising awareness and with operations. Learn more about them below.

Co-Founders

 

Andy Schwarz

Mr. Schwarz is an antitrust economist with a subspecialty in sports economics. Notably, Mr. Schwarz was the case manager for the NFL’s economic expert in L.A. Raiders v. NFL and for Plaintiffs’ economic experts in O’Bannon v. NCAA and the economic expert for the Keller v. NCAA settlement class. He has testified to the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Education and the Workforce, participated on another U.S. Congressional panel on college sports, and has served as an economic expert in a wide variety of state and federal litigation. 

Mr. Schwarz has been featured on ESPN, in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Sports Illustrated, Bloomberg News, Sports on Earth, and USA Today. He is a frequent contributor to Vice Sports and Deadspin and has written for Slate, Forbes.com, 538.com, and ESPN.com. He is featured in Indentured: The Inside Story of the Rebellion Against the NCAA by Joe Nocera and Ben Strauss. Andy’s academic papers have analyzed secondary ticket markets, law and economics topics, the antitrust questions inherent in NCAA bylaws, and the economics of virtual goods. He has co-authored a chapter in the Oxford Handbook of Sports Economics and in the forthcoming College Athletes’ Rights and Well-Being: Critical Perspectives on Policy and Practice.

Mr. Schwarz holds an M.B.A. from the Anderson School of Management at UCLA as well as an A.B. in history from Stanford University and an M.A. in history from Johns Hopkins. Mr. Schwarz is one of the original founders of OSKR and served as President/Managing Partner for the firm’s first three years. 

 

Richard J. Volante, Esq.

Mr. Volante is an attorney licensed to practice in the state of Ohio and serves as Attorney at Law at Buckley King LPA in their Sports, Entertainment, and Media Practice Group. He has primarily focused on legal issues related to professional and amateur sports, film and television, music, business formation and regulation, intellectual property, digital media, and the Internet. Over the last six years, Mr. Volante has been involved with event management and operation, facility management, branding and marketing, sponsorships and activation, market analysis and research, strategic planning, legal research, legal representation and consulting and contract drafting. Additionally, Mr. Volante has a special interest in the film, television and music industries given his experiences with the Greater Cleveland Film Commission, film executives in Los Angeles and the musicians that he represents. Additionally, he is a principal, film producer, and consultant at Sixth City Sports & Entertainment, LLC.  

Mr. Volante graduated summa cum laude from Lake Erie College with a B.S. in Sports Management, and received the Class of 2012 Academic Excellence Award for the School of Business. Ricky completed his Juris Doctorate (J.D.) at Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, while completing business and legal placements at SPIRE Institute, an Olympic Training Site, and the Mid-American Conference, all while serving as President of the Entertainment and Sports Law Association. Mr. Volante co-published an article with Mr. Schwarz in the Marquette Sports Law Review entitled, “The Ninth Circuit Decision in O’Bannon and the Fallacy of Fragile Demand.” He also holds a number of teaching positions with educational institutions, including the Harvard Extension School, Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, and Case Western Reserve University School of Law.

 

Bijan C. Bayne

Bijan C. Bayne is an award-winning Washington-based freelance columnist and critic, and author of Sky Kings: Black Pioneers of Professional Basketball, which was named to the Suggested Reading List of the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2004. The book is also cited in Booktalks Plus: Motivating Teens to Read by Lucy Schall, and was named a Suggested Book of Interest by the organization Teachers Network, in 2010. Bayne has served as a branding consultant to Nike, Destination DC, The Cancun Convention & Visitors Bureau, Visit Cincinnati, and Time & Place Luxury Homes. He is an editorial consultant to The World Bank, and has written ads for The US Navy SEALs and The US Coast Guard. His work has appeared in The New York Times and The Washington Post.

Bayne is also the author of the first biography of basketball hero Elgin Baylor. Elgin Baylor: The Man Who Changed Basketball, was named a Book That Inspires, by the Christian Science Monitor, and one of the Most 25 Inspiring Books of 2015, by Conversations Book Club. His book Martha’s Vineyard Basketball: How a Resort League Defied Notions of Race & Class, was named a Must Read, by BET. In 2016, he served as a grants panelist for the DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities. In October 2016, he presented on the panel, Black Humor: Reflections on an American Tradition at the University of New Hampshire’s annual Black New England Conference. At the BNEC 2015, Bayne participated on two panels, one contrasting the film 42 with 1949’s The Jackie Robinson Story, the other on early Black sports in New England.

In July 2002, Bayne, who speaks Spanish, won the Robert Peterson Research Award for his presentation “The Struggle of the Latin American Ballplayer,” given at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, N.Y. On April 14, 2011, The Jackie Robinson Society of The George Washington University honored Bayne with “…a teaching award in appreciation of your many years of special contribution to GW students through your participation.”

 

Board of Directors

 

Johari Shuck

Johari Shuck, a Chicago area native, is a proud graduate of the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor and Indiana University. Johari’s dissertation titled, “Legacy in Black and Blue: A Historical Examination the Experiences of Black Football Players at the University of Michigan 1968-2004” was awarded a research grant from the National College Athletics Association (NCAA) and the University of Michigan Bentley Historical Library. Johari’s research has focused on Intercollegiate Athletics, History of Education and Civic Engagement. Her work related to these areas has been published in Diverse Issues in Higher Education, Traces (a Indiana Historical Society publication), and Out of Bounds magazine.

Johari has several years of experience working with middle school, high school and college athletes and their families. At Indiana University she advised and taught student-athletes and created a course, “The Black Male Athlete College Experience” that she taught for 3 years. Johari has worked with nonprofit organizations to develop educational workshops for high school athletes. She has also partnered with former NFL players to develop and design football camps featuring coaching staff from the University of Michigan and University of Texas where she launched her signature, Parent Empowerment Program.

In 2016, Johari was recognized by the Women’s National Basketball Association as an Indiana Fever Inspiring Woman awardee and was also honored by Ebony Magazine as a Power 100 honoree (2016), with 7 fellow PhD graduates known as “The Great 8” from Indiana University.

 

Virgil Parker

Virgil Parker played two sports throughout his secondary education. While excelling at McQuaid Jesuit High School, his participation in football and rugby taught him structure, discipline, organization, and self-sufficiency. Upon his graduation from McQuaid Jesuit in May of 2015, Virgil embarked upon his journey to the historic Howard University. It was there where he continued his passion for development and participated in an initiative known as the Gateway Project, a community service organization that provides a space for disadvantaged youth, collegiate and high school students to interact with mentors.

The project focuses on talent development, leadership enhancement, the value of education, community empowerment, and the promotion of ambition. Virgil is currently a junior public relations major at Howard University and spent a portion of his career working with the Howard University Office of the President. Virgil is a former intern for Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, a former associate for Link Strategic Partners, a recent professional at Goldman Sachs Inc. and an Administrative Coordinator for the Historically Black College and University League. He is currently president of the Howard University Bison Pre-Alumni Club.

 

Ezra Salami

Ezra Salami is an antitrust attorney who focuses on anti-competitive related issues across various industry sectors.

He is a proud HBCU product of Morehouse College, as well as a graduate of Fordham University School of Law. At Fordham, he served as a staff writer for the Fordham Sports Law Forum. Ezra is the current co-chair of the Young Lawyers Division: Antitrust Committee of the American Bar Association. Away from his practice, he is a volunteer golf coach for the First Tee of New York for underserved youth in the Brooklyn area.

 

 

Ralph Greene

Ralph is the founder and CEO of Columbia Consulting Group, and he vaulted into the sports technology consulting space in December 2016 after capping off a magnificent run working at some of the leading sports enterprises in the world.

During  21-year Nike career, Ralph was at the forefront of some of the most dominant stories in Nike and sports history. Highlights include strategizing and executing “All-School” NCAA sponsorship deals, signing Tiger Woods, LeBron James and Kobe Bryant, and igniting the international “wave” into the NBA with the identification and signing of Yao Ming, Tony Parker and Dirk Nowitzki. More recently, Ralph lead Nike football, working on the NFL partnership, directing ESPN broadcasts of Nike football camps and events, and delivering the trailblazing technology partnership between Nike and Hudl, the leading football social network.

Ralph had a full career before coming to Nike. He represented Hakeen Olajuwon of the Houston Rockets during his championship years in 1993-94. Ralph signed “The Dream” to an international spokesperson deal with the NBA, traveling from Paris to London to Malaysia, helping build the global NBA footprint. Ralph was a partner in Integrated Sports International (Now 16W Marketing) in the representation of Howie Long, Steve Young and Phil Simms. Prior to that, he served as the sponsorship director for the NFL, driving partnerships with NFL sponsors like Gatorade, Nissan and Visa. Ralph began his career at Ogilvy & Mather Advertising as an account supervisor, leading brands like Campbell’s Soup and AT&T.

A graduate of Stanford University (’83) and Columbia University School of Business (’85), Ralph now resides in Tigard, Oregon.

 

Kevin Trahan

Kevin Trahan is currently a student at the University of Texas School of Law, with a focus on civil rights. Previously, he was a sports journalist and has written for VICE Sports, SB Nation, USA Today, The Comeback, Forbes, The Guardian and The Wall Street Journal, among others.

Kevin’s writing has been focused on college athletes’ rights and investigations into improprieties by major sports organizations. He has written about universities’ failures to comply with Title IX, a Division I basketball program running off a player, how the latest research contradicts the NFL’s approach to head injuries, how taxpayer money is funneled to certain university athletic programs and how the NCAA has undermined HBCUs. He also co-wrote a paper for The Antitrust Bulletin with Andy Schwarz on the myths peddled by the NCAA regarding amateurism in college athletics. Beyond journalism, Kevin has consulted for the National College Players Association and written mock legislation to improve athletes’ rights within state governments.

A 2015 graduate of Northwestern University, Kevin started a website covering the university’s sports teams that he turned into the largest Northwestern sports site on the web. He sold the site to SB Nation and Vox Media in 2014, two years after it launched. An Iowa native, he spent six years in the Chicago area before moving to Austin, Texas, in 2017.

 

Anthony Crudup

Anthony Crudup, a Houstonian, is a proud alum of and former football player at the University of Minnesota. Anthony’s post-college career started in sales and business development. This led to research in “training trainers” within the athletic space, and research into to how to build trainers can build their own brand within someone else’s space.

Anthony has eight years of experience of teaching others how to build a brand from the ground up, and he uses football and college experiences to make new bonds and teach others how to emotionally connect to people. 

This led to his partnership with the late former Texas A&M All-American linebacker Antonio Armstrong to help build a fitness concept. Anthony branched off from this organization and created a his own brand, which caused him to take an interest in the budgets, graduation rates and the treatment of college athletes across the NCAA platform. 

 

Michael Bertin

A native of Austin, Texas, Michael Bertin is both an analyst and journalist. His professional work includes consulting in the media, entertainment, transportation, energy and sports industries. He recently worked as the top data analyst for a club in Major League Soccer. A former college athlete, he holds BAs from the University of Notre Dame and MA from the University of Texas at Austin and an MBA from the University of Chicago. He has authored two books and written for publications including Deadspin, ESPN.com, 538, Grantland, Wired and Slate.

 

Contributors

 

Kayla Morrison

Kayla Morrison is a sophomore and soccer player at the University of Virginia. Growing up, she was very active in athletics and was a four-sport varsity athlete. She played soccer, field hockey and basketball, and ran indoor and outdoor track. She earned many awards, such as All-American and conference player of the year in soccer, and she ranked fourth in the state in the 55-meter dash. Kayla is majoring in Cognitive Science at Virginia with a concentration in neuroscience and cognitive psychology, and she is minoring in economics.

Kayla is involved in Chi Alpha, a fellowship that focuses on diversity, community and integrity, and she is a member of the McIntire School of Commerce: Global Markets Group, where she writes stock pitches for various foreign financial institutions. Moving forward, she plans to obtain her masters in finance at the McIntire School of Commerce at the University of Virginia.

 

Krystal Beachum

A product of the small town of Mexia, Texas, Krystal Beachum got her associate’s degree from McLennan Community College and her bachelor’s degree from Henderson State University while being a collegiate athlete. She went on to achieve her master’s degree in Education in Recreation and Sports Management from the University of Arkansas, where she worked as a graduate assistant with the women’s basketball, tennis, and volleyball team.

In May 2016, she founded Student-Athletes Unite, which educates high school students on the recruiting process and helps athletes create business and career opportunities. She is also the author of “For The Other 98,” which helps athletes discover their purpose and gives them practical guidelines to help them become entrepreneurs or advance their career by leveraging their resources and networks.

Krystal is currently interning at the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) in the Licensing Department in Washington D.C.