Cole and Alexander ref for Sports Law Society

BY IAN MARTIN | APRIL 18, 2011 7:20 AM

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Former Iowa basketball players Jarryd Cole and Kachine Alexander were back on the court Sunday, taking on a whole new role.

The two seniors, along with Iowa basketball administrative assistant Ryan Bowen, were the referees in the University of Iowa College of Law's Sports Law Society's 3-on-3 Tournament in the Field House. The contest was the first ever held by the new student organization, composed of law students interested in eventually going into sports law.

While the connection between three former Iowa athletes and the law school may seem farfetched, both Cole and Alexander were eager to get involved in the tournament, which raised money for the United Way of Johnson County.

Event organizer Alex Johnson, who will also be the president of the Sports Law Society next year, has a class with Alexander, and he said she reached out to him to participate. As for Cole, Johnson has played pickup basketball in the Field House with him before and asked the former Hawkeye forward to help out.

Part of the appeal for the players was the chance for them to finally control the whistle after four years of playing around the referees.

"I never realized how much pressure these guys actually have on them to call the game fair and be just to both teams," Cole said.

Unlike Cole, Alexander wouldn't admit to now sympathizing with the striped ones, but she did say refereeing 3-on-3 is probably a little different from a Big Ten game.

"It's a little different pace of the game, so it's probably a lot harder," the now-Minnesota Lynx guard said.

Both, though, liked the chance to be able to call the game their way, which in both cases tended toward letting the players get away with some contact.

"I let them play a lot; if you're not going to hole strong, you're not going to get a call," Cole said. "And I don't call fouls on jump shots."

Alexander agreed that especially in 3-on-3, a player must earn her or his foul.

"If it's just kind of a little bump, you'll be all right," she said.

While there were three former Iowa players in attendance, there were also 10 teams participating in the tournament, with a familiar intramural mainstay eventually winning.

FBMM was composed of players from MBA Jam — one of intramurals' best teams — and blew out Beast Mode, 22-6, in the championship game.

Many of the participants in the tournament were part of the Sports Law Society, a student organization that just began this school year.

The group has 66 members, all of whom are focused on networking in the sports-law community.
While sports law isn't an official focus in the law school, the field is becoming more prominent at the UI with this society and a recent addition of a Sports Law class.

The group's officials didn't expect as much of a response as they've received with regards to members and the number of people who signed up for the tournament. But, one reasoned, there's an appeal to working in the sporting world in law school as much as anywhere else.

"Sports is one of those things that everyone's interested in," member Zach Pratt said.

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