Two Penn State Dickinson School of Law students threw numbers and baseball statistics at each other with millions of dollars at the center of the debate.
Despite the valid points made by both students, the meeting was only an example of experimental learning.
Smeal's Center for Sports Business Research and Dickinson's Institute for Sports Law, Policy, and Research hosted the mock salary arbitration meeting last night.
Pittsburgh Pirates second baseman Freddy Sanchez's salary was the topic of debate as Pirates Vice President and General Counsel Larry Silverman overheard the presentations.
Ryan Fleischer and Andrew Metz, the law students, acted as attorneys for the Pirates organization and Sanchez, respectively.
Each student was given ten minutes to present his case with the opportunity for a five-minute rebuttal. Silverman then provided comments and a better understanding of salary arbitration, which normally lasts about five hours.
"That was a really nice job, and you get more time than they had to present a case," Silverman said. "That makes it particularly impressive."
Fleischer and Metz both compared Sanchez to other players that are at his production and experience level to support their opposing sides. Fleischer argued Sanchez should earn $3.9 million, while Metz argued he should earn $4.9 million.
Following the mock arbitration, Silverman brought the debate full circle as he said Sanchez was awarded $4.3 million for the upcoming season after his actual arbitration.
Along with a comparison between the real arbitration and the one presented by Fleischer and Metz, Silverman provided constructive criticism for both students. As an aspiring lawyer, Metz welcomed the advice from an experienced negotiator.
"In law school, you get that all the time," Metz said. "It's like, 'Nice, but this is what you did wrong. This is what you can do better.' So you get pretty used to it. You put on your thick skin and listen to what he says and incorporate that for next time."
For the students in attendance, the mock arbitration and words of wisdom from Silverman provided motivation to look deeper into salary arbitration.
Max Wendkos (sophomore-marketing) was originally interested in the subject matter for minor league teams, but last night's presentation opened his eyes to the possibility of negotiating at the major league level.
"It helped me decide what direction to take and showed me the importance of law school," Wendkos said.