Michael Stival ’03, an attorney for Excel Sports Management, returned to his alma mater on October 22 to share “Lessons Learned from Major League Baseball Players” at the Society of Skeptics. This timely presentation, which took place as the 2019 World Series got underway, was held in the Chiang-Elghanayan Center for Innovation and Collaboration.
Mr. Stival, a 2007 graduate of Harvard College, has worked with professional athletes throughout his career. He began at the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) in 2007, and ultimately became one of the organization’s handful of assistant general counsels after earning his JD at Rutgers School of Law-Newark in 2011. He served in that role under then-MLBPA executive director Michael Weiner P’08 ’11 ’14 and noted that, were it not for Mr. Weiner, who passed away in 2013, and his wife, Diane Margolin, “I wouldn’t be where I am today.”
For the past five years, Mr. Stival has worked for Excel Sports Management, “a powerhouse in representation for athletes from the PGA tour, NBA and MLB,” according to Forbes, with more than $3 billion in active contracts. While Mr. Stival’s responsibilities vary by the day, he is most frequently working on contract negotiations for Excel clients. In season, his focus is on the protection of each player’s collectively bargained rights.
“I hope the audience at Skeptics leaves with a better understanding of the business of baseball, particularly how that business impacts what occurs on the field of play,” said Mr. Stival, who is the son of Lew and Lois Stival, Blair’s longtime dean of college counseling and coordinator of day student services, respectively. “I also hope everyone leaves with an appreciation of how instrumental Blair has been in my career!”
The History of Skeptics
The Society of Skeptics was established as a forum for students and faculty to discuss and debate important global issues; it has grown to become one of the premier high school lecture series in the United States. Each week, speakers from the political, social, scientific, economic and literary arenas share their unique perspectives with students, who are encouraged to engage with presenters, asking questions and debating points of view.
The program was an outgrowth of the Blair International Society, begun in 1937. Forty years later, former history department chair Elliott Trommald, PhD, Hon.’65, established the modern Skeptics program as a regular forum for student discussion and debate; history teacher Martin Miller, PhD, took over in the mid-1980s and molded the program into a weekly lecture series, one that has since continued without interruption. Under the tutelage of Dr. Miller, Skeptics has featured a wide variety of speakers who are engaging, accomplished in their respective fields and often controversial. For a listing of upcoming Skeptics programs, please click here.