National Judicial College exploring Pac-12 membership; Gaveliers would begin play in 2024

RENO, Nev. (August 18, 2023) – The pending departure of 8 of the 12 teams from the Pac-12 athletic conference has prompted the Reno, Nevada-based National Judicial College to explore the possibility of helping to fill the void.

Founded in 1963, the NJC is the country’s oldest, largest and most widely attended school for judges, but it only recently established an athletics program under the name GaveliersTM. Earlier this year the school accepted an invitation to compete in the upstart CFC[1]. But continuing turmoil in conference alignments prompted the college’s leadership to reexamine its options.

“Our athletics program exists to support our mission of making the world a more just place by educating and inspiring its judiciary,” said NJC President Benes Z. Aldana. “We continually explore ways to maximize the resources available for our core academic enterprise. Affiliating with the Pac-12 is an exciting opportunity. We look forward to discussing the possibility with league officials.”

NJC Athletics Director Haskel K. McVeigh[2] noted that Nevada has long represented a natural extension of the mostly coastal Pac-12. The pending departures of behemoths such as UCLA and Oregon provide the league with an opportunity to diversify both geographically and culturally, he said.

“We are robed and ready,” he said.

The NJC would appear to face a competitive disadvantage in the Pac-12 in that its student body – composed almost exclusively of judges – skews older than its potential competitors in the FBS.

“That doesn’t take into consideration the value of decision-making,” McVeigh said. “Who is better at making decisions than judges?” 

Created at the recommendation of a Supreme Court justice, Tom C. Clark, The National Judicial College educates about 10,000 new and experienced and, in some cases, athletic judges each year, in person and online, from all 50 states and several foreign countries. The categories of judges it serves – state trial and appellate, administrative law, limited jurisdiction, tribal and military – decide more than 95 percent of the cases in the United States. The NJC has been called the Harvard of Judicial Education.

The Gaveliers’TM tentative first-year football schedule in the CFC calls for games against its crosstown rival in Reno, the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, and non-conference foes Alabama, Michigan and Ohio State. A proposed exhibition at the United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri would pit the GaveliersTM against the defending NFL champion Kansas City Chiefs.

In addition to football, the college plans to field teams in both men’s and women’s basketball, soccer, volleyball, tennis, swimming and track and field along with softball, lacrosse, gymnastics and sentencing.

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Celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2023, The National Judicial College remains the only educational institution in the United States that teaches courtroom skills to judges of all types from all over the country, Indian Country and abroad. The categories of judges served by this nonprofit and nonpartisan institution, based in Reno, Nevada, since 1964, decide more than 95 percent of cases in the United States. The NJC’s athletics program is, at least for now, entirely imaginary, although the school recently made souvenir GaveliersTM shirts available for purchase in its gift shop located at The National Judicial College in Reno, NV. Shirts are only available for purchase in person.

[1] Completely Fabricated Conference

[2] Not a real person

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