Two Villanova Law students took charge of their own professional prospects, launching a podcast to discuss the intersection of sports, business and the law 

Arun saying "When things had to shut down, we had to rethink our next move" and Joe saying "So I just put it out there, What if we launched our own podcast?"

Flying high from a near victory at the third annual Tulane Professional Basketball Negotiation Competition in February 2020, Arun Thottakara ’21 JD and Joe Manganiello ’21 JD  returned to the Charles Widger School of Law with plans for the summer of their lives. While in New Orleans, they secured internships, networked with judges and executives in the NBA, and forged promising professional connections. A month later, the NBA—and the country—shut down. 

In an industry as competitive as sports law, their professors at Villanova Law had repeatedly emphasized the importance of setting yourself apart. Joe recalls a conversation with Arun at the time: “We’re asking each other as friends and colleagues, ‘How can we really put ourselves out there if we literally can’t leave our rooms?’” 

And thus, Suits and Sidelines was born—a podcast they created to discuss the intersection of sports, business, policy and the law. By August, they had launched their first episode on the Apple Store. Over the course of seven months and 27 episodes, they honed their skills as negotiators, lawyers and commentators, as well as their rapport as a dynamic duo.

In 2021, they took home first place in the Tulane competition and secured positions in the industry shortly after graduation: Joe as an account executive with the New York Liberty of the WNBA, and Arun as a name, image and likeness legal coordinator with Excel Sports Management. They both credit the podcast as a stepping stone that helped to get them there. “In the sports industry, you’re often told, ‘Find a way to separate yourself,’” Arun says. “And for us, this podcast was a separating point.”

While Joe and Arun have moved on from the podcast to working in sports, their episodes still remain relevant, covering some of the most pressing topics in sports and society today, with commentary from leading law experts and some former professional athletes.