Skip to Content

College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management

Faculty and Staff

Joseph R. Lefft, J.D.

Title: Senior Instructor
Department: Sport and Entertainment Management
College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management
Phone: 803-777-9523
Fax: 803-777-8788

Carolina Coliseum, Room 2026 E

Ricky Lefft


J.D., University of South Carolina School of Law, May 1984
B.A., Economics, University of South Carolina, May 1981

Professor Left is a graduate of the University of South Carolina where he earned a B.A. Degree in Economics in 1981 and a Juris Doctorate Degree from the University of South Carolina School of Law in 1984. He is a member of the South Carolina (1984) and Ohio (1986) Bars as well as a member of the Sports Lawyers Association. Professor Lefft is an assistant professor in the College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management where he teaches sports law in the Sport and Entertainment Management Department. He has been on faculty since August 2004. Professor Lefft is also a principal in The Lefft Law Group, LLC, formed in 2003, and specializing in the representation of college coaches and athletics directors as well as educational institutions. Prior to joining the University, he was a principal in Synergy Sports International, Inc., which he co-founded in 1997 to provide representation and marketing services to professional athletes in football and basketball. After selling his interest in Synergy Sports in 2003, he joined the faculty at the University of South Carolina as an adjunct professor and later accepted a fulltime position.

Professor Lefft previously served as special counsel with the law firm of Nexsen Pruet Jacobs & Pollard where he represented financial institutions such as NationsBank (now Bank of America), and the state of South Carolina's economic development fund (Carolina Capital Investment Corporation), in negotiating and closing complex financial transactions. In 1991 he also created and managed the firm's sports law practice where he was responsible for representing college basketball coaches, colleges and universities and professional athletes. Prior to joining Nexsen Pruet, Professor Lefft was a vice president and general counsel for UPX, Inc., a Northern Virginia-based fourth-party computer maintenance firm. He also served in the United States Air Force from 1985 to 1989 as a captain and as a contracting officer for Aeronautical Systems Division at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio, where he negotiated contracts for F-15E aircraft, research and development projects and other weapon systems.

Professor Lefft has served on numerous boards including the Board of South Carolina Special Olympics, the Midlands Board of the American Cancer Society, the Charlotte District of the United Methodist Church Board of Trustees and the Board of the Palmetto Health Foundation. Currently he is a member of the University of South Carolina's Alumni Board of Governors and he is a life member of the University of South Carolina Alumni Association. He is a native of Orangeburg, South Carolina.


SPTE 530 – Sports and the Law
SPTE 402 – Entertainment Law
SPTE 201 – Introduction to Sport and Entertainment Management