Sonny Vaccaro and Harvard Sports Law Symposium

Lewis Rice has posted an excellent write-up of Sonny Vaccaro’s keynote speech at the 2011 Harvard Sports Law Symposium which was held in Cambridge, Mass. on March 25.  Vaccaro’s message and position on big-time collegiate athletics can be described with the following quote:

“There’s not one rule in that rule book that advocates for the athlete,” he said. “Everything they write prevents the athlete from doing something.”

Here’s an excerpt from the story:

The multibillion-dollar industry that college athletics is today can in many ways be traced to Vaccaro. After starting an influential all-star game for high school basketball players, he worked for Nike in the 1970s, when he began the practice of paying college basketball coaches to showcase the company’s products on their teams. In some cases, he would pay the coaches more than their colleges did, he said. “I just gave them a business deal they couldn’t refuse,” said Vaccaro, who has been dubbed the godfather of grassroots basketball.

Follow the link to see the full article and Mr. Vaccaro’s speech in its entirety.  Also, be sure to check out Vaccaro’s interview for the PBS Frontline feature “Money and March Madness.”

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