Basketball Wars – Conclusion?

Last night’s Greensboro Parks and Recreation Commission meeting may have put Vic Sapp’s Greensboro Gators challenge of the City’s SportsPlex contract for service with Delaney Rudd’s Dreams in Motion to bed after quite a build up.


Eleven speakers-from-the-floor rose to emotionally praise Rudd’s performance and they were cheered by more than 100 of his supporters.  No rebuttal was offered from Sapp’s camp when it came time for opposing speakers.  This morning’s N&R newsprint only coverage of the meeting stated that Sapp was contacted for comments but had nothing to say.


In my opnion, last night’s most revealing and damning presentation was made by ex-City Councilman and former Pyramids facility manager Bob Mays.  Mays recounted that back in May 2002 before the City bought the place, a fledgling non-Gator local AAU basketball organization contacted Pyramids about hosting a fundraising tourament at the Sportsplex.


The day after the inquiry was made, Mays stated that he recieved a message from Sapp who informed Pyramids that the tournament would not be sanctioned by the AAU because the facility didn’t meet AAU minimum standards.


Pyramids hired a sports safety consultant to come and evaluate the facility and it passed the National AAU Tournament standards with flying colors.  Come to find out that a facility can be arbitrarily deemed “unfit” by either the State AAU Board or the National AAU Board.  Just take a wild guess at what AAU Boards that Vic Sapp was a member of at the time. 


The SportsPlex has not undergone any changes related to its basketball facilities since Sapp turned his nose up at it in 2002 when the place was begging to book court time.  Why, now that the courts have been filled by Rudd with eager startup AAU affiliates and other teams that are siphoning off potential Gators standouts, does the place interest Sapp’s organization enough to hire an attorney in an attempt to oust Rudd and disparage the City staff.  My guess it is because Rudd is attracting players and families who want to be associated with an I’m-here-for-the-kids winner, not a its-all-about-me-being-in-control litigator.


The meeting certainly brought out the brass.  In attendence was Mayor Holliday, Commissioner Skip Alston, Councilwoman Bellamy-Small, the Guilford County P&R Commission Chair and others.   City Council P&R liason-person Don Vaughan must have opted to watch from home.


From my perspective, this impressive show of force on behalf of the many supporters of the Parks & Recreation staff and Delaney Rudd may have put the damper on Vic Sapp’s attempt at quashing his competition.  His perceived level of political pull may have withered under the light of public scrutiny so lets chalk one up for the clear air in the front foyer, it doesn’t look like this one will make it to the back room. 


Rudd’s 1-year contract comes up for renewal in October, I don’t expect to hear much more about the issue until then.


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Update: I spoke to Councilman Don Vaughan about the meeting.  He said he did indeed want to attend the meeting but had to watch on TV because he was (and is) nursing his daughter’s broken collar bone.  Hope all is well.


Update 1/20/04: Received a letter from the Gators’ attorney.

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