Basketball Wars – redooo

I was wrong, it is apparently not over.

I heard that Vic Sapp and the Greensboro Gators AAU basketball organization had chosen not to persue their challenge to the City’s contract for service at the Greensboro SportsPlex with the N.C Baseball Academy through public forums.  Instead they opted to follow up on their complaints through different channels.

I received this letter (1,2,3,4 ) today from the Gators attorney, Michael S. Fox which outlines their grievances with the City of Greensboro:

“The issues… involve the rights of taxpayers to have equal access to City owned and operated facilities as well as serious concerns over the appropriateness of a registered sports agent being involved with recreational and amateur basketball pro­grams run by the City of Greensboro.”

Regarding the contract that the City holds with Rudd for the scheduling of basketball programming at the facility:

“My clients feel strongly that it is inappropriate to grant exclusivity for the use of City owned facilities to any one organization…   (And they) further feel that it was a very poor policy decision and reflects a lack of judgment for the City to enter into such an exclusive agreement without discussing it with other stakeholders in the community such as well established AAU teams.”

The City has a similar contracts with many other service providers like SoccerOP, LLC who operates the SportsPlex’s indoor soccer facilities.  I am unsure if the City discussed its SoccerOP agreement with local AAU soccer organizations before signing.

Regarding Delaney Rudd’s professional sports agent status:

“… (S)ince Mr. Rudd is a registered sports agent, this means that the Greensboro SportsPlex would likely not be able to host any AAU func­tions …. Additionally, the in­volvement of a registered sports agent in the City of Greensboro’s basketball program could potentially cause NCAA rules issues with basketball program participants should they later be eligible to participate in college level basketball”

There is no question that Rudd’s professional agent status could be a problem for AAU affiliated teams but Rudd resigned his agency in December when the issue first surfaced.  The AAU’s competition rules (PDF file) offer an exemption for Rudd’s possible conflict if his status was found to have been ”inconsequential” by the AAU.  The City is looking into this right now and hopefully asking for a ruling.

The Greensboro Gators also suggest that a City owned facility should not be rented out to for-profit entities.  The letter questions the appropriateness of Rudd sponsoring a professional scouting clinic that was held at the Greensboro SportsPlex last year.  I’m not exactly sure of all the rental rules for Parks & Rec facilities but I do remember attending Zonefest at War Memorial Stadium this summer.  The tenant and sponsor was “for-profit” 98.7, not NPR.

Regarding Bob Mays’ assertion that the Gators snubbed their nose at the SportsPlex  before the City bought it:

“…After reviewing the options, which included a significant financial contribution by the Gaters, the Gaters simply did not have the financial resources to make the deal a reality…”

Mr. Mays indicated that the “significant financial contribution” was that Pyramids required each player to ”join” Pyramids in order to play at the facility.  My three children were involved with Greensboro Indoor Roller Hockey when Pyramids owned the place.  Included in the cost of playing in the league was an amount that was earmarked for “joining” Pyramids, it didn’t seem unusual to us and actually made a lot of sense in that they could use the facility for activities outside of hockey.  The attorney’s explanation doesn’t address Mays’ allegation that Vic Sapp declared that the facility would not be “sanctioned” for AAU basketball.

Regarding why the Gators did not appear before the P&R Commission:

“…(T)hey finally decided that it would not be in the best interests of any of the parties or the City to have two large competing crowds at your meeting….”

The Gators organization probably made the right call on this.  Despite the strong showing that Rudd’s supporters made at last week’s Commission meeting, the speakers and those in attendence were not making their case to a body that controls such matters directly.  Traditionally, our duties are simply as an advisory body for the overall policy of the Parks & Recreation Department… however…

We do have the final say on all staff decisions if push comes to shove. 

Update 1/21: I took Jack to the SportsPlex for hockey practice tonight.  There are signs posted notifying AAU affiliated basketball players that participating in the facility’s basketball program might effect their eligibility under AAU rules.

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