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They were not all bad people, the NCAA officials, but they were blind, Vaccaro believes. I’m probably closer to the kids than anyone else, and I’m 71 years old.” Vaccaro is officially an unpaid consultant to the plaintiffs in O’Bannon v. He connected Ed O’Bannon with the attorneys who now represent him, and he talked to some of the additional co-plaintiffs who have joined the suit, among them Oscar Robertson, a basketball Hall of Famer who was incensed that the NCAA was still selling his image on playing cards 50 years after he left the University of Cincinnati.
“Their organization is a fraud.” Vaccaro retired from Reebok in 2007 to make a clean break for a crusade. Jon King, an antitrust lawyer at Hausfeld LLP in San Francisco, told me that Vaccaro “opened our eyes to massive revenue streams hidden in college sports.” King and his colleagues have drawn on Vaccaro’s vast knowledge of athletic-department finances, which include off-budget accounts for shoe contracts.
However, the team bid 5,000 for at a domain name auction in 2007, Deadspin reported, citing Domain Name News.
Then the organization reneged on the deal, thinking it bid 5, the trade publication wrote.
“Why,” asked Bryce Jordan, the president emeritus of Penn State, “should a university be an advertising medium for your industry? You can be very moral and righteous in asking me that question, sir,” Vaccaro added with irrepressible good cheer, “but there’s not one of you in this room that’s going to turn down any of our money. I can only offer it.” William Friday, a former president of North Carolina’s university system, still winces at the memory.
“Boy, the silence that fell in that room,” he recalled recently.
The Knight Foundation, a nonprofit that takes an interest in college athletics as part of its concern with civic life, had tasked them with saving college sports from runaway commercialism as embodied by the likes of Vaccaro, who, since signing his pioneering shoe contract with Michael Jordan in 1984, had built sponsorship empires successively at Nike, Adidas, and Reebok.
Not all the members could hide their scorn for the “sneaker pimp” of schoolyard hustle, who boasted of writing checks for millions to everybody in higher education. “You sold your souls, and you’re going to continue selling them.
The address is now a primarily gay dating site (h/t Deadspin), serving what it calls the "country western cowboy looking for a man to ride into the sunset with." The Cowboys of the NFL can still be found at their official website, Dallas
Cleveland still scratches his head over the Dallas Cowboys turning over the Internet address five years ago.
"Any organization that doesn't own the best-suited dot-com for the organization has missed the boat," he said.
Dallas Cowboy followers -- the single adult ones anyway -- who visit by mistake might still benefit, according to Cleveland.
"Considering that the website actually serves the interest of gay and straight people, maybe they'll take action," he said.