This is a good time to post this.
“I always believed the kids got the shaft,” Sonny Vaccaro said. “The N.C.A.A. would never allow the kids to have anything.”
It was a sunny afternoon in 2013, just about a year before the O’Bannon trial was set to begin, which of course would result in the N.C.A.A. being found in violation of the United States’ antitrust laws. Vaccaro, who’d had the original idea for the O’Bannon lawsuit, was sitting in the dining room of his small home in Pebble Beach, Calif. It was cluttered with boxes, the detritus of his long career as a sports marketer and more recently as the country’s most outspoken critic of the N.C.A.A. Vaccaro, 76, is an excitable man; from time to time, he would grab a document from a box and begin waving it in the air, the words practically tumbling out of his mouth.
Vaccaro’s legion of critics would accuse him of hypocrisy. After all, he made his living for years off the unpaid players. But Vaccaro bristles at the characterization. “The hypocrisy wasn’t me coming up with the idea,” he says of the scheme to pay coaches to have their players wear Nikes. “It was the N.C.A.A. letting us do it. At least I was putting shoes on the kids.”