Bob Ley, Host - Imagine a place where the interests of the NCAA,
sneaker companies, college basketball coaches, and talented young players
all collide. We're going there next.
Among our live guests, insider Sonny Vaccaro, next on OUTSIDE THE
Announcer - July 30th, 2000.
Ley - Summer ball. It's where basketball stars bloom and where
the NCAA intends to crack down.
Eddie Fogler, South Carolina Head Coach - July is a time where
perhaps many of the abuses that occur in recruiting can and do happen.
Nolan Richardson, Arkansas Head Coach - I see some kids bought and
sold. To me, that's not right.
Ley - There are unregulated coaches, sneaker money, and escalating
Maurice Taylor, Former Children's Medical Hospital Summer Team
Assistant Coach - You're going to have kids being solicited at age 9, 10,
11, 12. You know, you're going to have to ask yourself, "Where will it
Ley - Today, on OUTSIDE THE LINES, the big business of summer
Announcer - OUTSIDE THE LINES is presented by 1-800-CALL-ATT.
Joining us from ESPN studios, Bob Ley.
Ley - When the topic is summer basketball, the emperor has no
clothes, though he's probably pretty well set for sneakers. If everybody
is in the basketball business for the kids, why is everyone at each
The NCAA -- in it for the kids -- enjoying a $1.6-billion TV
contract it takes great pains to point out is not really a lot of money
among many schools over a number of years.
NIKE and Adidas who portray their interest in summer ball as
altruistic. Over several years, NIKE paid nearly a half-million dollars
to a single summer league coach.
In that loose profession where they're all in it for the kids,
this summer league coach sits in jail awaiting sentencing, an easy target
as the root cause of all this upheaval.
There are the college coaches, the best of whom earn more in
sneaker money than in straight coaching salary; the always bogeyman
agents, who do not ask us to believe they are in it for the kids; and the
summer league players, the kids themselves, the best of whom now think NBA
before they can even drive, some of whom, it has been shown, willing to
accept money and a lot of it.
But, more than ever, it is the summer league coach who is in the
crosshairs. ESPN.COM's Tom Farrey shows us a world the NCAA is determined
Tom Farrey, ESPN Correspondent (voice-over) - He has the dunk. He
has the funk. Amare Stoudemire is, in the words of one of the hundreds of
scouts watching him last week, filet mignon, as in what's not to like.
Bob Gibbons, All-Star Sports Report - Based on his play this
summer, I think he's the top junior, if not player period -- top junior
big man in the nation, and -- with the potential to be an Alonzo
Mourning-type player if he keeps developing.
Farrey (on camera) - NBA lottery pick right out of the high
Gibbons - That's possible.
Farrey (voice-over) - For now, though, much of the power with that
power forward rests with this man, Travis King (ph). That's because King
is his summer team basketball coach, the type of person that can wield
enormous influence on the lives of blue-chip prospects, a type that some
believe has made the high school coach obsolete.
Richardson - Some of the summer league coaches have -- they help
the young man make the decision where he's going to play basketball.
Let's just be straight up and honest.
Farrey (on camera) - Here at AAU Junior National Boys Tournament
in Orlando, each player gets a T-shirt reminding college coaches that they
cannot talk to players. But they sure can talk to coaches like King.
Unidentified Scout - We'll give you a buzz. We will give you a
Farrey (voice-over) - In the old days, the high school coach was
the key figure in a star player's career. But that was before Michael
Jordan and his best-selling shoe and before the NCAA began allowing high
school players to sign with colleges prior to their senior season and
before Kevin Garnett went straight to the NBA. Now everyone must recruit
players earlier than ever, elevating the importance of the summer all-star
circuit of national tournaments.
Fogler - Certainly, there are some excellent AAU coaches who are
in it for the right reasons, who want kids to get seen, viewed, and -- and
to pick the schools that are best for them. There are others,
unfortunately -- there's a minority but, unfortunately perhaps, a strong
group of those who have selfish motives involved.
Farrey - One of those coaches is now sitting in a jail cell for
his actions. Myron Peggy (ph), a former crack dealer, pled guilty in May
to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud after paying players on his
Maurice Taylor was an assistant coach on Peggy's team. He was not
implicated in any wrongdoing.
Taylor - You should do things for all the right reasons, and --
and helping kids -- that's a good enough reason within itself, but
sometimes we as individuals get sidetracked by seeing certain things out
there and are oftentimes tempted by them. So I think that that's where
things started to go a little bit astray.
Gibbons - The responsibility then for Amare Stoudemire's future
and his well-being rests with Travis King.
Farrey - And not only does King coach him, he lives with him.
Stoudemire moved in earlier this year, about the same time King became
coach of NIKE-sponsored Team Florida. As his educational guardian, King
will help him pick a new high school to attend this fall and then perhaps
a college -- or whether to go to college at all.
(on camera) - How much will you lean on him when that time comes?
Amare Stoudemire, Basketball Player - I ask him anything, you
know. It doesn't matter. I ask him what college to go to and ask him
what -- his opinion on this certain college. I ask him for it.
Farrey (voice-over) - The decisions that Stoudemire makes could
benefit King. When fellow Floridian Tracy McGrady went straight from the
preps to the NBA in 1997, he gave his coach and the street agent who found
him a cut of his Adidas shoe contract.
(on camera) - Do you find anything wrong with -- about what Tracy
Stoudemire - No, ain't nothing wrong with that. I'm going to take
care of the people who took care of me. That's for sure.
Farrey - In what kind of way?
Stoudemire - Well, whatever way. I'll buy him a house, whatever.
You know, he took care of me, so I've got to pay him back some way.
Farrey (voice-over) - King says his decision to coach the team
cost him his job with the AAU national office. Until June 20th, King
managed the same tournament that Team Florida competed in last week. The
split was especially awkward because King considers himself an adopted son
to AAU president Bobby Dodd. Dodd even bought the house that King's
family, along with Stoudemire, now lives in.
Travis King, Basketball Coach - I think that people are suspect,
thinking we're in it for something. You know, I -- I have never asked --
I've had three or four kids play for me that play in the NBA -- never
asked them for a dime and never will.
Farrey - That's the way the AAU and NCAA want it, but summer
couches are accountable to no one, so the temptation to use kids for their
personal gain will always be there. There's simply too much money on the
table from shoe companies, agents, financial planners, the NBA, and
Richardson - There's two things that I've always been very
disappointed in in my life, and number one was slavery and prostitution,
and -- see, when you sell and buy, I have a problem with that, and I know
that selling and buying takes place, and since I'm so against that -- I
see some kids bought and sold. To me, that's not right, and so you're
going to find those few people that are out there doing that, and the rest
of the guys who are really busting their tail trying to do what's right
for a young man will be punished for it.
Fogler - We need to some way somehow put the recruiting process
back into the high school, back to the high school coach, back to the
Farrey - The NCAA has already made a move in that direction,
reducing the summer evaluation period next year for coaches from 24 to 14
days. Other options are being studied.
Bobby Dodd, AAU President and Executive Director - The window is
critical to those mid-level schools. It's critical to that mid-level
athlete. You know, a lot of people say you can educate them or you can
incarcerate them, and I think, through the summer basketball program,
we've had the opportunity to educate a whole lot of people.
Farrey (on camera) - No matter what happens in the coming months,
summer basketball isn't going away. It's just too valuable to too many
people, including players. The question is whether the adults who
surround them can reduce the potential for abuse.
For OUTSIDE THE LINES, I'm Tom Farrey.
Ley - Next, we discuss summer league basketball with a veteran
head college basketball coach, a powerful college sports administrator,
and a man who is at ground zero in the sneaker wars.
Announcer - OUTSIDE THE LINES is presented by 1-800-CALL-ATT for
Ley - Summer basketball. Can it be changed? Should it be
This morning, we are joined from West Lafayette, Indiana, by
Purdue head basketball coach Gene Keady, who is preparing for his 21st
season with the Boilermakers; from Townsend, Tennessee, by Roy Kramer, the
chairman of the Southeastern Conference and a leading figure in NCAA
matters; and from Los Angeles, Sonny Vaccaro, the man credited with
bringing Michael Jordan to NIKE 16 years ago. He now works with Adidas.
Roy, the culture of the summertime. That is a phrase that Seth
Dempsey (ph) has put out there at the Final Four. You've talked about
that. What is the culture of the summertime?
Roy Kramer, SEC Commisioner - Well, I think you've just seen that
culture, Bob, and that's the culture we have to change. We have to find a
way to address that. I'm well aware of the pressures that are there to
win. I'm well aware of the major college programs. But to be a part of
that culture is not what intercollegiate athletics is about, and we have
Ley - What specifically about it, though, Roy?
Kramer - Well, I don't think...
Ley - What specifically about it?
Kramer - I think a number of ways. I think the fact that we have
allowed the corporate world to take over a significant part of the
recruiting process in these summer camps, we've permitted the outside
influences to take over the summer leagues, the outside summer leagues
that are out there, the teams that are traveling all over the world.
We're forcing these young people into a basketball world at an age far too
in advance of where we should be doing it.
And we should take the college -- whether we'll end that or not, I
don't know, but we need to take intercollegiate athletics out of that
world and bring it into the world in which it is meant to be, which is an
educational process based upon the process of the -- of the high schools
and the high school coach and the family and the community in which that
young man lives and not by the outside influences which we -- have
permitted to bring it about to the situation we're in today.
Ley - Outside influence. Sonny Vaccaro, I think he's talking
Sonny Vaccaro, Adidas Executive - This is like silly. The guy has
no idea what he's talking about. First of all, he's never experienced
this here at all. And second of all is I -- I -- the word -- the culture
thing -- it upsets the heck out of me.
Let me understand something here. Is that the reason we had the
scandal in Minnesota for grades? Is that the reason we cheat all the
time? Is that the reason we point shaved in Northwestern? Is that who's
to blame? The summer league guy? The summer league guy is not to blame.
Let's go back a little, Mr. Kramer, OK. Let's go back to the '60s
and '70s when the high school guys had control. You want to go back to
all your cheating scandals in the '60s, the '70s where high school coaches
directly controlled these kids? As you say, control.
This is way out of line. The corporate -- you took the
corporations' money. Then you tell the corporation you can't give it to
the 16- or 17-year-old guys.
I don't understand the whole premise of this, Bob. They want to
eliminate this stuff, and they want to take their guys away from it, take
their coaches away? There are a lot of good college coaches. A lot of
guys have morals and ethics and recruit fairly. That's wonderful.
But you talk about family structure? A lot of the kids we're
talking about have no family structure. That outside is a guy that may be
from the Boys' Club or the church league or something that's really taking
it upon himself to help a group. You isolate it just because of Myron
You -- you want me to go into like high school coaches and other
Ley - Well, let's -- let's stop for just...
Vaccaro - This is silly.
Ley - I want -- I want Gene Keady to tell us how important summer
basketball is to recruiting to you. How much -- how much business do you
get done as a staff at summertime?
Gene Keady, Purdue Head Basketball Coach - Well, it's very
important, Bob. We -- we would like to use the term "atmosphere" --
change the atmosphere some way.
We met two weeks ago in Vegas with the division when coaches had
great dialogue. The NCAA was represented by two of their administrators
there. We came out of that meeting with a good feeling. I think the
atmosphere needs to be changed, and we all need to get probably around a
table and talk about it.
Next Thursday was going to be four or five coaches. Jim Heney
(ph), the executive director of NABC (ph), is going to be there with the
NCAA. So we hope that, when they develop the basketball issues committee,
they have two or three coaches on that. That's going to happen probably
in November, and then, in December, they may start meeting.
So "accessibility" is the key word for us. We want to be able to
watch all levels of talent. We want to watch the small-town kids. We
want to watch the inner-city kids. We want to watch the states that don't
have much population. So...
Ley - It's basically one-stop shopping for a coach. It's very
cost efficient to go to a tournament and watch several hundred kids. It
saves you a lot of money, doesn't it?
Keady - Yes, if we go to -- and -- and -- if it goes to zero days
in the summer, now we're going to have to be away from our players in the
fall, and the -- the freshmen especially really need us, and we're going
to spend a lot more money. So cost containment has always been an issue
with all administrators, and that would be a -- a big factor.
Ley - All right. Roy Kramer, basically Sonny Vaccaro said the
NCAA doesn't get it in the lives of these kids.
Kramer - Well, first of all, Sonny's in a different world, and
that's fine, and I understand where he comes from, but I think Gene
Ley - Well, he's not in a different world because he's dealing
Kramer - ... Gene Keady...
Ley - ... college coaches and college athletes all the time.
Kramer - I...
Ley - I mean, these...
Kramer - Gene Keady is right on board. I'll accept his word
"atmosphere." But Gene is correct, and I think those standards need to be
set by the coaches, by the administrators, by our college presidents, the
people who significantly monitor and manage the programs of
intercollegiate athletics, not by some outside individual representing
some corporate body that really has no interest and no line of
accountability to what intercollegiate athletics is about.
Will some of these athletes go directly to the NBA? Certainly.
That will never change. Some of them probably should. I have no problem
with that. I have no problem with the young man coming out early and
going if that's the direction he wants to go.
But what we ought to do is run our programs based on the 95
percent of our student athletes, not on the 3 or 4 or 5 percent that make
the headlines and are the kind of individuals we're talking about, and I
think we have to get back to ground zero to do that. You can't just rub
an ointment on the skin, you have to have major surgery, and that's what
we're in the middle of.
Ley - Sonny, what does an Adidas or a NIKE hope to gain by these
associations with kids at age 15 and 16 and 17?
Vaccaro - Well, it's obvious. We're in a grassroots program. We
get the -- the kids in the shoes. They take them back to their hometowns.
That's a time-tested marketing, you know, hit, and I -- I have always said
that. I've never disagreed with anyone who's said that we're not in it to
make money also.
Ley - But also to ingratiate yourself with kids who are -- who
could turn pro now...
Vaccaro - You know, Bob, that's...
Ley - ... at age 18.
Vaccaro - Bob, you know, that's so farfetched. You're talking
about two or three people who do it, and we know -- we paid the money. We
signed Tracy McGrady and Kobe Bryant. They signed Kevin Garnett. You
know, we paid them millions of dollars. So it's not like because they
wore my shoe.
The one thing I'd like to say here -- you know, you're talking
about it -- this -- let's get to the main point of it. I think I would
throw my hat in a ring and say, OK, I'm going to help Mr. Kramer. I'm
going to help Coach Keady. Let's take the all-star game -- camps out of
it. Let's take A, B, C, D, and let's take the NIKE camp out of it. But
let's let the summer go. Let's let these kids play in Las Vegas and
Orlando and through their AAU teams and their summer league teams.
You can't take these kids away from playing basketball in the
summer, Bob. If you do, you're not going to destroy the kids. They're
going to play. You're going to destroy college basketball as you know it.
This early signing period is ridiculous because now they go visit a school
for two days -- Gene knows this. They wine and dine them, take them
parties, and they think that's the college atmosphere they're going into.
There are so many mistakes make.
Kramer - Help me understand how going to Las Vegas helps that...
Ley - Roy -- Roy, you'll have a chance to respond in just a second
as we continue with Gene Keady and Roy Kramer and Sonny Vaccaro in just a
moment looking at summer league basketball on OUTSIDE THE LINES.
Ley - More now with Gene Keady, Roy Kramer, and Sonny Vaccaro.
Roy, I promised you a chance to respond to Sonny about the
atmosphere. You were bringing up the point about Las Vegas when we had to
go to break.
Kramer - Well, it's hard for me to understand how taking a young
man to Las Vegas in the middle of the summer helps him to decide whether
he's going to Purdue or Georgia or to -- or Michigan or whatever it is.
That's the part of the atmosphere we have to change, and I think that's
Vaccaro - Hey, Mr. Kramer...
Kramer - ... very significant part.
Vaccaro - ... you guys -- you guys take your conventions there.
You run that big tournament in Las Vegas.
Kramer - I've never been to -- I've never -- we've never had a
convention there. The NCAA doesn't meet there.
Vaccaro - Oh, OK. Whatever. You're...
Kramer - You're taking everything out -- I would -- I would
criticize those people. I...
Vaccaro - Let me...
Kramer - One of the largest - one of our largest summer camp
operations is in the City of Las Vegas, and I've kept -- I've talked to
our officials. I've taken our officials out of that. I've taken our
connection with the officials out of that. That's not what we should be
Vaccaro - What? You're condemning Las Vegas? Come on. Let's...
Kramer - ... in college basketball.
Vaccaro - Las Vegas...
Kramer - That's -- we're in a major problem -- a major crisis of
gambling, and we're taking our -- all of our college coaches and we're
taking all of our players out to Las Vegas.
Vaccaro - Well, let's bomb Las Vegas. Let's get rid of it. What
are we doing here?
Kramer - We ought to get them back on the college campus. We
ought to get them back into the high school where athletics is managed in
a way that we can administer it and with some control.
Vaccaro - Bob, can I address this?
Ley - Well, I -- let's stay off the Las Vegas bashing. I think we
can establish it's...
Vaccaro - Yeah. OK.
Ley - ... it's a city, and it -- and legalized gambling -- but I
-- let me just get to Gene Keady quickly, Sonny, for a second.
Vaccaro - Sure.
Ley - What does it say coming out of Las Vegas -- that big
tournament that Sonny sponsors -- that everyone was talking about an
eighth grader, Sebastian Telfare (ph) -- and now his name is out there on
national television -- the best point guard there, Stefan Marberry's (ph)
cousin, I do believe? What does it say now that coaches are talking about
an eighth grader?
Keady - Well, I think that, you know, this is something that --
that's happened because of the atmosphere, and this needs to be changed.
It's going to happen now. If they take us out of the mix in the summer,
that's not going to help the -- our problems that we have. Two or three
people can ruin it for everybody like any business.
But what I'd like to see and I think what the coaches have said in
our meeting two weeks ago was that, if we could continue our 14 days in
the summer and have like three weekends in the spring where we could
evaluate the state players from your area, maybe then go to a regional
area the next weekend, then still continue the AA -- AAU tournaments the
third weekend, and -- now you've got a spring opportunity to evaluate
these kids and change the atmosphere.
I think the fact that you let players -- or -- I'm sorry --
coaches go down on the floor and talk to the coaches, no matter whether
it's AAU or any coach at the site, is ridiculous, that this -- this could
help a little bit with taking us out of the mix as far as rushing down on
the floor after every game and communicating with them because I think
we're there to evaluate, find out what players we think will fit into our
program, as far as attitude, abilities, and academic levels.
So I think there's a model out there for us. This is what we're
going to try to achieve next Thursday, and -- in Indianapolis, and
everybody needs to have a say in this because it's not just one party's
Ley - Sonny, is it a fair statement that summer league coaches are
Vaccaro - No. You know what? High school coaches are
unregulated. I feel...
Ley - Well, no, they answer to athletic directors and boards of
education and principals.
Vaccaro - And -- and high school coaches do and their students do
fail. They don't qualify for the tests there. You send them to prep
schools, which is now in vogue today.
Mr. Kramer, what I'm asking you to do is don't paint such a
beautiful picture of high school coaches. It's not like when you and I
were a child or Coach Keady was a child where the high school coach was --
was a ruler in the community. Some of these high school coaches don't
teach in their school. They show up, they get their money, then they
leave, and they go run their bars that they run and work -- and -- another
job. Let's just be honest about this.
The grades situation -- all the problems you people in the NCAA
had with grades this year because someone who paid for a test that -- to
-- so they can go qualify for a prep school, that didn't happen from a
summer league guy. That happened from a high school ill prepared to
prepare this guy to go on educationally.
Ley - Let me give Roy a chance to respond here.
Kramer - Well, I think a great deal of that pressure comes from
the fact that we elevate these young people, particularly the premier
ones, at a very early age, and that's a product of this atmosphere. I
think what Gene is saying is the very type of thing that we've got to work
toward, but you can't get there until you make a major statement. We've
gone on with this summer situation for a number of years without ever
having anybody step forward to take any steps in the right direction.
Well, finally, by getting tough enough and taking some major
surgery, we are getting the coaches involved, the coaches that can make
some decisions here. We got -- we are getting administrators involved so
that we can take it out of this summer pressure atmosphere where we are
looking at eighth graders and ninth graders coming along, and that's where
the problems begin, with the whole process of these young people
understanding what the opportunities are and what the goals are and what
the long-range aspirations are of an intercollegiate athletics, and until
we get this back into that atmosphere, we'll have those problems.
Is every high school honest? Certainly not. Has every college
coach not had a problem? Certainly not. But I believe within that
system, there is the mechanism to manage it in a way that we can address
Ley - And that is where, gentlemen, we have to leave it. We are
out of time.
Thanks this morning to Gene Keady, to Roy Kramer, and to Sonny
And, next, we'll tell you about an upcoming chat session with one
of the principals right in the middle of this issue of summer league
basketball. The chat session is coming along tomorrow.
Ley - Last week's program focused on the allegations of a
drug-testing cover-up by the United States Olympic Committee and the
larger issue of performance-enhancing drug use by elite Olympic athletes,
and among our guests, the world record holder in the long jump Mike Pal
Mike Pal, Long Jumper - We shouldn't have to prove our innocence.
I mean, we're out here working hard, and we have a small window of
opportunity to -- to show what -- the hard work we've done, and for
somebody to come out and say a five-second blurb that's going to discredit
work that we put in our whole lives -- I take personal offense at it. We
don't have to prove ourselves. If somebody's doing something wrong, you
prove somebody's doing something wrong.
Ley - Just this morning, word in from Australia of the theft of a
thousand syringes containing the performance-enhancing drug EPO. The
missing drugs are worth millions on the black market as we head towards
the Sidney games. EPO cannot be detected by the traditional urine testing
of athletes and, tomorrow, the International Olympic Committee Medical
Commission will consider whether to institute blood testing in Sidney,
blood testing that could detect drugs such as EPO.
Reminder that OUTSIDE THE LINES is online at espn.com. The key
word is "otlweekly." Check out our library of transcripts and streaming
video of all our past programs as well as the place to register your input
to our e-mail in box. Our address - firstname.lastname@example.org.
And tomorrow at 11 - 00 a.m. Eastern time, Tom Farrey moderates an
espn.com chat session with AAU president Bobby Dodd on the topic of summer
basketball, and your questions are welcome tomorrow online, 11 - 00 a.m.
Eastern. A chat with the head of the AAU.
Announcer - OUTSIDE THE LINES is presented by 1-800-CALL-ATT for
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BROADCAST OF SUNDAY, JULY 30, 2000
Anchor: Bob Ley
Guests: Gene Keady, Purdue basketball coach; Roy Kramer,SEC commisioner; Sonny Vaccaro, adidas.
Reported by: Tom Farrey , ESPN.com
Coordinating producer: Jonathan Ebinger