Teams Force Site to Call Time Out

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SportsPlayBooks.com, a Web site that sold playbooks of college and professional football teams, shut down this week after receiving complaints from athletic departments of several universities.


Armando Ordonez, co-founder of the site and a former high school football coach, said his firm received letters from Texas A&M University and other colleges asking him to stop. SportsPlayBooks.com, Austin, TX, sold playbooks for $8 to $35 prior to the complaints.


"There hasn't been any mention of lawsuits, and we don't necessarily expect any," he said. "We closed down simply because we don't want to make people mad anymore."


SportsPlayBooks plans to send contractual letters to the universities authorizing it to sell old playbooks, with the hope of reopening by late summer, Ordonez said, although the proposal's specifications have yet to be decided.


"If we can't get the agreements signed, we'll just stop trying to do this," he said. "The Web site isn't really a money-making venture anyway. Our goal was to provide a service so that high school football coaches could see these playbooks."


Ordonez said he had accumulated the playbooks by trading them with other high school coaches while coaching in the 1990s. He said playbooks are swapped within the high school coaching community so frequently that it was tough to tell how coaches originally acquired the resource material.


Playbooks used by college teams in 1999 were available at the site, although most were from the 1980s and the early to mid-1990s. Ordonez was surprised by the reaction of some schools since, given the age of the playbooks, he felt they offered little strategic benefit for college coaches who wanted to gain an edge over other teams.


Texas football coach Mack Brown, quoted in The Dallas Morning News, joked about the situation.


"Our assistants said, 'We worked all those hours on that thing, and they're selling it for $9.95?' " Brown said. "That was our biggest complaint."
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