The University of Arkansas Athletic Department announced today that Scott Varady, who’s worked 19 years in the UA general counsel’s office, would become the new director and general counsel of the Razorback Foundation on Dec. 1.
The Foundation nominally is an independent nonprofit that raises money to support Razorback athletics, but it does so by coordinating with the public university on such things as premium seat sales through contributions to the foundation. Most of the foundation’s business is shielded from public view despite the connection and despite the fact that contributions are tax deductible.
Varady, a 1985 UA grad with a Georgetown law degree, has worked on a variety of athletic matters while in the counsel’s office. He worked during the time the university has continued to develop its legal theory the UA can claim competitive disadvantage in refusing to reveal some information about athletic fund-raising, including who gets seats in the baseball stadium and secrecy for some people who receive seats in the university skyboxes at football games. That theory of presumed competitive disadvantage (a law written to protect private company records, not public agencies) was also used by the university to hide from the public documents about what agreements were made with the Walton family in return for its $300 million gift to UA.
From the news release:
“Scott is a very positive addition to the Razorback Foundation,” Razorback Foundation Board Chairman Ken Mourton said. “He is certainly familiar with the Razorback Foundation after working closely with it on behalf of the university for many years. He has been very active in matters related to the athletics department. Scott has always had a tremendous relationship with the leadership and membership of the Razorback Foundation and I’m confident that will continue in his new role as executive director and general counsel. I believe it will be a seamless transition and that the Razorback Foundation will continue to grow and prosper under his leadership.”
Norm DeBriyn has been leading the foundation on an interim basis since the departure of Sean Rochelle.