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Longtime agent Dick Moss will announce formation of his new United League at a news conference in New York on Tuesday. Moss: "A lot of people are involved. And, of course, they have a lot of money. We need money. And players and stadiums and clout -- that's the American way." The CHICAGO TRIBUNE gives details of a 40-page prospectus sent to potential investors which states "the league will open with 10-12 teams and include clubs in the US, Canada, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Venezuela, Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea," and also expand to 16 teams in three years. It projects team payrolls of $13M in the first season, increasing to $20M in the 5th or 6th. But MLB owners do not view the new league as a threat. One AL "mogul": "Moss has as much chance of putting that across as I have going to the moon in nine minutes" (Jerome Holtzman, CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 10/30). Moss hinted the league, which could start as early as spring '95, "may include a franchise in DC." Former U.S. Rep. Bob Mrazek (D-NY) and economist/author Andrew Zimbalist are reportedly involved in the organization of the league (Mark Maske, WASHINGTON POST, 10/29). MLB NEWS & NOTES: Will McDonough writes the Red Sox "are looking at the possibility of playing a weekend series in Ireland, most likely against the Mets in 1996." The Sox are hoping to play the Mets on the 10th anniversary of their '86 World Series on St. Patrick's weekend in Dublin's Croake Park (BOSTON GLOBE, 10/30)....BUSINESS WEEK profiles mediator William Usery. "His method: wear down both sides with talk" (Aaron Bernstein, BUSINESS WEEK, 11/7 issue).
NHL Senior VP & General Counsel Jeffrey Pash said that the league's "revised accounting practices" should satisfy the union's concerns that the owners will hide revenues in any financial reports the NHL provides (CANADIAN PRESS/ VANCOUVER SUN, 10/31). Last week, the league and union traded faxes on a proposal to begin play under the owners' system while the union audits the league's finances. NHLPA Exec Dir Bob Goodenow's response: "To be candid, we are skeptical of the quality of information you might provide" (Len Hochberg, WASHINGTON POST, 10/29). "The catch, as far as the union was concerned, was that, if the audit supported the NHL's claim that it lost $32 million in 1992-93 and that 13 teams were operating in the red, the players would have to abide by the terms of that last proposal. That would be admitting that the league was right all along" (Gary Miles, PHILA. INQUIRER, 10/30). The NHL proposed if the audit did not support their claim of growing losses, their taxation plan would be removed (Larry Brooks, N.Y. POST, 10/29). THE EVER-SHORTENING SCHEDULE: The league is set to pare its schedule again today, and NHL Dir of Hockey Ops Brian Burke said, "If it is up to me, the number will be in double digits" (CANADIAN PRESS/Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 10/29). IS A ROOKIE CAP THE KEY? "There is growing support for the theory that by giving in on the rookie salary cap issue, the NHLPA could bring a quick end to the work stoppage," writes Roy Cummings in the TAMPA TRIBUNE. One league source said the NHL was prepared to resume play if the union accepted its proposal for a rookie cap. But, when presented with the idea, Goodenow reportedly responded, "If that's what you came to talk about then we're wasting our time here." One NHL player: "I'd say 90 percent of the players would agree to it" (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 10/30). In Boston, Kevin Paul Dupont sees "indications" both sides "might be able to come to terms" on a rookie cap/floor (BOSTON GLOBE, 10/30). ALMOST A HEALTH CARE CRISIS: "The NHL has decided to stop paying health insurance costs for locked-out players and their families, saying it is following U.S. federal law by giving players 60-day notice that they can keep their coverage only if they pay the entire cost themselves." The union charges the league with "slow notification" claiming it found out only after Anaheim's Tom Kurvers and his 7 1/2-month pregnant wife were involved in an auto accident. Kurvers: "I found out at the hospital. ... I was a little bit surprised." But NHL VP of Public Relations Arthur Pincus said "no player has been left without coverage." Goodenow: "They sent notices by regular mail and they didn't call us" (Norwood & Dillman, L.A. TIMES, 10/29). The union started picking up insurance costs as soon as it found out about the lapse (Dave Fay, WASHINGTON TIMES, 10/31). PLAYERS' LEAGUES: In New York, Mark Everson sees the union's ability to stage exhibition games as a positive sign for a players' league: "The owners may have started the sequence that puts themselves out of business" (N.Y. POST, 10/31). "The bet is" that IMG will sponsor Wayne Gretzky's tour of Europe (Kevin Paul Dupont, BOSTON GLOBE, 10/30). SOLIDARITY WATCH: In St. Louis, Dave Luecking reports that Blues President Jack Quinn met with some of the Blues' stars and other team officials met with some of their players to "work on them." But, "the owners' effort has had no impact" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 10/29). ESPN's Linda Cohn: "On the subject of possible cracks in the union, Wayne Gretzky said he can guarantee 25 of the top guys would not cross and would stay unified" ("SportsCenter," 10/28). SEEING STARS: The Stars fired 13 of their 55 full-time employees yesterday, mostly from the sales and community relations departments. Stars President Jim Lites said some might be rehired, but they would be evaluated on a "case-by-case basis." Stars VP of Advertising & Promotions Jeff Cogen: "I can tell you this, there are very quality people out there in the marketplace looking for jobs today" (Mike Heika, FORT WORTH STAR- TELEGRAM, 10/29).
"The talk of NBA expansion to Tampa has quieted down, even by those pursuing the matter, and for good reason. The NBA brought exhibition basketball to Mexico City Friday and Saturday night and did huge business." In Tampa, Bill Fay notes NBA Commissioner David Stern "has said several times he thinks the domestic market is saturated, but likes the potential in Canada and south of the border." NBA Expansion Committee Chair/Suns owner Jerry Colangelo: "Mexico City makes sense for a lot of reasons, but mainly because it's an untapped market in one of the world's largest cities. It's not a done deal, but we are down here exploring, and the response to our game has been phenomenal" (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 10/30). In Houston, Fran Blinebury previewing the Mexico City exhibitions: "So the world becomes smaller and the NBA continues to make inroads in every corner that has the inclination to hang up rims and begin selling sneakers and replica jerseys" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 10/28).
Several NBA columnists commented over the weekend on the NBA-NBPA no-strike/no-lockout agreement for '94-95. YEA: In New York, Harvey Araton: "The union knew that too many of its young, immature millionaires couldn't deal with a lockout. They need time to grow up, to understand what they're selling and to whom" (N.Y. TIMES, 10/30). In Washington, Johnette Howard: "The NBA, more than any other league, recognizes that its players are its product and that you do your league no good by running down your players as greedy or selfish or money hungry -- even on those occasions when it is true" (WASHINGTON POST, 10/30). In Boston, Will McDonough feels NBA players "caved in because they saw their peers in baseball and hockey lose big money and didn't want to go down the same road" (BOSTON GLOBE, 10/29). BOO: NBPA Exec VP/Knicks forward Charles Smith: "I feel good about it from the standpoint that we, as players, felt we didn't want to get into the same mayhem as hockey and baseball. The downside is that we're back to square one at the end of the season" (N.Y. TIMES, 10/29). Marc Fleisher, the son of former NBPA Exec Dir Larry Fleisher, on current NBPA Exec Dir Charlie Grantham: "Charlie could have gotten this a month from now. I'd have called the bluff and put David in a p.r. nightmare of locking out the players. You can't run scared from a lockout even if you're not sure you can call a strike" (N.Y. TIMES, 10/29). Mike Lupica: "It's worth pointing out, though, that the NBA is where the NHL was one year ago. I'm not sure the NBA isn't headed for the same kind of trouble, even though Stern is portrayed as being smarter than a MENSA meeting. ... All David Stern bought the other day, with ample help from Grantham, is time" ("SportsReporters," ESPN, 10/30). ROOKIE CAP TALK: Dave D'Alessandro proposes some form of a rookie cap coupled with a 2-year opt-out clause. "If there is no cap, make it fair to the owners by basing these free-agent salaries on merit" (Bergen RECORD, 10/30). 76ers coach John Lucas on escalating rookie salaries: "We're going to have to reach a happy median where everybody is in a win-win situation. Or else we'll see the league drop in attendance because people aren't going to care anymore" (Baltimore SUN, 10/31).
Unless NFL owners "are struck by inspiration" Tuesday, their final realignment proposal "appears doomed to the pile of ideas too good to come true." Steelers Owner Dan Rooney is the principal supporter of the final realignment plan before the owners this week (Don Pierson, CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 10/30). ESPN's Chris Mortensen: "Since it makes sense, it probably won't happen" ("GameDay," ESPN, 10/30). The following is reportedly Rooney's alignment plan. Teams that would join new divisions are in CAPS:AFC EASTAFC CENT
AFC WEST NFC EAST NFC CENT NFC WEST BUCS PANTHERS OILERS FALCONS JAGUARS CARDINALS Dolphins COLTS Broncos Cowboys Packers SEAHAWKS Bills Steelers Raiders Redskins Vikings 49ers Jets Browns Chargers Giants Lions Rams Patriots Bengals Chiefs Eagles Bears Saints