SBD/5/Leagues Governing Bodies

USA TRACK & FIELD WAR COULD LEAD TO PLAYERS UNION

     "The essence of track and field's problems is that, at the
national level, a federation created to run an amateur sport
sanctions meets involving" pros.  It is that fact that is leading
many in the USA Track & FIeld leadership to "move toward a
player-run meet circuit," according to Joe Drape of the ATLANTA
CONSTITUTION.  "Growing athlete activism was on display" at the
USATF's annual convention in St. Louis last week.  Mike Conley, a
USATF board member who is at the "forefront of the union
movement": "The future of track and field is in prize money.
Right now, appearance fees are so hush-hush that the fans don't
have a real idea of what it's about.  And that takes away from
the public appeal."  Many USAFT members were upset with USATF
Exec Dir Ollan Cassell for negotiating what they considered a
"mediocre" TV deal for the indoor track circuit.  Conley said a
player-run pro circuit will be more attractive to sponsors: "If
we as an organization go to a sponsor and say we'll promise you
these top guys will compete, I believe they'd be glad to get rid
of the middle man" (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 12/4).
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