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SBD/5/Leagues Governing Bodies
USA TRACK & FIELD WAR COULD LEAD TO PLAYERS UNION
Published December 5, 1994
"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).