SBD/11/Leagues Governing Bodies

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  • BASEBALL HELD HOSTAGE -- DAY 153: SECRET AGENTS?

         MLBPA officials met with about 75 agents yesterday in New
    York and according to the union's General Counsel, Gene Orza, the
    agents "overwhelmingly supported" the union's decision to
    discipline any agents who represent replacement players.  Orza
    said union sanctions would be decided on a case-by-case basis by
    the union's executive board and could include decertification.
    But, Orza added: "No discipline will be necessary, because no
    agents are going to represent replacement players."  MLB General
    Counsel Chuck O'Connor said the owners believe that the union's
    stance is improper and perhaps illegal: "It's a players right to
    choose to cross the picket line or not cross the picket line.  We
    think decertifying an agent interferes with a player's right to
    make a free choice" (Mark Maske, WASHINGTON POST, 1/11).
         RECRUITING CALL:  The Rockies have established a hotline for
    recruiting replacements.  Candidates can make their "best sales
    pitch to a voicemail system if they call the team's downtown
    headquarters" (AP/FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 1/11).  Dodgers GM
    Fred Claire and his staff have phoned several agents in an
    attempt to identify players who might be willing to cross the
    picket line (Bob Nightengale, L.A. TIMES, 1/11).  AAA player
    Orlando Palmeiro on being offered a chance to become a
    replacement players: "It's like that Indecent Proposal movie"
    (Vancouver PROVINCE, 1/11).
         NEWS & NOTES:  American League spokesperson Phyllis Merhige
    said AL President Gene Budig will have the authority to decide
    whether Cal Ripken Jr.'s consecutive game streak will be halted
    if replacements are used (USA TODAY, 1/11). ....The Braves are
    considering pushing back their date to renew season tickets from
    January 20 to February 3 giving the team time to formulate a
    policy in case replacements are used (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION,
    1/11)....The Cubs said 88% of season ticket holders have put down
    deposits to renew (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 1/11)....All Blue Jays front
    office personnel -- from secretaries to CEO Paul Beeston --
    accepted across-the-board pay cuts.  The club refused to reveal
    the percentage of the cut (TORONTO STAR, 1/11).
    

    Print | Tags: Atlanta Braves, Chicago Cubs, Colorado Rockies, Leagues and Governing Bodies, Los Angeles Dodgers, MLB, News Corp./Fox, Time Warner, Toronto Blue Jays
  • CFL EXPANSION EXPECTED IN BIRMINGHAM; WHAT ABOUT THE POSSE?

         According to a CANADIAN PRESS report, two sources familiar
    with the CFL's expansion efforts told CP that the group seeking
    to attract an expansion franchise to Birmingham, AL, will
    announce today that it will begin play next season.  Birmingham-
    based doctor Larry Lemak is the expected front man for the
    unnamed Atlanta-based businessman who will own the team.  It
    would mark the second time in as many months that the CFL has
    expanded into the southern U.S.  Last month, Memphis was awarded
    a team for '95.  The Birmingham team will play at Legion Field,
    which has a seating capacity of 83,000 (Vancouver PROVINCE,
    1/11).  No word on where the Las Vegas Posse will move.  It had
    been reported that Birmingham was a strong candidate to lure the
    team for the '95 season (see THE DAILY, 1/9).
    

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  • HOCKEY HELD HOSTAGE -- DAY 104: THIS IS IT (WE MEAN IT!)

         Upon direction by the NHL Board of Governors, NHL
    Commissioner Gary Bettman presented the NHLPA with a final
    proposal to be decided upon today.  According to NHL VP for
    Public Relations Arthur Pincus, the season will be canceled if an
    agreement is not reached "promptly."  Asked to elaborate, Pincus
    said "very soon" (David Shoalts, Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 1/11).
    According to the NHLPA, Bettman and NHLPA Exec Dir Bob Goodenow
    are expected to meet again this morning (THE DAILY).  Bruins
    President & GM Harry Sinden:  "This is the final, final, final,
    final, final offer" (BOSTON HERALD, 1/11).  In Toronto, Damien
    Cox describes the deal as "Take it or leave it" (TORONTO STAR,
    1/11).  One league source, on the free agency age issue:  "[The
    owners] want 32 all the way across.  And if the players don't
    think the owners will cancel the season over this, they're wrong.
    That's been the problem with this situation all along.  All of
    the players want to play, but not all of the owners want a
    season" (Cynthia Lambert, DETROIT NEWS, 1/11).
         THE OFFER:  A six-year agreement (The owners could initiate
    renegotiation after the 1996-97 season, the players a year
    later).  Entry draft starting at age 19.   A rookie salary cap of
    $850,000 that will increase incrementally   every year of the
    deal (The cap scheme does not include    "slotting," or different
    levels for different rounds).  The right of teams to "walk away"
    from three unfavorable arbitration decisions every two years.
    Unrestricted free agency at 32 for first three years of the deal,
    and then at 31 in the final three years (TORONTO STAR, 1/11).
         THE OWNERS' POSITION:  Canucks Owner Arthur Griffiths:  "It
    is very clear that the authority, ability and intentions of our
    league and our leadership are to make a deal on the basis of what
    was sent back and if Gary Bettman can do it, he will. If he
    can't, we know the consequences" (Elliott Pap, VANCOUVER SUN,
    1/11).   One NHL Governor:  "There is no room for bargaining this
    time.  That was made clear to Bettman" (Damien Cox, TORONTO STAR,
    1/11).  Sinden hopes the union will take the offer:  "But I'm not
    Bob Goodenow.  He's full of surprises" (BOSTON GLOBE, 1/11).
    While Jets Owner Barry Shenkarow said he can live with the deal,
    another Jets exec responded to an opinion the players would
    reject it, saying:  "I can only hope" (WINNIPEG SUN, 1/11).
         PROSPECTS OF A DEAL:  Blackhawks Player Rep Jeremy Roenick
    said the fact that 10 to 30 players could be affected by each
    increased year of free agency makes it a valid point of
    contention: "In three years you're influencing 90 to 80 lives,
    how much money they can make. ... That's something you have to
    think about very seriously" ("Sports Tonight," CNN, 1/10).  Neil
    Smith, Rangers G.M. and President:  "I'm optimistic a deal can be
    done because we're close enough to the players proposal that
    something can be worked in order to get the vote of the
    constituency of the players."  Rangers Goalie Mike Richter: "You
    think of the repercussions of getting too rigid, and it could be
    the loss of the entire year."  ESPN's Al Morganti, asked if he
    believes the players will accept the deal:  "I don't know that
    they have much choice, it's now in their court the ball's been
    hit back to them.  Are they going to push the button on the
    season?  I don't think they can, I don't think there's enough
    room to maneuver now, to say no to this and blow up the season"
    ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 1/10).
    

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  • HOCKEY HELD HOSTAGE II: SPLIT CONSTITUENCIES ON BOTH SIDES

         Many reports across the U.S. and Canada this morning focus
    on the contentious nature of the first conference call among NHL
    management that resulted in a 14-12 rejection of a proposal
    worked out by NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA Exec Dir
    Bob Goodenow.  The N.Y. POST and TORONTO STAR identify the 14
    teams as:  Anaheim, Boston, Calgary, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit,
    Edmonton, Florida, Hartford, New Jersey, Quebec, Vancouver,
    Washington and Winnipeg.  Of those, seven joined the majority in
    approving the league's "take it or leave it" offer to the
    players:  Anaheim, Calgary, Dallas, Hartford, Vancouver, Quebec
    and Florida.
         BETTMAN AND THE OWNERS:  In Toronto, Bob McKenzie writes,
    "If ever there were any doubt the hawks rule the NHL roost,
    yesterday's unfolding drama erased it" (TORONTO STAR, 1/11).  In
    New York, Larry Brooks compares Bettman to Abraham Lincoln
    writing that he will have to "rule over a house divided, ruined
    by a bloody civil war" (N.Y. POST, 1/11).  One NHL exec:  "The
    idiots are running the asylum."  The TORONTO SUN's Scott Morrison
    adds that, for a time, Bettman "resembled former president John
    Ziegler in not only height but league stature" (TORONTO SUN,
    1/11).  According to the SUN's Al Strachan, Capitals Owners Abe
    Pollin confronted Bettman in the call, saying:  "Who authorized
    you to negotiate after we had made a final offer?"  Writes
    Strachan, "These people would rather kill the season than see
    reason. ... Bettman, who precipitated this mess, has finally
    fought the good fight for the game over the last few days, but it
    may be too late" (TORONTO SUN, 1/11).  Pollin: "It's an important
    issue, some guys get emotional" (Len Hochberg, WASHINGTON POST,
    1/11).  In Toronto, James Christie writes, "The yo-yo dispatching
    of Bettman by the owners created an impression that the
    commissioner was plagued by a lack of owner confidence -- or
    certainly a lack of empowerment" (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 1/11).
    In Boston, Stephen Harris writes that the owners' "egos, greed
    and stupidity" has pushed the NHL to the "absolute edge of
    disaster" (BOSTON HERALD, 1/11).  In Vancouver, Archie McDonald
    writes, "The most revealing development in the past few days is
    how united the players have remained and how fractured the owners
    have become" (VANCOUVER SUN, 1/11).  In Detroit, Vartan Kupelian
    writes Bettman's "tenure is on the brink" (DETROIT NEWS, 1/11).
    USA TODAY's Tom Weir:  "Hear that hissing sound?  Pssssssssst.
    That's the air going out of Gary Bettman's balloon" (USA TODAY,
    1/11).  ESPN's Al Morganti: "Gary Bettman has a house divided.
    He has a hawkish element, which may be a misnomer, its kind of
    the needy and the greedy.   Needy teams from Canada which are not
    big market teams, and wealthy teams like Boston and Chicago"
    ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 1/10).
         STANDING BY THEIR MAN:  In Montreal, Red Fisher reports that
    Bettman "was among those who weren't satisfied with the tentative
    deal he brought to the governors."  Bettman told them, according
    to Fisher:  "This is what the players' association is ready to
    accept, but I'm not.  If you want to vote on it, go ahead, but I
    wouldn't recommend it" (MONTREAL GAZETTE, 1/11).  Canucks Owner
    Arthur Griffiths "all but accused" the NHLPA of planting the
    story that Goodenow and Bettman had reached a tentative agreement
    and that the owners undermined the deal.  Griffiths:  "There was,
    in fact, no consensus and [Bettman] indicated to [the players]
    there were issues that would not fly.  Therefore it was not a
    proposal he was recommending and it was not a done deal" (Elliott
    Pap, Vancouver PROVINCE, 1/11).  Panthers President Bill Torrey:
    "It was fair to say today's discussion was heated at times.  But
    if anybody thinks there's a division on the board or that we
    don't support what Gary is trying to, that is erroneous" (David
    Neal, MIAMI HERALD, 1/11).  Whalers Owner Peter Karmanos:  "The
    early vote was to test the mood of the ownership, not to end the
    season" (Jeff Jacobs, HARTFORD COURANT, 1/11).  Don Cherry, a
    oft-foe of Bettman's:  "Everybody's blaming Bettman for
    everything ... I think he's saving hockey for the year right now.
    If it wasn't for Bettman, I heard last Saturday that the league
    would've been cancelled" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 1/10).
         GOODENOW AND THE PLAYERS:  Goodenow faces his own set of
    potential problems with his employers.   In Toronto, Gare Joyce
    writes that, if a deal is done, the NHLPA "will have to explain
    to its members why they can't gain access to the free market ...
    why, in a business where the average career lasts but five years,
    players have to be long-time fixtures before they're eligible for
    arbitration, that is, the independent determination of fair-
    market value.  When hockey's brightest lights negotiate their
    contracts, they'll look to NHLPA leadership and ask:  'Where did
    our leverage go?'" (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 1/11).  In Vancouver,
    Tony Gallagher writes, "Somewhere, Alan Eagelson is laughing."
    Canucks Player Rep Trevor Linden:  "We're getting raped"
    (Vancouver PROVINCE, 1/11).  ESPN's Mike Milbury on Bob Goodenow:
    "He's the reason this mess has occurred.  The guy wouldn't come
    to the table, he missed meetings, wouldn't return phone calls.  I
    put the blame squarely on his shoulders.  He blew it, and he blew
    it big time, and the players are suffering, they're getting a
    tough deal from the owners.  I think a tax consideration would
    have been better off than the deal that they're getting right
    now. ... The players union has come out of this bloodied, and I
    think his job's on the line" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 1/10).
    

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  • PBA HEADED FOR THE GUTTER?

         SPORTS ILLUSTRATED's "ScoreCard" reports that the
    Professional Bowlers Association is having trouble finding
    corporate backers for some of its events, and two of its 15
    events have yet to be sponsored at all.  Although ABC, who has
    aired the tour for 33 years, has renewed its contract with the
    PBA, it did so for a fee of $700,000 for 14 events, down from
    $3.52M for 24 events in its previous deal.   True Value has
    recently ended its 12 year affiliation with the tour, and the
    Tournament of Champions, the sport's "crown jewel," has had to
    find its third sponsor in as many years.  Although bowling still
    "dominates its Saturday time slot," ABC senior VP Dennis Lewin
    says that "Ratings aren't a problem.  Revenues are" (SPORTS
    ILLUSTRATED, 1/16 issue).
    

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  • WOULD A HOCKEY ROOKIE SALARY CAP BE BAD NEWS FOR NFL & NBA?

         In Boston, Michael Gee examines the likely NHL rookie salary
    cap and its potential effect on other sports leagues.  NHL
    Commissioner Gary Bettman's "victory will almost certainly spawn
    an antitrust suit with the potential to cost the NHL owners far
    more than they'll ever save from any of the concessions they
    wring out of the current players.  And such a suit could wreak
    havoc" with the NFL and NBA.  Gee notes that the player draft is
    the most "obvious example of restraint of trade to be found in
    American commerce."  A potential employee cannot freely choose
    his employer.  But, the NHL deal would "change the equation.  It
    would remove the bribe that is the linchpin of the draft system."
    Sooner or later, there will be a rookie -- "the next Gretzky" --
    who could challenge the system.  Agent Steve Freyer: "If I were a
    top NHL draft choice, I'd certainly be considering the
    possibility (of a lawsuit)."  The player that sues could contend
    that since he is an amateur, and not a member of the union which
    negotiated the agreement, he is yet to surrender any rights.  The
    owners will argue that "merely wanting to play NHL hockey makes
    you subject to the contract that binds all the league's players."
    If the courts find the hockey draft illegal, "the resulting free
    market for amateurs will send salaries soaring" (BOSTON HERALD,
    1/11).
    

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