SBD/12/Franchises

OWNERS TO DECIDE RAMS FATE TODAY; TEAM MAY MOVE REGARDLESS

     NFL owners meet today in Dallas to reconsider the Rams' move
to St. Louis, but the team may move regardless of the league's
decision, according to T.J. Simers in this morning's L.A. TIMES.
Simers reports that Rams President John Shaw indicated Tuesday
that if the owners again reject a move, "the team might still
move and then file a lawsuit on favorable ground" in MO.  Shaw:
"It's going to be an eventful week.  I wouldn't necessarily look
for a settlement with the league, and there might not even be a
vote.  But that doesn't mean it won't end favorably (for St.
Louis) this week."  Simers notes that the team has informed the
NFL that if the move is rejected, St. Louis may negate the deal.
"Such action would allow the Rams to ask for more than $1 billion
in damages and then open negotiations with other cities, such as
Baltimore" (L.A. TIMES, 4/12).
     NUMBERS GAME:  The Rams offered $25.5M to the league in
March, and now are reportedly offering "more than $37 million"
(L.A. TIMES, 4/12).  In Orange County, Michele Himmelberg reports
the team has offered $40M, but the league wants "substantially
more" (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 4/12).
     OWNERS PREPARE:  The owners' Finance Committee met for
almost six hours last night and may make a recommendation to the
owners this morning (Michele Himmelberg, ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER,
4/12).  Several NFL owners, polled about the move, now approve
"because of the threatened lawsuit."  Simers notes that these
owners "are cautious about the policy they will set in letting
the Rams go," and league approval could be granted "conditional
upon financial terms being settled at a later date" (L.A. TIMES,
4/14).  49ers President Carmen Policy: "It's still too tough to
call" (USA TODAY, 4/12).
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