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SBD/18/Leagues Governing Bodies
CFL SUSPENDS POSSE FOR SECOND TIME, ENDURES HEAVY CRITICISM
Published April 18, 1995
While there were reports over the weekend that CFL Commissioner Larry Smith was engaged in last-ditch talks to save the Las Vegas Posse, it appears that the league is ready to go ahead with a "dispersal draft" of Posse players today (TORONTO SUN, 4/18). On Friday, the CFL again suspended the franchise after efforts to sell the team to FL-based developer Norton Herrick and move it to Jackson, MS, again fell through. Herrick pulled out after failing to convince local MS politicians to cover his estimated $3M annual loss. Any further talks seemed directed at avoiding legal action. Noting that the Posse is a publicly-owned company, Calgary Stampeders Owner Larry Ryckman said, "By law, it is our responsibility to say we did everything we could to sell the Las Vegas Posse. The league is in a very tenuous situation with this public franchise." One league source described the situation as "the worst mess the CFL has ever gotten itself into. This is a serious problem -- a very serious problem" (Allan Maki, CALGARY HERALD, 4/15). TOUGH TIMES: In Baltimore, Ken Murray writes, "The CFL was left with a huge credibility crisis and a shell of a franchise." In three years of U.S. expansion, the CFL "has made its share of clumsy mistakes." But the "mishandling" of the Posse "could be the low point." Robert Wanzel, a sports management instructor at Ontario's Laurentian Univ.: "If we were bush league before, what are we now?" (Baltimore SUN, 4/18). In Vancouver, Kent Gilchrist writes, "Never before in the league that has been around since 1909 has it been exposed to the ignominy and credibility-sapping of the last month" (Vancouver PROVINCE, 4/18).