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The Association of Volleyball Professionals Board of Directors is still searching for a new Executive Director after Jeffrey Dankworth's resignation to head a new software company in Reno, NV. AVP President Jon Stevenson has assumed the responsibilities of Executive Director on an interim basis, while the Board continues their search. Under Dankworth and Stevenson's reign, the AVP increased its prize money from $1.8M to more than $4M and has signed major agreements with Miller Brewing, Coca-Cola, and NBC Sports. AVP also signed an agreement with USA Volleyball, which will ensure accommodation of AVP players in the selection process for athletes to represent the U.S. in beach volleyball at the '96 Summer Games (AVP). Stevenson told THE SPORTS BUSINESS DAILY yesterday that the Board has taken "a very active, very responsible role" during the transition period, and that the search for a new Executive Director "coincides with a very critical time for" the sport. Stevenson said that since the sport is growing so fast, the league has to "keep growing" to avoid stagnation. Stevenson wasn't sure when the Board will make a decision on the position. Stevenson: "The Board has taken swift action, but what decision they make in the next 30, 60, or 90 days is unclear at this time." Stevenson said the search is an "exhaustive process" that has required working with AVP's business partners, such as Miller-Lite and NBC, to "come up with a composite" of the candidate they are seeking (THE DAILY).
The MLBUA "will petition the Ontario Labor Board to prevent the use of replacement umpires," according to this morning's TORONTO SUN. While MLBUA General Counsel Richie Phillips said they were "assured," based on a conversation with the Ontario Labor Board, that MLB could not employ replacement umps in Toronto, Ontario Labor Minister Shirley Coppen said there is still "some question" on whether the umps are protected since "neither the umpires, their union or the employer is located in Ontario." Phillips' response: "The league is not a separate entity. The Jays are a constituent part of the league and the umpires are employed by all the clubs, including the Blue Jays. [Jays President] Paul Beeston has input into what the umpires are paid and he's part of any labor agreement or negotiations" (Bill Lankhof, TORONTO SUN, 4/6). Prior to seeking a ruling from the OLRB, the parties must go through a "formal consiliation process" (James Christie, Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 4/6). The umpires have been locked out since January 1. FACT-CHECKING: Management attorney Robert Kheel claims the umpires are seeking a 53% wage increase at the start of a new four-year contract. Phillips responds: "Our position was being portrayed inaccurately. The actual increase the umpires are asking for is a 53% increase over four years. It's not like 53% a year for four years" (Mike Bass, SCRIPPS HOWARD/CINCINNATI POST, 4/6). "Contractually, the umpires may not stage sympathy strikes for the players, and vice versa" (Michael Bamberger, PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 4/6).
The Senate Judiciary Committee's subcommittee on antitrust, business rights and competition approved a bill that would partially repeal baseball's antitrust exemption on a 4-0 voice vote. Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Orrin Hatch: "This is an aberration that government has created, and it is an aberration that government should fix." Sen. Alan Simpson, who arrived after the vote, said he would introduce an amendment at the committee level to require owners to allow players to approve future commissioners, and to force the owners to remove restrictions placed on the commissioner after Fay Vincent's removal. The amendment would also offer the owners the chance to ask the president to appoint the commissioner (AP/ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 4/6). MANAGEMENT SHAKE-UP: The WASHINGTON POST reports that owners have decided to dismiss Chuck O'Connor as their lead labor attorney. "It's not immediately clear who, if anyone, would replace O'Connor. Several management people speculated today that the owners may even consider appointing a commissioner within the next few months." Former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell and former Democratic National Committee Chair Paul Kirk were listed as possible candidates (Mark Maske, WASHINGTON POST, 4/6). NO PLAN, NO GAIN: Former Commissioner Vincent writes in an op-ed, "Lack of planning is endemic to baseball. In 1990, the owners' labor lawyer told me that any fallback positions would be leaked by owners, so none could be discussed. As a result, during the heat of negotiation, the owners are constantly dealing with problems on the run. There is no careful war-gaming to develop countermoves in anticipation of obvious union thrusts. Meanwhile, the union plays for time, confident that eventually a legal mistake will give it the dispositive edge" (MIAMI HERALD, 4/6).
The Senior PGA Tour Sponsors Association and the PGA Tour announced a charitable donation of almost $6M from the '94 season. The contribution, the second highest ever for the Senior Tour, raises charitable donations from Senior PGA Tour events to over $30M for the past six years. The $5.9M raised by the Senior Tour lifted the PGA Tour's overall contribution to charity to $31.7M for 1994. (PGA Tour).