SBD/5/Leagues Governing Bodies

IT'S BACK TO "WHISTLE WHILE YOU WORK" FOR NBA REFS

     By a vote of 27-26, NBA refs agreed to accept the league's
final contract offer and ended the lockout the league had imposed
on October 1.  ESPN charted the salary progress under the new
contract:
                    NO EXPERIENCE   20 YEARS+
          1995-96      $75,000      $211,000
          2000-01       99,000       278,000
     In addition, ESPN's Linda Cohn noted pension payments will
now be $2,700 for every year worked, rising to $3,300 by the end
of the deal ("SportsCenter," 12/4).  According to NBA Senior
VP/Legal & Business Affairs Jeffrey Mishkin, the refs are
expected to be back working "within a week."  Mishkin said their
raise is a cumulative 60% over the term of the five-year deal,
with an 18.6% increase this year followed by annual raises of 6%,
6%, 14 1/2% and 5% in the remaining years.  Increases in pension
and severance payments were 10% (Mark Asher, WASHINGTON POST,
12/5).
     GOOD NEWS, BAD NEWS:  ESPN's Keith Olbermann:  "They're
back, but they're clearly not happy about it" ("SportsCenter,"
12/4).  CNN's Paul Crane:  "The refs don't get all the money they
wanted, but do get more than they had" ("Sports Tonight," 12/4).
NBRA General Counsel Fred Slaughter:  "The rank and file have
spoken.  My guys are ready to go" (Shaun Powell, NEWSDAY, 12/5).
Refs negotiator Mike Mathis:  "You could say it was a good-news,
bad-news situation if you want to.  We're all happy to be going
back to work, but there are some veteran officials who feel this
deal wasn't very good for them" (WASHINGTON POST, 12/5).
     HOW CLOSE WAS IT?  Several reports note two veteran refs,
Jake O'Donnell and Jack Madden, were absent from the Chicago
meeting because of illness.  In L.A., Mark Heisler calls veteran
refs the union's "hard-liners," and 26-year vet Paul Mihalik
believes the absences "could have swung the outcome" (L.A. TIMES,
12/5).  Slaughter:  "If those two members had come, it's no
telling what the outcome would have been" (Roscoe Nance, USA
TODAY, 12/5).  Mihalik:  "As far as being satisfied with what we
got?  No.  We actually came to a point where we stopped comparing
ourselves to people in the other sports because it wasn't a good
comparison at times in certain areas.  We tried to come up with
what was fair and equitable, and evidently the majority felt we
had reached that point and we had received what we were going to
receive" (ESPN, 12/4).  The pension plan is still "at issue"
(Melissa Isaacson, CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 12/5).
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