SBD/7/Leagues Governing Bodies

WOMEN'S HOOPS: ACKERMAN TAKES OVER WNBA; BATTLE FOR STARS?

     Val Ackerman, currently NBA VP of Business Affairs, has been
named President of the new Women's NBA, which holds its inaugural
season in '97, effective October 1.  Ackerman will report to NBA
Deputy Commissioner and COO Russ Granik (NBA).    JUMP BALL:  The
new American Basketball League is scheduled to begin play on
October 18, and ABL Co-Founder Gary Cavalli said that nine
members of the U.S. Women's Olympic team -- all except Sheryl
Swoopes, Rebecca Lobo and Venus Lacey -- have agreed to play.
Seven of those nine have signed contracts, according to Cavalli,
with "strong verbal commitments" from Lisa Leslie and Ruthie
Bolton.  The WNBA is seen by ABL backers as a "carpetbagger" and
any hopes for a merger "seem unlikely" (Ann Killion, SAN JOSE
MERCURY NEWS, 8/4).  USA TODAY notes "speculation" on how firm
the ABL contracts and commitments are.  Ackerman:  "We don't see
it as a competitive situation."  WNBA cities will be chosen in
the next few months and "player procurement" should begin in
September.  Ackerman:  "Our hope is that we end up with some of
the Olympic players.  How many, I just don't know" (Steve
Wieberg, USA TODAY, 8/6).
     LOST TO THE RUNWAY?  Lisa Leslie, described as the U.S.
team's "most effervescent personality," told the L.A. TIMES she
plans to model first before signing with any pro league.  Leslie,
who has signed with the Wilhelmina agency:  "I will play the game
again.  I'm not sure about when and where."  The L.A. TIMES'
Robyn Norwood notes, "It isn't particularly fair, but the future
of women's basketball in this country might depend on the
decisions made by Leslie and the rest of the Olympic team" (L.A.
TIMES, 8/5).
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