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SELIG CLOSE TO PINNACLE? USA TODAY's Hal Bodley reports that a "move to draft Bud Selig as permanent commissioner is gaining so much momentum among baseball's owners that the word interim could be removed from his title as early" as the March quarterly meetings in FL. Bodley reports that the votes for the necessary three-quarters support in the NL "are there now." Bodley adds that the Yankees and adidas "are attempting to settle their suit" against MLB. One possible settlement is to have adidas outfit "at least" six teams as an official MLB sponsor (USA TODAY, 1/9). NHLPA: In Toronto, David Shoalts examines the NHLPA after the plea bargain of NHLPA Founder Alan Eagleson to charges of fraud and theft. Taking over for Eagleson in '91, NHLPA Exec Dir Bob Goodenow put in place "an accounting system to ensure that the union never again fell victim to a leader who had free reign to loot its treasury." NHLPA President Mike Gartner: "Literally every dollar in and out of the association is accounted for" (GLOBE & MAIL, 1/9).
NBA fans "will not be able to purchase a ticket for either" the NBA All-Star Game or All-Star Saturday at MSG this February, according to Bob Raissman of the N.Y. DAILY NEWS, who examines the "lack of ticket availability" around the event. NBA VP/Communications Brian McIntyre: "Would we like to open it up to everybody? Yeah. But there isn't a building in the world that can accommodate the (ticket) requests we have. The demand for tickets this year is outrageous." Raissman reports that "roughly" 5,500 to 6,000 of the 19,763 seats available at MSG were part of a lottery for Knicks season-ticket holders (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 1/9). MISSING OUT ON THE FUN: In SI, Jackie MacMullan reports that the league's move to replace the Slam Dunk competition with the 2ball shooting contest during the All-Star Weekend was "made without checking with" the NBPA. The move to 2ball, which includes an NBA and WNBA player from the same city, "didn't sit well with some of the players who do not have WNBA franchises in their cities and were therefore automatically disqualified from participating" (SI, 1/12). IT'S SOUTH PARK: ESPN's "SportsCenter" listed attendance at four Wednesday night NBA games. In L.A., the Clippers game drew 4,107 (at 26% cap.); in Oakland, the Warriors drew 11,023 (57% cap.); in Toronto, the Raptors drew 15,168 (75% cap); and in San Antonio, the Spurs drew 15,200 (74% cap.). ESPN's Gary Miller: "For the sixth time in 16 home dates, the [Clippers] crowd was less than 6,000 ... They are drawing extremely poorly" (ESPN, 1/8). ELIGIBILITY CHALLENGE? In N.Y., Garcia & Ackert report that the family of Riverdale High School women's basketball star Niesha Butler, 17, "is seriously considering challenging the criteria for eligibility" to the WNBA. WNBA rules state a player must be at least 22-years-old; or have completed college eligibility; or graduated from a four-year college; or played two seasons in another league. Butler's mother, Alice Johnson: "We are not trying to upset the WNBA. But, if it were to be challenged it would be a good case, because of the double standard between males and females. It warrants looking at." The WNBA had no comment. Butler is reportedly "less interested" in the ABL (DAILY NEWS, 1/9).
The Corel WTA Tour is "expected to introduce" Bart McGuire, an OR-based attorney who has been the "tour's business and legal adviser for the past decade," as its new CEO on Monday, according to Robin Finn of the N.Y. TIMES. McGuire, a graduate from Princeton and Columbia Law School, is a legal professor at Northwestern Law School in Portland. Finn reports that the 54-year-old "had not been an active candidate during the WTA Tour's yearlong search to replace Anne Person Worcester" (Robin Finn, N.Y. TIMES, 1/9).
Giants GM George Young was named the NFL's Senior VP/Football Operations. Young, who will report directly to Commissioner Paul Tagliabue, will handle the NFL's relations with college football, the World League in Europe and youth football. He will also serve as league office liaison with the NFL Competition Committee and be responsible for proposing an annual agenda of priorities for the committee. Young will also oversee the league's officiating process. He begins working at the NFL offices on February 2 (NFL). SAYS IT STRAIGHT: Young, after 19 seasons as the Giants GM, will be succeeded by Assistant GM Ernie Accorsi. Young: "I have things that concern me about the game in the area of sportsmanship and taunting" (N.Y. TIMES, 1/9).