SBD/30/Leagues Governing Bodies

WNBA CASHES IN ON RECRUITMENT; ABL BACK TO DRAWING BOARD?

          One year ago, the ABL "cleaned up in signing the top
     college seniors.  This time, the mop was in the hands of the
     rival WNBA," according to Mel Greenberg of the PHILADELPHIA
     INQUIRER.  The WNBA got commitments from 44 of this year's
     "roughly" 60 top seniors, and "the ABL only a handful." 
     Woolf Associates VP Andrew Brandt, at yesterday's WNBA
     Draft: "A lot of players turned down significantly better
     financial offers by the ABL after seeing the WNBA on TV last
     summer."  The WNBA held its Draft yesterday, one day after
     announcing the signings of All-American's Nykesha Sales from
     UConn, Kristin Folkl of Stanford and Ticha Penicheiro of ODU
     (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 4/30).  Yesterday's top three picks
     of the WNBA's first round will earn a base salary of
     $50,000, picks 4-7 earn $44,000, picks 8-10 earn $37,500. 
     Second-round picks earn $25,000, third round, $22,000 and
     fourth round earn $19,000 (Valerie Lister, USA TODAY, 4/30).
          CAN THE ABL BOUNCE BACK? ABL CEO Gary Cavalli said he
     offered Sales, Folkl and Penicheiro between $150,000 and
     $175,000, and added that the WNBA might have outbid the ABL:
     "I think they came up from last year.  They sweetened their
     deals."  The WNBA did not reveal contract terms (Portland
     OREGONIAN, 4/29).  In Hartford, COURANT Associate Editor
     Jeff Rivers, under the header, "Sales' WNBA Choice Is Right
     One For Her," writes that the "seemingly inevitable march of
     the WNBA to the forefront of women's professional basketball
     is yet another sad example of a people trained to gorge on
     the sizzle rather than savor the steak in our society."  But
     Rivers doesn't "blame" her for her decision (HARTFORD
     COURANT, 4/30).  Also in Hartford, Riley & Berlet write that
     the ABL "couldn't deny that losing most" of the college
     seniors to the WNBA "looks bad."  Riley & Berlet: "And while
     perceptions may be worse than reality, at least one ABL
     executive would like to see the process for recruiting top
     players improved."   Quest GM/Coach Brian Agler said that
     coaches "need to be more involved" in the recruiting season
     (HARTFORD COURANT, 4/30).  In L.A., Earl Gustkey writes that
     "the war in women's hoops has turned and the ABL's future is
     clouded.  If this trend continues, the players the ABL now
     has will keep it a strong league through, perhaps, 2000. 
     Then the slide will begin" (L.A. TIMES, 4/29).  

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