SBD/Issue 47/Leagues & Governing Bodies

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  • Clause Protects George Mitchell From Potential Lawsuits

    Mitchell Includes Indemnity Clause In
    Deal To Lead Steroid Probe For MLB
    MLB steroid investigator George Mitchell has operated "under an indemnity clause stating that [MLB] would be responsible for legal costs of lawsuits brought in connection with his investigation," according to Michael Schmidt of the N.Y. TIMES. MLB Exec VP/Labor Relations Rob Manfred said the clause is "customary in independent investigations." The terms of the provision were not revealed, but legal experts said that "an indemnity clause would shield Mitchell from lawsuits brought by players who could claim they were unfairly named in his report." Columbia Law School Professor Daniel Richman said, "Mitchell is doing the best he can to protect himself while acting on behalf of a nongovernmental entity in this investigation." John Dowd and former MLB Commissioner Fay Vincent said that Dowd "was not indemnified by baseball" when he led an investigation into former MLBer Pete Rose's alleged gambling in '89.  Dowd said, "I never felt the need for indemnity, because I had confidence in what we are doing." However, Dowd notes Mitchell is "dealing with many more subjects that I did in the Rose case" (N.Y. TIMES, 11/15).

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  • Senior Racing Circuit To Debut With Ten Race Schedule In '08

    Ten races are planned for the inaugural Old School Racing Champions Tour, beginning with a May 18 event at Concord Motorsport Park in North Carolina, according to David Poole of the CHARLOTTE OBSERVER. The circuit will feature, among others, former NASCAR drivers David Pearson, Dick Trickle, Harry Gant, Geoffrey Bodine, Dave Marcis and James Hylton. Each driver will “represent a charity and half of each race’s purse will go to those charities.” Races are scheduled for tracks “three-quarters of a mile or less,” and dates have been booked at Hickory Motor Speedway in North Carolina, South Boston Speedway in Virginia, and Eldora Speedway in Ohio (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 11/15).

    USED CAR LOT: With the NASCAR Sprint Cup series next year exclusively using the Car of Tomorrow, Roush Fenway Racing President Geoff Smith estimated that it will leave “about 600 cars ticketed for extinction.” Smith said that Roush has 100 cars and will "write off about 70 at a loss stretching well into seven figures." Smith: “I call it a [COT] tax. We hope to recover it over a period of time because we should need fewer cars.” Evernham Motorsports Owner Ray Evernham said that he was using the old cars “as driver development tools” in the ARCA Re/Max series. Evernham: “We were getting $30,000-$35,000 for them, and I think you’d be lucky to get $10,000-$15,000 now, there’ll be so many of them." However, Smith “found the ARCA market to be soft because ‘teams have skimpy budgets’" (USA TODAY, 11/15).

    PREMIUM INSURANCE: Several NASCAR drivers said that they pay $150,000-200,000 per year for life insurance, with premiums ranging from $5,000 up to $1M per year. In Miami, Sarah Rothschild notes the higher premiums can buy a driver “as much as $100M in coverage.” Insurance broker John Gorsline, who represents several drivers, said, "Some race car drivers [think] insurance premiums are too high, but how many race car drivers are making less than $300,000 a year? If you look at their income and exposure they're not paying that much" (MIAMI HERALD, 11/15).

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  • Packing A Punch: Former Fighters Unveil MMA Sanctioning Body

    Goldberg Part Of Founding Group
    Behind MMA Sanctioning Body
    A  group of "combat sports veterans" yesterday unveiled the World Alliance of Mixed Martial Arts (WAMMA), the "first self-proclaimed sanctioning body" of MMA, according to Michael McCarthy of USA TODAY. WAMMA President David Szady said that the organization will "seek to rank the best fighters from various leagues and sanction 20-25 world championship fights a year." The founding group behind WAMMA includes ex-UFC fighters Don Frye and Pat Miletich and former pro wrestler Bill Goldberg. Frye said WAMMA "will take the power out of the hands of the promoters. We need some structure. Right now we're looking like the bastard child of the sports industry. This will help legitimize it." However, UFC President Dana White said WAMMA, a for-profit company, "is exactly what this sport doesn't need. They're just another group of guys looking to make some money and get a piece of the pie" (USA TODAY, 11/15).

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  • League Notes

    Belgium and the Netherlands yesterday officially announced their interest in making a combined bid to host the 2018 soccer World Cup (BLOOMBERG NEWS, 11/14).

    NFL: With the NFL yesterday reinstating RB Ricky Williams, who had been suspended since April '06 for violating the league's substance-abuse policy, in S.F., Gwen Knapp writes the tests for marijuana and cocaine are “social pacifiers, nothing more. They don’t clean up the game. They spit-shine its image.” So “why does the NFL poke around an employee’s body fluids for this stuff?” In other matters, Commissioner Roger Goodell “reacts to criminal activity after the police have filed a report. He doesn’t dig up the dirt himself. But for recreational drug use, the league has the equivalent of a blanket search warrant,” which “foolishly, the union signed.” If the NFL “prides itself on curing Williams, or at least not enabling him, it should have a policy on painkiller addictions like the one [Packers QB] Brett Favre revealed in 1996” (S.F. CHRONICLE, 11/15).

    NHL: SI.com’s Michael Farber noted last Monday NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman visited the NHLPA offices in Toronto at the invitation of new NHLPA Exec Dir Paul Kelly. Bettman said that it was the “first time he’s been to the offices.” Bettman: “I’d never been invited before” (SI.com, 11/14).

    GOLF: A source said that the LPGA Tour is close to "finalizing a deal" that will create a celebrity pro-am event at the Fairmont Turnberry Isle Resort & Club in Aventura, Florida in '08. The tournament will be played April 24-27 and will feature a $2M purse. A title sponsor is expected to be announced at the end of this month (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 11/15)....The '08 Nationwide Tour Championship will offer the first $1M prize in Tour history, and a record first place prize of $180,000. The '08 event will move to TPC Craig Ranch in Dallas. Last year's total purse for the event was $775,000 (THE DAILY).

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