SBD/August 3, 2011/Leagues and Governing Bodies

League Notes

In N.Y., Judy Battista cites a source as saying that the NFL "could begin blood testing for human growth hormone as soon as September," which would make it the "first major North American sports league to conduct such testing on its top players with the union's consent." Negotiators are "still determining ways to make the program acceptable to current players." Details still to be worked out include "how many players will be tested for performance-enhancing drugs and how they would be randomly selected when drug testing resumes." There was "no drug testing of any kind conducted during the lockout." Among the things being discussed as part of a new drug testing program is a "novel process that will allow players to appeal the findings of tests to a third party who is mutually agreed upon by the union and the league." It is "also possible that the union could be more involved in administering the drug program" (N.Y. TIMES, 8/3).

FLOOR TO CEILING: In Boston, Fluto Shinzawa noted the NHL has a hard salary cap in place "because 2011-12 is the final year of the collective bargaining agreement." The hard cap "means that all bonuses will be counted toward a team's number." For clubs "approaching the $64.3 million ceiling, it might mean rookies and 35-and-older veterans (the only players eligible for bonuses) might be in question." For teams "aiming at the cap floor, such contracts will be helpful in reaching the $48.3 million mark" (BOSTON GLOBE, 8/1). Meanwhile, in Toronto, Lance Hornby notes the NHL's "second research and development camp" will be held at the MasterCard Centre in Etobicoke, Ontario, Aug. 17-18. The league will experiment with rule changes, including "hybrid icing, shallow nets and gradually reducing overtime manpower from 4-on-4 to 2-on-2." Another rule change "to be evaluated during the camp: referees with head-sets" (TORONTO SUN, 8/3).

TAKE IT OUTSIDE: The PBR's Built Ford Tough Series event last weekend in Thackerville, Okla., was held outdoors, and in Ft. Worth, Brett Hoffman wrote, "An encouraging word to the Professional Bull Riders' leadership: Your rare move to conduct a top-tier tour stop in an outdoor venue last weekend was a big hit. You should look into conducting more outside shows around the country." It "was the first BFTS event held outside since the big tour stopped in Laughlin, Nev.," in '05. PBR CEO Jim Haworth said, "We'd like to figure out how we could do more with them. Maybe a summer series. We're thinking about a few different things and talking to people. I do think there's super opportunities to go outdoors" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 8/2).
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