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Volume 24 No. 117

Leagues Governing Bodies

     The Clinton Administration named former Labor Secretary
William Usery as a special mediator in "an attempt to craft a
settlement in the two-month-old baseball strike."  Usery, 70, who
served under Gerald Ford and was director of the Federal
Mediation and Conciliation Service, will be introduced this
afternoon at a White House news conference.  (Maske & Swoboda,
WASHINGTON POST, 10/14).  Labor Secretary Robert Reich asked the
players and owners to agree to "return to the bargaining table
next week" with Usery acting as a special mediator.  The two
sides have not met since September 9.  Gene Orza, MLBPA's
associate general counsel: "It has been clear for a while that
the Administration, as well as it should, has a keen and ongoing
interest in seeing that this disagreement is resolved" (Ross
Newhan, L.A. TIMES, 10/14).  One administration source said they
have "been working behind the scenes on this for quite some time"
(Claire Smith, N.Y. TIMES, 10/14).
     NO COMMENTS FROM THE TOP:  Acting MLB Commissioner Bud Selig
and MLBPA Exec Dir Don Fehr refused comment on the appointment,
but Orioles Owner Peter Angelos called it "a constructive and
positive step."  Angelos:  "In labor matters, (Usery) has few
peers" (Peter Schmuck, Baltimore SUN, 10/14).  Another owner
called it a "significant step in the right direction" (WASHINGTON
POST, 10/14).
     MORE LAYOFFS:  Central Baseball -- the Commissioner's
office, the American and National Leagues, MLB Properties, the
Baseball Network and MLB International -- reduced its work force
by 27 employees due to revenue losses from the work stoppage
(MLB).

     "European clubs won't be allowed to sign locked out NHL
players and ignite a potential legal battle," according to Rene
Fasel, president of the Int'l Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF).
Fasel:  "We will not let them play.  We have a contract with the
NHL (governing player transfers) and will abide by that
contract."  NHLPA spokesperson Steve McAllister said the union
has not yet explored the legal hurdles on playing in Europe or
the minors.  McAllister said the NHLPA "will make its position
clear next week" (Helene Elliott, L.A. TIMES, 10/14).  Fasel's
statement "came as a surprise" to several agents.  Ron Salcer,
who represents Pavel Bure among others:  "This would be very
disturbing" (Joe Lapointe, N.Y. TIMES, 10/14).  On advice from
its lawyers, the NHL decided "not to prevent players from playing
in the IHL or Europe during the work stoppage" (Dave Fuller,
TORONTO SUN, 10/14).  For one, the Canucks won't stand in Bure's
way if he wants to play in Europe.  Canucks VP George McPhee:
"Legally, he can do it" (Iain MacIntyre, VANCOUVER SUN, 10/14).
And after meeting with Doug Gilmour, who is seeking a place to
play, Maple Leaf President Cliff Fletcher would only say:  "He
wants to play to keep in as much shape as possible, but it's not
a risk-free thing" (Damien Cox, TORONTO STAR, 10/14).  The IIHF's
decision "is surely to result in a windfall for lawyers, as clubs
and the players involved are expected to challenge the ruling in
court" (David Shoalts, Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 10/14).
     THE IHL:  The N.Y. TIMES reports that Marty McSorley, a
member of the NHLPA's negotiating team, is seeking to play with
the IHL's Las Vegas Thunder (Joe LaPointe, N.Y. TIMES, 10/14).
But agent Rick Dudley is doubtful that IHL teams "will open up
their rosters."  Dudley:  "I don't think the Detroit Vipers --
who are basically sold out, anyway -- are going to bring in five
NHL players.  The economics would discourage them" (Damien Cox,
TORONTO STAR, 10/14).
     P.R. EFFORTS:  St. Louis was the first stop for NHL VP of
Hockey Operations Brian Burke in a seven-city tour that will take
him to Winnipeg, Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver, San Jose and
Dallas.  Burke:  "It drives me nuts to read quotes where a player
says this'll drive salaries down, it'll be tax avoidance, teams
will trade players to get down to the cap.  We've guaranteed that
their share will not be diminished."  Burke also called the
union's slow pace during negotiations "intolerable and
inexcusable" (Dave Luecking, ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 10/14).
Execs from all NHL clubs met with media to go over facts and
figures.  Lightning Governor David LeFevre:  "These figures are
real.  There are teams losing money, and we are one of them" (Roy
Cummings, TAMPA TRIBUNE, 10/14).  But in Vancouver, Tony
Gallagher calls the NHL's claim that players get 62% of gross
revenue a "monstrous distortion" (Vancouver PROVINCE, 10/14).
     BACK TO THE TABLE?  CNN's Nick Charles: "The key to the NHL
labor news today can be summed up in a single work:  Nothing"
("Sports Tonight," CNN, 10/13).  Burke said the league will
attempt to restart talks next week (Mult.)  NHL VP Communications
Arthur Pincus said the league will have an announcement "later
this week" on the schedule and possible cancellations (Len
Hochberg, WASHINGTON POST, 10/14).
     CRACK-IN-THE-FACADE WATCH:  In Toronto, Dave Fuller writes
the owners "appear to be playing a game of divide-and-conquer"
with the players.  But, "as antsy as the players are to get back
to work, there are no signs yet of a rift developing inside the
union" (TORONTO SUN, 10/14).  In Boston, Kevin Paul Dupont asks,
"How long can the rank and file go without checks? ... Probably
50-60 percent of the NHLPA membership will begin to feel the
crunch in a matter of 3-5 paychecks (mid-November to mid-
December).  The owners are banking on it, literally" (BOSTON
GLOBE, 10/13).
     NO BIG LOSS:  Salomon Brothers' Jay Cohen on the impact on
ITT's recent acquisition of Madison Square Garden, the Rangers,
Knicks and MSG Network: "Even if the season is lost, affect on
earnings may be a nickel a share in '95.  And I expect the
company earns about $8.80 a share, so it's a relatively minor
impact" ("Market Wrap," CNBC, 10/13).

     Panthers Owner Jerry Richardson "is aggressively lobbying
the NFL to assign" his team to the NFC West.  Richardson said
yesterday that he recently wrote NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue
"stressing the Panthers' preference for being placed" in the NFC
instead of the AFC.  His argument is that with the proximity of
the Falcons and Redskins, Carolina fans are more accustomed to
seeing the NFC.  Richardson also said the affiliation with the
"popular" NFC could help the team "offset anticipated losing
records in the Panthers' first several seasons."  Assuming there
is no realignment, the Panthers will be in the NFC because the
overlap between the Jaguars' and Buccaneers' TV markets would
prevent those two from being in the same conference.  Withouth
realignment, the Jaguars would join the AFC Central.  However, a
swap of the Colts (AFC East) and Bucs (NFC Central) would reverse
the assignment of the two expansion teams.  Jaguars owner Wayne
Weaver, who also wants to be in the NFC, favors the Bucs-Colts
swap.  NFL owners meet in Chicago November 1-2 for final
discussions on realignment (Charles Chandler, KNIGHT-
RIDDER/ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 10/14).