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Volume 24 No. 112

Leagues Governing Bodies

     Longtime agent Dick Moss will announce formation of his new
United League at a news conference in New York on Tuesday.  Moss:
"A lot of people are involved.  And, of course, they have a lot
of money.  We need money.  And players and stadiums and clout --
that's the American way."  The CHICAGO TRIBUNE gives details of a
40-page prospectus sent to potential investors which states "the
league will open with 10-12 teams and include clubs in the US,
Canada, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Venezuela, Japan, Taiwan, and South
Korea," and also expand to 16 teams in three years. It projects
team payrolls of $13M in the first season, increasing to $20M in
the 5th or 6th.  But MLB owners do not view the new league as a
threat.  One AL "mogul":  "Moss has as much chance of putting
that across as I have going to the moon in nine minutes" (Jerome
Holtzman, CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 10/30).  Moss hinted the league, which
could start as early as spring '95, "may include a franchise in
DC."  Former U.S. Rep. Bob Mrazek (D-NY) and economist/author
Andrew Zimbalist are reportedly involved in the organization of
the league (Mark Maske, WASHINGTON POST, 10/29).
     MLB NEWS & NOTES:  Will McDonough writes the Red Sox "are
looking at the possibility of playing a weekend series in
Ireland, most likely against the Mets in 1996."  The Sox are
hoping to play the Mets on the 10th anniversary of their '86
World Series on St. Patrick's weekend in Dublin's Croake Park
(BOSTON GLOBE, 10/30)....BUSINESS WEEK profiles mediator William
Usery.  "His method: wear down both sides with talk" (Aaron
Bernstein, BUSINESS WEEK, 11/7 issue).

     NHL Senior VP & General Counsel Jeffrey Pash said that the
league's "revised accounting practices" should satisfy the
union's concerns that the owners will hide revenues in any
financial reports the NHL provides (CANADIAN PRESS/ VANCOUVER
SUN, 10/31).  Last week, the league and union traded faxes on a
proposal to begin play under the owners' system while the union
audits the league's finances.  NHLPA Exec Dir Bob Goodenow's
response:  "To be candid, we are skeptical of the quality of
information you might provide" (Len Hochberg, WASHINGTON POST,
10/29).  "The catch, as far as the union was concerned, was that,
if the audit supported the NHL's claim that it lost $32 million
in 1992-93 and that 13 teams were operating in the red, the
players would have to abide by the terms of that last proposal.
That would be admitting that the league was right all along"
(Gary Miles, PHILA. INQUIRER, 10/30).  The NHL proposed if the
audit did not support their claim of growing losses, their
taxation plan would be removed (Larry Brooks, N.Y. POST, 10/29).
     THE EVER-SHORTENING SCHEDULE:  The league is set to pare its
schedule again today, and NHL Dir of Hockey Ops Brian Burke said,
"If it is up to me, the number will be in double digits"
(CANADIAN PRESS/Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 10/29).
     IS A ROOKIE CAP THE KEY?  "There is growing support for the
theory that by giving in on the rookie salary cap issue, the
NHLPA could bring a quick end to the work stoppage," writes Roy
Cummings in the TAMPA TRIBUNE.  One league source said the NHL
was prepared to resume play if the union accepted its proposal
for a rookie cap.  But, when presented with the idea, Goodenow
reportedly responded, "If that's what you came to talk about then
we're wasting our time here."  One NHL player:  "I'd say 90
percent of the players would agree to it" (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 10/30).
In Boston, Kevin Paul Dupont sees "indications" both sides "might
be able to come to terms" on a rookie cap/floor (BOSTON GLOBE,
10/30).   ALMOST A HEALTH CARE CRISIS:  "The NHL has decided to
stop paying health insurance costs for locked-out players and
their families, saying it is following U.S. federal law by giving
players 60-day notice that they can keep their coverage only if
they pay the entire cost themselves."  The union charges the
league with "slow notification" claiming it found out only after
Anaheim's Tom Kurvers and his 7 1/2-month pregnant wife were
involved in an auto accident.  Kurvers:  "I found out at the
hospital. ... I was a little bit surprised."  But NHL VP of
Public Relations Arthur Pincus said "no player has been left
without coverage."  Goodenow:  "They sent notices by regular mail
and they didn't call us" (Norwood & Dillman, L.A. TIMES, 10/29).
The union started picking up insurance costs as soon as it found
out about the lapse (Dave Fay, WASHINGTON TIMES, 10/31).
     PLAYERS' LEAGUES:  In New York, Mark Everson sees the
union's ability to stage exhibition games as a positive sign for
a players' league:  "The owners may have started the sequence
that puts themselves out of business" (N.Y. POST, 10/31).  "The
bet is" that IMG will sponsor Wayne Gretzky's tour of Europe
(Kevin Paul Dupont, BOSTON GLOBE, 10/30).
     SOLIDARITY WATCH:  In St. Louis, Dave Luecking reports that
Blues President Jack Quinn met with some of the Blues' stars and
other team officials met with some of their players to "work on
them."  But, "the owners' effort has had no impact" (ST. LOUIS
POST-DISPATCH, 10/29).  ESPN's Linda Cohn: "On the subject of
possible cracks in the union, Wayne Gretzky said he can guarantee
25 of the top guys would not cross and would stay unified"
("SportsCenter," 10/28).
     SEEING STARS:  The Stars fired 13 of their 55 full-time
employees yesterday, mostly from the sales and community
relations departments.  Stars President Jim Lites said some might
be rehired, but they would be evaluated on a "case-by-case
basis."  Stars VP of Advertising & Promotions Jeff Cogen:  "I can
tell you this, there are very quality people out there in the
marketplace looking for jobs today" (Mike Heika, FORT WORTH STAR-
TELEGRAM, 10/29).

     "The talk of NBA expansion to Tampa has quieted down, even
by those pursuing the matter, and for good reason.  The NBA
brought exhibition basketball to Mexico City Friday and Saturday
night and did huge business."  In Tampa, Bill Fay notes NBA
Commissioner David Stern "has said several times he thinks the
domestic market is saturated, but likes the potential in Canada
and south of the border."  NBA Expansion Committee Chair/Suns
owner Jerry Colangelo: "Mexico City makes sense for a lot of
reasons, but mainly because it's an untapped market in one of the
world's largest cities.  It's not a done deal, but we are down
here exploring, and the response to our game has been phenomenal"
(TAMPA TRIBUNE, 10/30).  In Houston, Fran Blinebury previewing
the Mexico City exhibitions: "So the world becomes smaller and
the NBA continues to make inroads in every corner that has the
inclination to hang up rims and begin selling sneakers and
replica jerseys" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 10/28).

     Several NBA columnists commented over the weekend on the
NBA-NBPA no-strike/no-lockout agreement for '94-95.
     YEA: In New York, Harvey Araton: "The union knew that too
many of its young, immature millionaires couldn't deal with a
lockout.  They need time to grow up, to understand what they're
selling and to whom" (N.Y. TIMES, 10/30).  In Washington,
Johnette Howard:  "The NBA, more than any other league,
recognizes that its players are its product and that you do your
league no good by running down your players as greedy or selfish
or money hungry -- even on those occasions when it is true"
(WASHINGTON POST, 10/30).  In Boston, Will McDonough feels NBA
players "caved in because they saw their peers in baseball and
hockey lose big money and didn't want to go down the same road"
(BOSTON GLOBE, 10/29).
     BOO:  NBPA Exec VP/Knicks forward Charles Smith: "I feel
good about it from the standpoint that we, as players, felt we
didn't want to get into the same mayhem as hockey and baseball.
The downside is that we're back to square one at the end of the
season" (N.Y. TIMES, 10/29).  Marc Fleisher, the son of former
NBPA Exec Dir Larry Fleisher, on current NBPA Exec Dir Charlie
Grantham: "Charlie could have gotten this a month from now.  I'd
have called the bluff and put David in a p.r. nightmare of
locking out the players.  You can't run scared from a lockout
even if you're not sure you can call a strike" (N.Y. TIMES,
10/29).  Mike Lupica: "It's worth pointing out, though, that the
NBA is where the NHL was one year ago.  I'm not sure the NBA
isn't headed for the same kind of trouble, even though Stern is
portrayed as being smarter than a MENSA meeting. ...  All David
Stern bought the other day, with ample help from Grantham, is
time" ("SportsReporters," ESPN, 10/30).
     ROOKIE CAP TALK:  Dave D'Alessandro proposes some form of a
rookie cap coupled with a 2-year opt-out clause.  "If there is no
cap, make it fair to the owners by basing these free-agent
salaries on merit" (Bergen RECORD, 10/30).  76ers coach John
Lucas on escalating rookie salaries:  "We're going to have to
reach a happy median where everybody is in a win-win situation.
Or else we'll see the league drop in attendance because people
aren't going to care anymore" (Baltimore SUN, 10/31).

     Unless NFL owners "are struck by inspiration" Tuesday, theirfinal realignment proposal "appears doomed to the pile of ideastoo good to come true."  Steelers Owner Dan Rooney is theprincipal supporter of the final realignment plan before theowners this week (Don Pierson, CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 10/30).  ESPN'sChris Mortensen: "Since it makes sense, it probably won't happen"("GameDay," ESPN, 10/30).  The following is reportedly Rooney'salignment plan.  Teams that would join new divisions are in CAPS:
AFC EAST
AFC CENT
AFC WEST NFC EAST NFC CENT NFC WEST
BUCS PANTHERS OILERS FALCONS JAGUARS CARDINALS
Dolphins COLTS Broncos Cowboys Packers SEAHAWKS
Bills Steelers Raiders Redskins Vikings 49ers
Jets Browns Chargers Giants Lions Rams
Patriots Bengals Chiefs Eagles Bears Saints
STUMBLING BLOCK: Cardinals owner Bill Bidwell is "adamantlyopposed to separating from Dallas and thinks the plan is dead.... If anyone should be in favor of new rivalries, it's Bidwell.And just think if the Los Angeles Rams move to St. Louis.Wouldn't a Cards-Rams NFC West matchup sell?" (Don Pierson,CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 10/30). Rooney claims he knows of only fouropponents to his plan, "but a quick nose-count" by the ATLANTACONSTITUTION shows "wholesale objections in the NFC East, NFCWest and AFC West." Falcons owner Rankin Smith "has said if theteam can't be in a so-called Southeast Division, he would stay inthe West" (Len Pasquarelli, ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 10/30).YES VOTES: Broncos owner Pat Bowlen said he will vote for theplan: "I have no problems with it. ... We are relativelyunaffected by the plans" (ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, 10/28). PackersPresident Bob Harlan: "We'd vote for this in a minute" (CHICAGOTRIBUNE, 10/30). Assuming the Rooney plan is voted down, theJaguars will be placed in the AFC Central and the Panthers in theNFC West (Will McDonough, BOSTON GLOBE, 10/30). Dave Anderson:"Just hope that kids don't follow the NFL to learn geography"(N.Y. TIMES, 10/30). Adding an expansion team to the NFC Central"would mean more lucrative paydays for visiting teams, so teamsthat don't necessarily draw well on the road, such as the Packersand Lions, would appreciate adding one of the expansion teams"(CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 10/31). OTHER NEWS: The Patriots have asked the NFL to plan anAmerican Bowl in Israel in the near future. Patriots owner BobKraft: "I've talked with Dan Rooney about it. I told him wecould go one year to Israel and the next to Ireland. I'm veryinterested in Israel and he has strong ties to Ireland" (WillMcDonough, BOSTON GLOBE, 10/29).