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Volume 24 No. 132

Leagues Governing Bodies

     MLBPA officials met with about 75 agents yesterday in New
York and according to the union's General Counsel, Gene Orza, the
agents "overwhelmingly supported" the union's decision to
discipline any agents who represent replacement players.  Orza
said union sanctions would be decided on a case-by-case basis by
the union's executive board and could include decertification.
But, Orza added: "No discipline will be necessary, because no
agents are going to represent replacement players."  MLB General
Counsel Chuck O'Connor said the owners believe that the union's
stance is improper and perhaps illegal: "It's a players right to
choose to cross the picket line or not cross the picket line.  We
think decertifying an agent interferes with a player's right to
make a free choice" (Mark Maske, WASHINGTON POST, 1/11).
     RECRUITING CALL:  The Rockies have established a hotline for
recruiting replacements.  Candidates can make their "best sales
pitch to a voicemail system if they call the team's downtown
headquarters" (AP/FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 1/11).  Dodgers GM
Fred Claire and his staff have phoned several agents in an
attempt to identify players who might be willing to cross the
picket line (Bob Nightengale, L.A. TIMES, 1/11).  AAA player
Orlando Palmeiro on being offered a chance to become a
replacement players: "It's like that Indecent Proposal movie"
(Vancouver PROVINCE, 1/11).
     NEWS & NOTES:  American League spokesperson Phyllis Merhige
said AL President Gene Budig will have the authority to decide
whether Cal Ripken Jr.'s consecutive game streak will be halted
if replacements are used (USA TODAY, 1/11). ....The Braves are
considering pushing back their date to renew season tickets from
January 20 to February 3 giving the team time to formulate a
policy in case replacements are used (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION,
1/11)....The Cubs said 88% of season ticket holders have put down
deposits to renew (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 1/11)....All Blue Jays front
office personnel -- from secretaries to CEO Paul Beeston --
accepted across-the-board pay cuts.  The club refused to reveal
the percentage of the cut (TORONTO STAR, 1/11).

     According to a CANADIAN PRESS report, two sources familiar
with the CFL's expansion efforts told CP that the group seeking
to attract an expansion franchise to Birmingham, AL, will
announce today that it will begin play next season.  Birmingham-
based doctor Larry Lemak is the expected front man for the
unnamed Atlanta-based businessman who will own the team.  It
would mark the second time in as many months that the CFL has
expanded into the southern U.S.  Last month, Memphis was awarded
a team for '95.  The Birmingham team will play at Legion Field,
which has a seating capacity of 83,000 (Vancouver PROVINCE,
1/11).  No word on where the Las Vegas Posse will move.  It had
been reported that Birmingham was a strong candidate to lure the
team for the '95 season (see THE DAILY, 1/9).

     Upon direction by the NHL Board of Governors, NHL
Commissioner Gary Bettman presented the NHLPA with a final
proposal to be decided upon today.  According to NHL VP for
Public Relations Arthur Pincus, the season will be canceled if an
agreement is not reached "promptly."  Asked to elaborate, Pincus
said "very soon" (David Shoalts, Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 1/11).
According to the NHLPA, Bettman and NHLPA Exec Dir Bob Goodenow
are expected to meet again this morning (THE DAILY).  Bruins
President & GM Harry Sinden:  "This is the final, final, final,
final, final offer" (BOSTON HERALD, 1/11).  In Toronto, Damien
Cox describes the deal as "Take it or leave it" (TORONTO STAR,
1/11).  One league source, on the free agency age issue:  "[The
owners] want 32 all the way across.  And if the players don't
think the owners will cancel the season over this, they're wrong.
That's been the problem with this situation all along.  All of
the players want to play, but not all of the owners want a
season" (Cynthia Lambert, DETROIT NEWS, 1/11).
     THE OFFER:  A six-year agreement (The owners could initiate
renegotiation after the 1996-97 season, the players a year
later).  Entry draft starting at age 19.   A rookie salary cap of
$850,000 that will increase incrementally   every year of the
deal (The cap scheme does not include    "slotting," or different
levels for different rounds).  The right of teams to "walk away"
from three unfavorable arbitration decisions every two years.
Unrestricted free agency at 32 for first three years of the deal,
and then at 31 in the final three years (TORONTO STAR, 1/11).
     THE OWNERS' POSITION:  Canucks Owner Arthur Griffiths:  "It
is very clear that the authority, ability and intentions of our
league and our leadership are to make a deal on the basis of what
was sent back and if Gary Bettman can do it, he will. If he
can't, we know the consequences" (Elliott Pap, VANCOUVER SUN,
1/11).   One NHL Governor:  "There is no room for bargaining this
time.  That was made clear to Bettman" (Damien Cox, TORONTO STAR,
1/11).  Sinden hopes the union will take the offer:  "But I'm not
Bob Goodenow.  He's full of surprises" (BOSTON GLOBE, 1/11).
While Jets Owner Barry Shenkarow said he can live with the deal,
another Jets exec responded to an opinion the players would
reject it, saying:  "I can only hope" (WINNIPEG SUN, 1/11).
     PROSPECTS OF A DEAL:  Blackhawks Player Rep Jeremy Roenick
said the fact that 10 to 30 players could be affected by each
increased year of free agency makes it a valid point of
contention: "In three years you're influencing 90 to 80 lives,
how much money they can make. ... That's something you have to
think about very seriously" ("Sports Tonight," CNN, 1/10).  Neil
Smith, Rangers G.M. and President:  "I'm optimistic a deal can be
done because we're close enough to the players proposal that
something can be worked in order to get the vote of the
constituency of the players."  Rangers Goalie Mike Richter: "You
think of the repercussions of getting too rigid, and it could be
the loss of the entire year."  ESPN's Al Morganti, asked if he
believes the players will accept the deal:  "I don't know that
they have much choice, it's now in their court the ball's been
hit back to them.  Are they going to push the button on the
season?  I don't think they can, I don't think there's enough
room to maneuver now, to say no to this and blow up the season"
("SportsCenter," ESPN, 1/10).

     Many reports across the U.S. and Canada this morning focus
on the contentious nature of the first conference call among NHL
management that resulted in a 14-12 rejection of a proposal
worked out by NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA Exec Dir
Bob Goodenow.  The N.Y. POST and TORONTO STAR identify the 14
teams as:  Anaheim, Boston, Calgary, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit,
Edmonton, Florida, Hartford, New Jersey, Quebec, Vancouver,
Washington and Winnipeg.  Of those, seven joined the majority in
approving the league's "take it or leave it" offer to the
players:  Anaheim, Calgary, Dallas, Hartford, Vancouver, Quebec
and Florida.
     BETTMAN AND THE OWNERS:  In Toronto, Bob McKenzie writes,
"If ever there were any doubt the hawks rule the NHL roost,
yesterday's unfolding drama erased it" (TORONTO STAR, 1/11).  In
New York, Larry Brooks compares Bettman to Abraham Lincoln
writing that he will have to "rule over a house divided, ruined
by a bloody civil war" (N.Y. POST, 1/11).  One NHL exec:  "The
idiots are running the asylum."  The TORONTO SUN's Scott Morrison
adds that, for a time, Bettman "resembled former president John
Ziegler in not only height but league stature" (TORONTO SUN,
1/11).  According to the SUN's Al Strachan, Capitals Owners Abe
Pollin confronted Bettman in the call, saying:  "Who authorized
you to negotiate after we had made a final offer?"  Writes
Strachan, "These people would rather kill the season than see
reason. ... Bettman, who precipitated this mess, has finally
fought the good fight for the game over the last few days, but it
may be too late" (TORONTO SUN, 1/11).  Pollin: "It's an important
issue, some guys get emotional" (Len Hochberg, WASHINGTON POST,
1/11).  In Toronto, James Christie writes, "The yo-yo dispatching
of Bettman by the owners created an impression that the
commissioner was plagued by a lack of owner confidence -- or
certainly a lack of empowerment" (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 1/11).
In Boston, Stephen Harris writes that the owners' "egos, greed
and stupidity" has pushed the NHL to the "absolute edge of
disaster" (BOSTON HERALD, 1/11).  In Vancouver, Archie McDonald
writes, "The most revealing development in the past few days is
how united the players have remained and how fractured the owners
have become" (VANCOUVER SUN, 1/11).  In Detroit, Vartan Kupelian
writes Bettman's "tenure is on the brink" (DETROIT NEWS, 1/11).
USA TODAY's Tom Weir:  "Hear that hissing sound?  Pssssssssst.
That's the air going out of Gary Bettman's balloon" (USA TODAY,
1/11).  ESPN's Al Morganti: "Gary Bettman has a house divided.
He has a hawkish element, which may be a misnomer, its kind of
the needy and the greedy.   Needy teams from Canada which are not
big market teams, and wealthy teams like Boston and Chicago"
("SportsCenter," ESPN, 1/10).
     STANDING BY THEIR MAN:  In Montreal, Red Fisher reports that
Bettman "was among those who weren't satisfied with the tentative
deal he brought to the governors."  Bettman told them, according
to Fisher:  "This is what the players' association is ready to
accept, but I'm not.  If you want to vote on it, go ahead, but I
wouldn't recommend it" (MONTREAL GAZETTE, 1/11).  Canucks Owner
Arthur Griffiths "all but accused" the NHLPA of planting the
story that Goodenow and Bettman had reached a tentative agreement
and that the owners undermined the deal.  Griffiths:  "There was,
in fact, no consensus and [Bettman] indicated to [the players]
there were issues that would not fly.  Therefore it was not a
proposal he was recommending and it was not a done deal" (Elliott
Pap, Vancouver PROVINCE, 1/11).  Panthers President Bill Torrey:
"It was fair to say today's discussion was heated at times.  But
if anybody thinks there's a division on the board or that we
don't support what Gary is trying to, that is erroneous" (David
Neal, MIAMI HERALD, 1/11).  Whalers Owner Peter Karmanos:  "The
early vote was to test the mood of the ownership, not to end the
season" (Jeff Jacobs, HARTFORD COURANT, 1/11).  Don Cherry, a
oft-foe of Bettman's:  "Everybody's blaming Bettman for
everything ... I think he's saving hockey for the year right now.
If it wasn't for Bettman, I heard last Saturday that the league
would've been cancelled" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 1/10).
     GOODENOW AND THE PLAYERS:  Goodenow faces his own set of
potential problems with his employers.   In Toronto, Gare Joyce
writes that, if a deal is done, the NHLPA "will have to explain
to its members why they can't gain access to the free market ...
why, in a business where the average career lasts but five years,
players have to be long-time fixtures before they're eligible for
arbitration, that is, the independent determination of fair-
market value.  When hockey's brightest lights negotiate their
contracts, they'll look to NHLPA leadership and ask:  'Where did
our leverage go?'" (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 1/11).  In Vancouver,
Tony Gallagher writes, "Somewhere, Alan Eagelson is laughing."
Canucks Player Rep Trevor Linden:  "We're getting raped"
(Vancouver PROVINCE, 1/11).  ESPN's Mike Milbury on Bob Goodenow:
"He's the reason this mess has occurred.  The guy wouldn't come
to the table, he missed meetings, wouldn't return phone calls.  I
put the blame squarely on his shoulders.  He blew it, and he blew
it big time, and the players are suffering, they're getting a
tough deal from the owners.  I think a tax consideration would
have been better off than the deal that they're getting right
now. ... The players union has come out of this bloodied, and I
think his job's on the line" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 1/10).

     SPORTS ILLUSTRATED's "ScoreCard" reports that the
Professional Bowlers Association is having trouble finding
corporate backers for some of its events, and two of its 15
events have yet to be sponsored at all.  Although ABC, who has
aired the tour for 33 years, has renewed its contract with the
PBA, it did so for a fee of $700,000 for 14 events, down from
$3.52M for 24 events in its previous deal.   True Value has
recently ended its 12 year affiliation with the tour, and the
Tournament of Champions, the sport's "crown jewel," has had to
find its third sponsor in as many years.  Although bowling still
"dominates its Saturday time slot," ABC senior VP Dennis Lewin
says that "Ratings aren't a problem.  Revenues are" (SPORTS
ILLUSTRATED, 1/16 issue).

     In Boston, Michael Gee examines the likely NHL rookie salary
cap and its potential effect on other sports leagues.  NHL
Commissioner Gary Bettman's "victory will almost certainly spawn
an antitrust suit with the potential to cost the NHL owners far
more than they'll ever save from any of the concessions they
wring out of the current players.  And such a suit could wreak
havoc" with the NFL and NBA.  Gee notes that the player draft is
the most "obvious example of restraint of trade to be found in
American commerce."  A potential employee cannot freely choose
his employer.  But, the NHL deal would "change the equation.  It
would remove the bribe that is the linchpin of the draft system."
Sooner or later, there will be a rookie -- "the next Gretzky" --
who could challenge the system.  Agent Steve Freyer: "If I were a
top NHL draft choice, I'd certainly be considering the
possibility (of a lawsuit)."  The player that sues could contend
that since he is an amateur, and not a member of the union which
negotiated the agreement, he is yet to surrender any rights.  The
owners will argue that "merely wanting to play NHL hockey makes
you subject to the contract that binds all the league's players."
If the courts find the hockey draft illegal, "the resulting free
market for amateurs will send salaries soaring" (BOSTON HERALD,