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Volume 24 No. 115

Leagues Governing Bodies

     As part of an examination of the labor situations in the
major sports leagues, the CHICAGO SUN-TIMES' Brian Hanley offers
an update on the ongoing meetings between representatives of the
NHL and NHLPA regarding the final details on the new collective
bargaining agreement.  Lawyers from both sides have been meeting
on an average of three times a week for the past three weeks with
the hope, according to NHL VP of Public Relations Arthur Pincus,
that the work will be done by the end of April.  Pincus:  "There
are a lot of issues that each side has a position on, and they're
in the process of checking things off, and it is a pretty
substantial checklist.  Such things as discipline policy, drug
and alcohol policy. ... We might not have a signed document by
the end of the month, but we hope to have all issues agreed upon
and have letters of agreement by then."  Both Pincus and NHLPA
spokesperson Steve McAllister denied rumors that the tentative
agreement, signed on January 13, was in danger.  Of the issues,
the "most contentious" are those concerning the marketing and TV
money expected from NHL participation in the '98 Olympics as well
as scheduling for the Games (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 4/20).
     BETTMAN PROFILE:  NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman is the
subject of a WASHINGTON POST profile.  Bettman, on charges he
doesn't understand the game:  "I go to tons of games and I watch
tons of games on television.  And I can sit with the general
managers in the rules discussion, listen, understand and -- oh,
my God -- even participate.  Does that mean I could be a general
manager?  Absolutely not.  Does that mean I could coach?
Absolutely not.  Does that mean I could play?  Absolutely,
absolutely, absolutely not.  But I wasn't hired to do any of
those three things.  Can I make a deal?  Can I handle the league
in a labor dispute?  Can I make a TV deal?  Can I get a P.R.
department to function in ways that it hasn't before?  You make
your own judgment.  Those are the things I have to do" (Dave
Sell, WASHINGTON POST, 4/20).

     Dodgers Owner Peter O'Malley "emphasized the urgency of
hiring a commissioner but said Wednesday that he won't be among
those urging that acting Commissioner Bud Selig be retained,"
according to today's L.A. TIMES.  Asked if he would support Selig
for full-time commissioner, O'Malley "paused, asked for the
question to be repeated and then slowly answered."  His response:
"My answer is no.  Two letters.  One word.  No."  O'Malley said
he would withhold further comment until a collective bargaining
agreement is in place (Bob Nightengale, L.A. TIMES, 4/20).
     SPEAKING OF WHICH:  The need for a long-term settlement is
the focus of a CHICAGO SUN-TIMES examination of the labor
situations in the NBA, NHL and MLB.  Dave Van Dyck writes, "If
nothing else, the seemingly endless baseball war should have
served as a reminder to other pro sports of how not to conduct
negotiations" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 4/20).  NL President Leonard
Coleman was interviewed during last night's Reds-Phillies game on
ESPN.  Coleman, on the need for a long-term labor agreement:  "It
is of critical importance.  Fans ought to be able to enjoy the
game and not have to sit back and worry about management labor
issues.  The game has already had enough disruptions, so
hopefully we can get something long term so the fans can look
forward to worrying about batting averages and ERA's rather than
what's happening in the negotiating room" (ESPN, 4/19).

     Robert Kheel, the lead management negotiator in labor talks
with locked out umpires, said "he expects the two sides to inch
closer toward a deal within the next day or so," according to
today's WASHINGTON POST.  But Kheel, who exchanged proposals
yesterday with MLBUA General Counsel Richie Phillips, is unsure
whether a deal can be done to have the umpires ready for Opening
Day.  Terms of the new proposals were not disclosed.  Kheel also
said that umpires will not be allowed to return without a new CBA
unless they take a no-strike pledge (Mark Maske, WASHINGTON POST,
4/20).  Phillips said they will not offer such a pledge "under
any circumstances" (Hal Bodley, USA TODAY, 4/20).  Phillips, on
management's proposal:  "I'd have to characterize [it] as an
offer that was intended to stimulate negotiations."  But A
management source "said there had been less progress than
Phillips indicated" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 4/20).