According to THE SPORTING NEWS, the NHL Board of Governors
decided to extend Commissioner Gary Bettman's contract in the
face of "talk" that the NBA might lure him back as a potential
replacement for David Stern. Larry Wigge also reports, despite
talk that expansion is on the back burner, look for the NHL to
add six teams by 2002. If the Panthers move to Nashville,
Portland and South FL could get teams in '97-98; Atlanta and
Cleveland (if they don't get the Whalers) are in line for '98-99;
and Houston, Charlotte, Orlando, San Diego, Las Vegas,
Minneapolis and Oklahoma City could fight for the final two spots
(TSN, 12/25 issue).... SI's "Scorecard" examines the Supreme
Court's decision to hear Brown v. Pro Football Inc., the case
brought by NFL taxi squad players seeking whether players can
file an antitrust against the league during collective
bargaining. If the Court rules for the players, SI notes unions
would be able to sue leagues without decertifying -- "a right
that would significantly increase [a union's] power and leverage"
(SI, 12/25-1/1 issue)....In a USA TODAY Q&A, MLS Commissioner
Doug Logan promises they will not abandon their salary cap,
expresses hope MLS merchandise will be available in the next six
weeks, and floats Long Island and Chicago as possible expansion
areas (USA TODAY, 12/22)....In L.A., Shav Glick calls CART's
decision to race opposite the Indy 500 "spiteful and mind-
boggling" (L.A. TIMES, 12/22)....In New York, Peter Vecsey notes
Patrick Ewing is still upset over the new CBA and is pushing for
NBPA execs Buck Williams and Simon Gourdine to be voted out (N.Y.
POST, 12/22)....MLB is said to be exploring a true "World Series"
between its champ and the Japanese champion (USA TODAY, 12/22).