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Volume 24 No. 156

Leagues Governing Bodies

          The NFL "is nervous and rightfully so," about the
     antitrust lawsuit filed by the St. Louis Business and
     Convention Bureau that is set to be heard in U.S. District
     Court on October 6, according to ESPN's Chris Mortensen. The
     lawsuit is over the $29M relocation fee that NFL charged the
     Rams to move from L.A., of which the Visitors and Convention
     Bureau was charged $20M.  While the NFL has "made overtures"
     to Rams President John Shaw about settling, one St. Louis
     source said that "is a fruitless attempt because the Rams
     are not the litigant" and have "only filed a lien to collect
     against the NFL if a judgement is rendered in favor of St.
     Louis."  One league owner told Mortensen that the NFL "is
     irate with Shaw because, in a deposition, he accused NFL
     commissioner Paul Tagliabue of lying about circumstances
     regarding the Raiders' obligations on a move."  Mortensen
     adds that the "league is not confident about the case" since
     St. Louis "has a distinct home-field advantage."  While
     damages could be trebled, a court loss would also impact the
     NFL's relocation deals with the Ravens and Oilers.  League
     sources say that Ravens Owner Art Modell "will be a witness
     for the league [h]owever there is an agreement that the
     Ravens' deal will be modified on the exact terms of any
     settlement with St. Louis" (ESPN SportsZone, 9/14).

          Patrick Ewing is a "leading candidate" to be named NBPA
     President when it announces results of a vote taken by
     secret ballot among the league's 29 player reps, according
     to an AP report in the DETROIT NEWS.  Ewing had "pushed" in
     '95 "to try and persuade NBA players to decertify the union
     before the current" CBA was ratified.  Ewing is currently VP
     of the union's nine-member executive committee, which is
     headed by Buck Williams (AP/DETROIT NEWS, 9/13). 

          MLB Acting Commissioner Bud Selig was interviewed by
     Fox's Chip Carey and Steve Lyons before Saturday's "MLB on
     Fox" telecast.  Selig, on realignment: "The schedule really
     right now just doesn't work and that's a disaster for all 30
     clubs ... we're trying now to deal with individual club
     concerns."  Selig, asked if he had a concrete plan to
     present at the owners' meetings in Atlanta this week: "Not
     at this point.  I mean, we have a significant number of
     plans ... with variations off those plans."  On the search
     for a full-time commissioner: "There are serious candidates,
     but we've agreed ... that to protect them and everybody else
     that this is to be done on a very confidential basis ... we
     haven't set a timetable, but I have said recently ... that
     hopefully by the end of the year we'll have somebody at
     least ready to come on board" ("MLB on Fox," 9/13).
          PETER'S PRINCIPLE: Giants Owner Peter Magowan said that
     he is "prepared to take his fellow owners to court to
     prevent" an MLB realignment plan that would move the A's to
     the NL, according to Henry Schulman of the S.F. EXAMINER. 
     Magowan said that the "legal basis for a suit would be the
     Giants' franchise agreement, which decrees the Bay Area as
     Giants territory" in the NL (S.F. EXAMINER, 9/14).  MLB
     owners will meet Tuesday through Thursday in Atlanta, with
     realignment on the agenda.  Padres President Larry Lucchino,
     a member of the realignment committee, thinks a decision
     will be reached on a '98 schedule: "Fortunately and
     mercifully.  We need to move on to the schedule.  We need a
     (1998) schedule and we need some decisions.  The world isn't
     waiting for a perfect decision.  It's just waiting for a
     decision" (Ross Newhan, L.A. TIMES, 9/14).
          PARTY FOR FIVE: In L.A., Ross Newhan writes on Selig's
     five-year reign as acting commissioner: "No one criticizes
     Selig's passion or work ethic.  He is on the phone 10 to 12
     hours a day, earning the $2 million a year his colleagues
     pay him."  But one NL owner said, "I criticize Bud for
     agreeing with everybody he talks to, whether he agrees with
     them or not, and I also think five years is a very long
     interim period."  Newhan: "Selig has also tended to insulate
     himself among allies, making sure that Reinsdorf and
     Minnesota owner Carl Pohlad, among others, are always on the
     executive council and other influential committees to help
     Selig control vote."  The NL owner adds that a "majority" of
     NL owners would oppose Selig's possible candidacy for the
     full-time position in part due to a "marketing void."  The
     NL owner: "That's where baseball has really suffered.  Deals
     just aren't getting done.  The '97 season was a total loss
     in that regard and there's no excuse for it.  Greg Murphy
     was hired [as MLBE President] with a lot of fanfare, but he
     doesn't have Bud's support.  It's a real void.  We're not
     generating the income we should" (L.A. TIMES, 9/15). 

          The World Championships of Beach Volleyball concluded
     Saturday at the UCLA tennis center and southern Californians
     "are veritable sticks in the sand when it comes to their
     beach volleyball ... which resulted in more than 1,000 empty
     seats," according to Mike Penner of the L.A. TIMES.  Beach
     volleyball on tennis courts "was a mixed proposition at
     best."  While Management Plus promoter Leonard Armato said
     the artificial beach succeeded in "changing perceptions"
     about the sport in southern CA, FIVB President Ruben Acosta
     "expressed disappointment at the small crowds at UCLA" and
     said that if the championships ever return to the L.A. area
     he would go to Manhattan Beach.  Penner: "Attendance became
     such a sensitive issue among tournament organizers that no
     official gate totals were released for any of the four dates
     of competition."  Acosta said he was "very concerned" about
     the size of the crowd and "promised to 'do my best to see
     that these seats will not be empty at the next World
     Championships.'"  Penner: "Those are scheduled for 1999,
     possibly in South Africa, possibly in Berlin, but not
     probably back in Westwood" (L.A. TIMES, 9/14).  Preliminary
     overnights for NBC's coverage on Sunday of the volleyball
     championship finals were a 2.5/5 (THE DAILY).