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Volume 24 No. 112

Leagues Governing Bodies

          The NBA has "postponed" the opening of training camps
     and the free agent signing period because the new CBA "has
     yet to be finished and signed," according to Lacy Banks of
     the CHICAGO SUN-TIMES.  The "biggest disagreement" concerns
     the new salary-cap exception, allowing teams over the cap to
     sign an additional free agent.  The union wants the
     exception to be used for six-year contracts and the league
     wants it "limited" to three-year deals.  NBA Senior
     VP/Communications Brian McIntyre: "Camps definitely won't
     open (today)."  A league source said that there are "so many
     unresolved issues, camps might not open until Friday"
     (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 1/19). In N.Y., Mike Wise writes that
     another "minor issue" to be resolved involves salary cap
     circumvention, "to insure teams and agents do not conspire
     to go around the agreement's terms in their negotiations." 
     League and union execs are "concerned that the lockout would
     not be lifted until late this week" (N.Y. TIMES, 1/19). 
     Wise wrote on Sunday that other issues include the "haggling
     over" the definition of BRI, sharing of TV revenue, and
     "several conduct issues" (N.Y. TIMES, 1/18).  NBPA Outside
     Counsel Jeffrey Kessler: "We've drafted and reviewed over
     400 pages, including the anti-drug agreement and other
     agreements.  Just because of the time involved, getting
     through all the language, it is virtually impossible it
     could get signed today" (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 1/19).  
          LICENSE TO MARKET: BRANDWEEK's Terry Lefton reports
     that NBA CMO Rick Welts said that the NBA and union
     "extended" the agreement granting the league licensing
     rights to the names and faces of its players for "two years
     beyond the new six-year collective bargaining agreement." 
     Since the league can extend the CBA to a seventh year, the
     new group licensing deal is good "for either eight or nine
     more years."  The NBA's "guarantee" of $25M annually to
     players as payment for their licensing rights continues, but
     a union source said that the number will drop to $20M this
     season, due to the lockout (BRANDWEEK, 1/18 issue).
          SEASON OF FORGIVENESS: The NBA reinstated seven refs
     who had been suspended by the league after being "charged
     and found guilty" of committing tax fraud.  In Chicago, Lacy
     Banks called the move, which will "help upgrade the quality
     of play," "welcome and timely" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 1/17). 
     NBA Commissioner David Stern, from a statement: "This is a
     time for healing.  Each of the referees has accepted his
     punishment and expressed genuine remorse for his actions"
     (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 1/16).  In N.Y., Mitch Lawrence
     wrote that Stern "can talk about forgiveness, but the league
     had no choice but to reinstate" the referees because it "was
     going to have a problem filling its 58-man roster."  A
     league source said that the NBA will reinstate other refs
     who are "still in the IRS's pipeline," but they will first
     have to "sit out six months" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 1/17).
          NOTES: USA TODAY's Michael Hiestand profiles Weil,
     Gothshal & Manges' attorney Jim Quinn, who played a key role
     in the final CBA deal (USA TODAY, 1/19)....76ers President
     Pat Croce, after 76ers G Allen Iverson was served court
     papers for failing to make lease payments on three Mercedes:
     "Maybe now that Michael Jordan's retired, [David Falk] will
     pay more attention to Allen" (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 1/18).

          The NFL has hired Muhleman Marketing's Max Muhleman to
     "assess" whether the L.A. market "can bear the prices two
     competing ... groups plan to charge" for seats if awarded
     the 32nd franchise.  Muhleman was hired in late December
     (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 1/18 issue)....IHL President Doug
     Moss said that Victoria, British Columbia, "is set" for an
     expansion team "in the next couple of years," and the Las
     Vegas Thunder will be "moving out" of the Thomas & Mack
     Center to another in the city.  Moss: "We have had offers to
     play in arenas connected to different casinos, but we don't
     know if we want to go that route" (CINCINNATI POST, 1/18).
     ...Of the 39 LPGA events returning from '98, the HealthSouth
     Inaugural's $550,000 purse, down from $600,000, is the only 
     one to decrease.  LPGA Commissioner Jim Ritts: "In the
     latter quarters of last year, the health industry ... was
     faced with a great deal of tumult."  As a result, Ritts said
     that the LPGA allowed HealthSouth to reduce the purse and
     agreed to help them sell-off some of their advertiser
     inventories in the telecast (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 1/16)....The
     CPBL Board of Directors includes former NBA MVP Spencer
     Haywood, U.S. Rep. Carrie Meek (D-FL) and the N.Y. Post's
     Peter Vecsey.  CPBL President Paul McMann: "We're not going
     the way of the ABL.  What differentiates us from the ABL is
     we know what we have to do.  The ABL didn't.  Our league
     won't survive on ticket sales alone" (BOSTON GLOBE, 1/17).

          Orioles Owner Peter Angelos and the MLB delegation that
     is visiting Cuba "likely will return home today without a
     final agreement to stage the potentially historic" home-and-
     home exhibition series, according to Peter Schmuck of the
     Baltimore SUN.  There will be "at least one more meeting"
     with Cuban officials today before the delegation returns to
     Baltimore today (Baltimore SUN, 1/19).  Among those joining
     Angelos in Cuba was MLB Exec VP/Operations Sandy Alderson,
     Orioles LF B.J. Surhoff, MLB counsel Bill Schweitzer, MLBPA
     rep Tony Bernazard (Baltimore SUN, 1/16).  A "major hurdle"
     in the negotiations "may be the distribution of revenue"
     generated from the series (Baltimore SUN, 1/18).
          NOTE: On ESPN.com, Tracy Ringolsby wrote that MLB's
     "Blue Ribbon [Economic] Committee" assigned by Commissioner
     Bud Selig "has some major flaws" and is "anything but a
     bipartisan contingent."  Four of the "so-called independent"
     members have "ownership ties."  George Mitchell was a
     commissioner candidate; Paul Volcker was an ownership
     appointee to a '90 study panel; Richard Levin was a "close
     friend" of the late Bart Giamatti; and George Will is on the
     Board of Dirs for the Orioles & Padres (ESPN.com, 1/18).