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Volume 24 No. 134
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Names In The News

In N.Y., Dave Seminara notes the George Washington Univ. School of Business STAR EMBA program is the "first executive MBA program for professional athletes." The "invitation-only program feature all of the coursework one would expect to find in an MBA curriculum, but the students are anything but ordinary." Graduate schools across the country "have seen a rise in applications during the recession," and NFL and GWU officials said that that trend "may be spilling over into the ranks of current and retired professional athletes." GWU "decided to put its initial focus on the NFL, because other sports have shorter off-seasons." In recent years, "dozens of NFL players have completed advanced degrees at a variety of universities, including Harvard, Northwestern, the University of Chicago, Pennsylvania, Columbia and Duke." The league’s CBA "offers players a tuition reimbursement of up to $15,000 a year" (N.Y. TIMES, 1/30).

WRITING NEW CHAPTERS: Former NBAer SAM VINCENT is trying to expand the National Basketball Retired Players Association "beyond its chapters in Orlando, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Houston and Phoenix." Vincent said that he "hopes to get the likes" of MICHAEL JORDAN, SCOTTIE PIPPEN, SHAQUILLE O'NEAL and PENNY HARDAWAY involved. He added that Magic CEO ALEX MARTINS "has pledged his support." Vincent said that he "hopes some of today's players attend a panel discussion during All-Star Weekend in Orlando," which will include Basketball HOFers JULIUS ERVING and ELGIN BAYLOR, along with National Urban League President MARC MORIAL. The topic: "The impact of African-American players on the business side of basketball" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 1/29).

COURT BATTLE: Former NFLer HUNTER HILLENMEYER is waging a fight against the NFL "to receive what the NFL Players Association says is $900,000 due him according to the collective bargaining agreement after two doctors, one the independent neurological consultant for the Bears, recommended he no longer play football" due to concussions. Hillenmeyer said, "It makes me sick to see (the league) claim it is driving concussion research and putting players safety first. The whole system is designed to do one thing: make owners money" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 1/29).

SECRET AGENTS: In S.F., John Shea profiled MATT SOSNICK and PAUL COBBE, who have "quietly built the Bay Area's most influential baseball agency." The two have negotiated $300M in "guaranteed contracts the past three years through Sonick Cobbe Sports." The firm has six agents and "represents 88 players," including Reds RF JAY BRUCE, Marlins P JOSH JOHNSON and Rays P MATT MOORE. Sosnick "will be a groomsman" in the November wedding of client and Giants C SCOTT COUSINS -- after Cousins "proposed in Sosnick's home and had his engagement party there" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 1/28).

BUYING & SELLING: Former Lightning co-Owner LEN BARRIE "was finally kicked out of his opulent mansion" near Victoria, British Columbia. HSBC Canada has "mortgages on the 12,500-square-foot house" for more than C$14M. It "was supposed to take over the house on Jan. 16 but Barrie and his family were still living there, which prompted the bank to obtain a court order evicting" them (, 1/27)....Clippers G CHRIS PAUL has purchased the 12,184-square-foot Bel-Air home of signer AVRIL LAVIGNE for $8.495M (L.A. TIMES, 1/29).....Jaguars Owner SHAHID KHAN is trying to sell his 223-foot yacht for a little more than $112M. The yacht is also available for "$600,000 a week plus expenses" for Caribbean cruises this winter (FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 1/29).

NAMES: An estimated 17,000 people attended Saturday's WalkAbout Autism -- a half-mile walk around SunLife Stadium sponsored by the Dan Marino Foundation. The foundation exceeded its fundraising goal by 40%, bringing in $700,000 (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 1/29)....Former MLBer EDDIE GUARDADO helped organize the Stars & Strikes celebrity bowling tournament in Tustin, Calif. The event, attended by Angels CF TORII HUNTER, Rangers 3B ADRIAN BELTRE and other MLBers, benefited Autism Care & Treatment Today (, 1/29)....New Buccaneers coach GREG SCHIANO owes Rutgers $800,000 for leaving the school early, with $500,000 of that amount due "over the next 30 days as part of his buyout penalty" (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 1/28)....NBC has commissioned composer JOEL BECKERMAN to "create an orchestral-rock hybrid" of JOHN WILLIAMS' '06 piece "Wide Receiver" for use during Super Bowl XLVI (, 1/27)....White Sox Chair JERRY REINSDORF received the Commissioner's Award for Philanthropic Excellence from MLB Commissioner BUD SELIG on Friday (, 1/27)....A source said a publicist for Eagles QB MICHAEL VICK "is asking around for Fashion Week invites" (N.Y. POST, 1/30).

IN MEMORY: BARBARA DOUGLAS, the first African-American Chair of the USGA's women's committee, died Saturday after a lengthy battle with ovarian cancer. Douglas, 69, was a past President of the National Minority Golf Foundation and a member of the National Black Golf HOF (, 1/29).