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Volume 24 No. 115

Leagues and Governing Bodies

A study proposed by the NFLPA to "determine the impact of human growth hormone use on players' HGH levels" will see "roughly 100 recent former players" participate, according to Tom Pelissero of USA TODAY. Two-thirds of those players "will be administered HGH, and the other third will receive a placebo." Their HGH levels will be "measured before and after the trial to determine the impact of use." It is "part of the scientific design of the population study requested by the union to determine the so-called decision limit to detect exogenous human growth hormone -- in other words, the highest HGH level a player can have without facing discipline." It was "unclear whether any ex-players had agreed to participate in the study, when the HGH would be administered or how prescriptions would be obtained for the drug." Sources on Monday said that there "remained optimism HGH testing could begin in 2013, with the appeals process the primary issue to be negotiated" (USA TODAY, 8/15). USA TODAY's Christine Brennan writes NFL players "have something to hide." Brennan: "It's a big secret, and a bad one. We know this because for a third consecutive season, the NFL Players Association appears to be preparing to again drag its feet rather than allow its players to be tested for HGH." What the NFLPA is proposing with the study "isn't a drug plan, it's a delay tactic, all smoke and mirrors." USADA CEO Travis Tygart said, "Something isn't right when they think that 100 tests of former players are better scientifically than 10,000 male samples -- including athletes from Major League Baseball, track and field, weightlifting and judo -- done since 2008 in worldwide sport" (USA TODAY, 8/15).

PILING ON: In DC, Nathan Fenno reports former NFLer Clinton Portis is "the lead plaintiff in an 83-player lawsuit" against the NFL "over head injuries." The suit was filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, and other plaintiffs include former NFLers Daunte Culpepper and Carnell "Cadillac" Williams. The suit claims that Portis "suffers from headaches, among other problems, and is 'at heightened risk of developing further adverse neurological symptoms in the future'" (WASHINGTON TIMES, 8/15).

Former SMI President & CEO Humpy Wheeler this week said that NASCAR "hurt itself by becoming 'too fancy' in the 1990s," according to Joe Marusak of the CHARLOTTE OBSERVER. Wheeler in a YouTube video added that the sport "soared in the 1990s and a lot of people wanted to change it." He said that this "happened as racing evolved from a regional to national sport." Wheeler: "They thought it was too country or unsophisticated or whatever. Those people were dead wrong." NASCAR has "grappled with perhaps its most troubling ongoing challenge: declining ticket sales." Wheeler "traced the sport’s struggles in part to Dale Earnhardt’s death" in the '01 Daytona 500. He said that cars have "become too expensive, preventing grass-roots drivers from rising in the sport." Wheeler added that corporate sponsors in NASCAR "tried to change the sport." He said, "By trying to change it ... a lot of people left, and they left by droves. Yeah, they kept watching it on TV some, but they didn’t come to the race track" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 8/15).

IS WHEELER RIGHT? In Charlotte, Erik Spanberg wrote, "Some of Wheeler’s assertions resonate." The size of TV audiences watching NASCAR from '05-12 "declined by 32 percent." Forbes data shows that average attendance at tracks "fell from 130,000 fans per race to 98,000" during that span (, 8/14).'s Darrell Waltrip wrote, "One of the biggest areas I think we need change in is the race schedule." Waltrip: "I think we are at the point where NASCAR really needs to sit down, take a hard look at the schedule and do something new, different and exciting. We’ve been doing the same thing over and over, year after year and that’s the type of things people are tired of. ... We don’t have to reinvent the wheel, but we need to shake the tree every now and then and see what falls out" (, 8/13).