National Sports Briefs
Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 22, 2011
CHICAGO ó Remember the proposed 18-game regular-season schedule that was the cornerstone of the NFL ownersí bargaining stance during the lockout?
Well, itís essentially a dead issue, according to various reports about the owners meeting in Chicago.
And no one is shedding any tears.
Not coaches or front-office executives, who already fret about player attrition from a 16-game schedule, first adopted way back in 1978.
Not fans, who gave the 18-game proposal only lukewarm support in polls.
And certainly not players, who worry that two more regular-season games would shorten their careers and add to their long-term health concerns.
The flip side of the 18-game scheduleís demise is that the exhibition season ó all four games ó is still alive and kicking.
The preseason appears to be one of the driving forces behind the recent uptick in collective bargaining negotiations.
Both sides realize they must agree to a deal soon in order to have a free agency period, training camps in their entirety, as well as the full slate of preseason games.
All of them, of course, at full price.
CHICAGO ó NFL owners and players met in the Boston area Wednesday in the latest attempt to work out a new collective bargaining agreement, a person with knowledge of the talks told The Associated Press.
Commissioner Roger Goodell and members of his labor committee resumed negotiations with players’ association chief DeMaurice Smith and several players. A day earlier, NFL owners were briefed on recent progress about a new CBA.
NEW YORK ó Union officials said Wednesday that NBA players and owners are about $7 billion apart over a 10-year span in their most recent proposals, a significant gap to close to avoid a work stoppage.
So far apart in negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement that union president Derek Fisher said when players are briefed on the state of the talks, they are in “total disbelief” and ask why they even bother having meetings.
“When we put our spreadsheets up, we put it on the board, we lay it out, everybody’s at a loss for how to even begin to close this gap,” the Lakers’ guard said.
They have only until June 30, when the current CBA expires, and they’ll take another crack at it during another session Friday.
FLORENCE, Ala. ó Former Florida cornerback Janoris Jenkins will play his senior season at North Alabama, the Division II program led by former Auburn coach Terry Bowden.
North Alabama announced the signing Wednesday. Jenkins was dismissed by new Gators coach Will Muschamp in April after his second arrest for marijuana possession in a four-month span.
NORMAN, Okla. ó The Red River Rivalry game between Oklahoma and Texas is moving back to the morning.
ABC announced Wednesday that it will televise the Oct. 8 game nationally and it will start at 11 a.m. It’s the third time in the past four years that the Sooners and Longhorns have had a morning start time for the game played annually at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas since 1929.
PISCATAWAY, N.J. ó Rutgers football stadium has a new name.
For the next 10 years, it’s going to be known as High Point Solutions Stadium.
The university formally announced Tuesday the New Jersey-based information technology company acquired the naming rights to the 54,454-seat facility.
NEW YORK ó The NHL board of governors unanimously approved the sale of the Atlanta Thrashers on Tuesday, paving the way for the club to move to Winnipeg, Manitoba, for next season.
True North Sports and Entertainment bought the team last month and announced it was bringing the Thrashers to Winnipeg, which lost the Jets to Phoenix after the 1995-96 season.
VERONA, N.Y. ó The fourth annual Notah Begay Challenge has been postponed.
The charity event at Turning Stone Resort and Casino’s Atunyote Golf Club was scheduled for July 5, but an injury to Tiger Woods has forced Begay to put it on hold. Woods has committed to play but is still recovering from injuries to his left leg.
Woods announced Wednesday that he’ll miss the AT&T National next week. He says he suffered the injury at the Masters and withdrew from The Players Championship after nine holes.
ST. LOUIS ó A day after Miguel Batista walked consecutive batters with the bases loaded, the St. Louis Cardinals released the 40-year-old right-hander.
Batista was part of a bullpen collapse in a 10-2 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies and was not the long relief solution the team envisioned when they signed him last winter.
ARLINGTON, Texas ó Houston Astros reliever Brandon Lyon is planning to have surgery on his pitching shoulder next week and likely is out for the season.