NFL decision on spring league deferred to October

September 13, 1991

The NFL yesterday deferred until its October ownership meeting a decision on the continued operation of the World League of American Football.

But Dan Rooney, chairman of the new league's board of directors, said, "There was overwhelming support by the leagues' shareholders to go forward."

Rooney said there was strong sentiment against suspending play until 1993, but a decision wouldn't be made until the Oct. 23-24 NFL meetings in Dallas.

"I'm pleased with the way it came out," Rooney said. "We feel people feel it's a good league and we are moving forward."

There had been published reports that the NFL-sponsored spring league would be suspended in 1992 because it lost an estimated $15 million in its first full season with European and American teams.

* Eleven veteran football players filed a class-action suit against the NFL, alleging that club owners are fixing salaries during the seven-week preseason, costing them tens of thousands of dollars.

The suit, being brought under the guidance and financial support of the NFL Players Association, asks for treble damages, which if successful could cost the 28 teams an estimated $50 million.

At issue is how much veteran players get paid during the seven-week preseason. The issue is especially important for veteran players who get cut during training camp or early in the season.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, argues that under the standard NFL player contract, owners are required to pay non-rookies 10 percent of their annual salaries, equally divided over the seven-week preseason -- as long as no formal collective bargaining agreement is in place.

The NFL clubs instead pay veterans a fixed rate of $500 to $700 a week, normally a much smaller amount than the percentage, during the preseason. The average annual salary for veteran players exceeds $400,000 a year, according to the players association.

* Frank Kush has decided not to accept a job as head coach o the new Arena Football League team in Phoenix.

Jerry Colangelo, president of the NBA's Phoenix Suns, said his ownership group, which received approval for the franchise Wednesday, would begin interviewing other candidates.

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