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NHL makes second proposal to players' association during labor talks

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman says the league has made a "significant, meaningful step" with its latest proposal. The players' association is expected to respond Wednesday. The current collective bargaining agreement ends Sept. 15.

August 28, 2012|Staff and wire reports

The NHL made a second proposal to the players' association during labor negotiations Tuesday in New York, but it's unclear how much it differs from a proposal the players previously rejected and whether it will provide enough of a framework for additional substantive discussions.

"We believe that we made a significant, meaningful step," NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman told reporters after the second of two sessions held Tuesday at the league's Manhattan offices.

However, he offered few hints about what that step entailed beyond saying the two sides are closer than before on the issue of revenue sharing.

Donald Fehr, executive director of the NHL Players' Assn., told reporters the NHL's move on Tuesday was "a proposal we intend to respond to" after players have an opportunity to analyze it. That response is expected to be made on Wednesday, when talks are scheduled to continue in New York.

The current collective bargaining agreement between the NHL and the players' union expires on Sept. 15 and the league has said it will lock players out if a new agreement is not in place. In recent weeks the sides have exchanged proposals without much apparent progress.

Bettman and his second-in-command, Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly, met Tuesday morning with Fehr and Fehr's brother and counsel, Steve Fehr, before taking a break. The union executives returned to the table with several players in tow: Mathieu Darche of the Montreal Canadiens, Douglas Murray of the San Jose Sharks, and Ron Hainsey of the Winnipeg Jets.

The NHL's previous proposal would have cut players' percentage of hockey-related revenues from 57% to 46% of a smaller revenue pie. It also called for extending entry-level contracts from three years to five years while limiting unrestricted free agency to players who have been in the league a minimum of 10 years. The players' proposed taking salaries that would constitute less than 57% of hockey-related revenues for the first three years of a new deal and proposed increasing league-wide revenue sharing from about $150 million to about $250 million.

— Helene Elliott

Etc.

Former Penn State faculty leaders blasted the NCAA and former FBI director Louis Freeh over their handling of the Jerry Sandusky child sex-abuse scandal, saying Freeh's report — prepared for the university — and the NCAA's $60 million in fines unfairly punish the entire university community.

The scholars said Freeh used "scant evidence" to support conclusions that the NCAA then relied upon and embellished to set sanctions that harmed not just the athletic department but Penn State's academics well-being and financial health.

"On a foundation of scant evidence, the report adds layers of conjecture and supposition to create a portrait of fault, complicity, and malfeasance that could well be at odds with the truth," said the statement, signed by 29 past chairs of the faculty senate.

Freeh defended his work in an interview with the Associated Press. Addressing specific criticism that his team did not interview Mike McQueary and other key witnesses, Freeh said his team respected requests by state prosecutors to rely on their grand jury testimony. McQueary is the graduate assistant who saw Sandusky, a former assistant football coach, in the shower with a boy in 2001.

Freeh's 267-page report concluded that failures of leadership, an intense football culture and an unbending desire to protect the university's reputation all served to enable Sandusky as he molested young boys for years. Sandusky, a longtime defensive coordinator, was convicted in June of abusing 10 boys, some in the locker room showers.

Freeh's findings have come under fire from ousted school president Graham Spanier, the family of late football coach Joe Paterno and the two university officials charged with perjury and failing to report the abuse complaints.

The NCAA sanctions also include a four-year ban on bowl games.

The faculty leaders took special issue with the NCAA, saying it jumped to conclusions in finding the school had a long history of putting football over academics. The former teachers said they had hundreds of years of collective experience at Penn State and had never been asked to change grades for athletes or approve of phantom courses or majors.

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Texas A&M and Louisiana Tech postponed Thursday night's season opener in Shreveport because of Hurricane Isaac's forecast path through Louisiana. The game has been rescheduled until Oct. 13, which had been an open date for both teams.

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Purdue suspended starting linebacker Dwayne Beckford indefinitely, and Coach Danny Hope described his future as a Boilermaker as "very questionable." Hope said that Beckford was arrested for what he described as a violation of Beckford's "probationary status."

The 22-year-old Beckford was arrested in December on a drunken-driving charge.

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