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League-Union News in Other Sports

The NBA's collective bargaining agreement expires at the end of June. David Stern (NBA commissioner) and the union head, Billy Hunter, are making concilliatory gestures towards one another in their negotitations. Here are some of the issues (from the Minneapolis Star-Tribune):

The current seven-year agreement is set to expire July 1. The two sides have a number of issues to resolve. The league would like to shorten the maximum length of guaranteed contracts, which is currently seven years. They want to curb pay raises and make the National Basketball Developmental League a true minor league. There has also been talk of setting a minimum age of 20 to play in the league.

The players, meanwhile, want to end the escrow and luxury tax currently in place for teams that spend over the soft salary cap.

The good news? The two sides will begin meeting in earnest soon; they could meet five times in the coming week.

The NFL's collective bargaining agreement doesn't end until 2008, but the sides are already talking. Here are some of the issues (from the Minneapolis Star-Tribune):

The goal is to have an agreement by the end of the 2006 season. Otherwise, under the current deal, the 2007 season will be played without a salary cap, with no guarantee of reinstating one after that season. That could wreak havoc on the future of a league whose strength is creating an even playing field for all 32 teams, regardless of market size.

An agreement could hinge on the owners accepting a drastic change in how revenue is defined. Currently, the league shares its "Designated Gross Revenues" (DGR) with the players. DGR does not include money from sources that aren't shared among teams, such as luxury suites.

Upshaw said the union now wants to share in "Total Football Revenue" (TFR), which would include money from all revenue streams.

Surprisingly, the owners haven't slammed the door on the idea, according to Upshaw. The top eight revenue-producing teams are balking, he said, but haven't taken a hard stance.

At the Super Bowl, NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue said, "We have a long way to go in getting a consensus among the owners."

If the union is successful in getting a share of the TFR, you can bet the league will want something in return. And look for low-revenue "have-nots" such as the Vikings to ask the high-revenue "haves" for subsidies since their TFR obviously isn't as great.