WASHINGTON, Dec. 6 (UPI) -- Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig, testifying before the House Judiciary Committee, said today his sport operated at a loss of $232 million in 2001 and that when interest expenses were added, the red ink totaled $519 million.
Selig appeared before the committee to argue against a bill that would remove baseball's anti-trust exemption, saying to do so would make the sport's problems even larger. He placed much of the blame for baseball's difficulty on player salaries and said anyone who doubts the financial figures he presented to Congress is, "just plain misinformed or is engaging in deliberate misstatement."
Not long after Selig made that statement, Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura said he did, indeed, doubt Selig was presenting factual numbers.
Ventura said he had a hard time believing the financial statements because, "they (the owners), are still paying the salaries they're paying. That's asinine. These people did not get the wealth that they have by being stupid."
Baseball is facing a significant turning point in its history with owners having agreed to eliminate two teams by the start of next season. But lawsuits filed by the players' union and by representatives of the Metrodome in Minneapolis have curtailed that effort. Although baseball owners have not named which teams will be "contracted," Minnesota and Montreal are reportedly at the top of the list.
In addition, the sport no longer has a contract in place with the players and the lack of one could cause a delay in the start of the 2002 season. Spring training is scheduled to begin in just over two months and an enormous gulf exists between the teams and the union as to what needs to be done.
With that as a background, Selig painted a bleak picture before the committee - making public financial figures that have traditionally been kept secret by the sport.
The numbers Selig presented to Congress indicated the Los Angeles Dodgers lost almost $69 million in 2001 and that the newly crowned Arizona Diamondbacks lost $44 million.
After revenue sharing totals and interest were added in, Selig said the only teams to operate at a profit this year were the New York Yankees, Seattle Mariners, Milwaukee Brewers, Chicago Cubs and Kansas City Chiefs.
Alabama announces self-imposed sanctions
TUSCALOOSA, Ala., Dec. 6 (UPI) -- The University of Alabama revealed a series of self-imposed sanctions Thursday in response to NCAA charges of violations in the football program.
The most significant measure would be a reduction of 15 scholarships over a three-year period, including eight in 2002-03, four the following year and three the year after.
Division I teams can award as many as 25 initial scholarships per year.
From now through December 2002, the school will reduce by one the number of coaches permitted to recruit off-campus and reduce the number of official visits by 44 over a three-year period.
The university also offered to sever ties with three athletic boosters accused of offering money to high school players.
Alabama, however, did not offer a postseason bowl ban as part of the self-imposed penalties.
University officials met with the NCAA Committee on Infractions on Nov. 17 and the NCAA is scheduled to rule on the matter in January or February.
Many of the alleged violations occurred during the tenure of former coach Mike DuBose, who resigned under pressure in
November 2000. Alabama already has been placed on probation twice in the past decade.
Anderson signs with Indians
CLEVELAND, Dec. 6 (UPI) -- Brady Anderson will try to revive his career with the Cleveland Indians.
Anderson, who hit just .202 with eight home runs and 45 RBI last season before being released in November by the Baltimore Orioles, signed a one-year contract for 20002 with club options for 2003 and 2004.
While his numbers are in decline, Anderson will come at a bargain price. Anderson's $4 million contract for next season, the final year of a five-year deal, is being paid by the Orioles, with the Indians responsible only for the minimum of $200,000.
The 37-year-old Anderson played in 131 games last season -- his 14th in the major leagues.
Penske joins IRL
READING, Pa., Dec. 6 (UPI) -- Roger Penske, the winningest team owner in Indy car history, will leave CART to join the rival Indy Racing League next season.
Penske Racing driver Gil de Ferran, who won his second straight CART championship this season, will join reigning Indianapolis 500 champion Helio Castroneves in the IRL next year.
"We plan to compete in all Indy Racing League series races in 2002, in addition to the Indy 500," Penske Racing president Tim Cindric said. "It was a decision made with our principal sponsor (Marlboro) based on our collective business interestes and objectives in 2002."
Penske Racing's plans do not include articipation in any other open wheel racing series in 2002.
It's the latest -- and perhaps biggest -- blow to CART this year as Penske Racing set the standard for the series since its inception. However, with leadership problems leading to some of CART's troubles this year, Penske has become upset with the direction of the series he helped launch in 1979.
In a related development, CART announced plans Wednesday to hire to a new president and chief executive to replace Joseph Heitzler, who will remain as chairman.
Penske vocally objected to CART's decision to leave Michigan Speedway -- a track he owned for more than two decades -- at the end of the season.
Derek Ross to turn pro
COLUMBUS, Ohio, Dec. 6 (UPI) -- Ohio State cornerback Derek Ross, who underwent shoulder and toe surgery on Wednesday that will keep him out of the Buckeyes' bowl game, has decided to enter the NFL draft.
Ross announced today he will bypass his senior season to play professional football.
A fourth-year junior, Ross underwent a medical procedure that will prevent him from playing in the Outback Bowl on Jan. 1.
In his first season as a starter, Ross started 10 games and led the Big Ten with seven interceptions. He had 39 solo tackles, one sack and one forced fumble.
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