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UPI NewsTrack Sports

Sept. 12, 2012 at 5:00 PM   |   Comments

NHL players eye strategy before lockout

NEW YORK, Sept. 12 (UPI) -- NHL Players Association officials were to meet in New York Wednesday to mull demands by team owners who say they want more concessions on a new contract.

Owners have threatened to lock out players at midnight Saturday if some agreement cannot be reached, the New York Post reported.

Some 300 union members will meet Wednesday and Thursday. The league's Board of Governors is due to convene Thursday.

In their initial offer on July 13, owners said they wanted players to reduce their share of revenue from 57 percent to 43 percent. Players counter-offered on Aug. 14 with a proposal to limit increases in their share to 2 percent the first year, rising to 6 percent in the third year.

The union also wants an option for their share of revenue to return to 57 percent the fourth year.

Members of negotiating committees for both sides have yet to meet this month.

Both sides are waiting to hear from courts in Canada about whether the NHL can legally lock out teams there.


Ex-Fiesta Bowl officer may avoid jail time

PHOENIX, Sept. 12 (UPI) -- The U.S. attorney's office recommends no jail time for the Fiesta Bowl's former chief operating officer for her involvement in a campaign contribution scheme.

Natalie Wisneski aided authorities after admitting her involvement in an illegal scheme in which Fiesta Bowl employees were reimbursed with the Arizona college football event organization's money after making campaign contributions to specific candidates. U.S. Attorney John Leonardo said in court filings Friday he will recommend probation for Wisneski, citing her "full and continued cooperation" with law enforcement. She faces up to a year in prison when she is sentenced Monday in U.S. District Court, The (Phoenix) Arizona Republic reported Wednesday.

She is among six current or former Fiesta Bowl employees, including John Junker, the former bowl chief executive officer who pleaded guilty to state or federal crimes in the investigation.

Former bowl lobbyist John MacDonald also pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor for not properly disclosing travel spending for lawmakers, the newspaper said.


Report: Soccer fans wrongly blamed in 1989

LONDON, Sept. 12 (UPI) -- Police and emergency services covered up their responsibility for the deaths of 96 English soccer fans in 1989, an investigative panel reported Wednesday.

The Hillsborough Independent Panel report concluded 41 of the 96 Liverpool fans killed at the stadium in Sheffield might have been saved if the emergency response had been adequate, The Daily Telegraph said.

The Hillsborough Disaster occurred April 15, 1989, when Liverpool fans attempted to enter Hillsborough Stadium in Sheffield to watch a semifinal match between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest. As the match was beginning, a crush developed outside the turnstiles and then turned into a crush inside.

The new report has concluded police attempted to minimize their own mishandling of the situation by blaming the fans. For example, blood alcohol levels were taken for all the victims, including children, to suggest that drunkenness was involved, that many Liverpool fans did not have tickets and that there was a conspiracy among Liverpool fans to get to the match late.

Dr. Bill Kirkup, a member of the panel involved in the new report, said officials also argued that those killed were all dead or brain-dead by 3:15 p.m. that afternoon. In fact, he said, evidence from autopsies shows that 41 people had injuries that might have allowed them to survive with prompt medical attention.

Prime Minister David Cameron apologized to Liverpool fans while speaking in the House of Commons about the report Wednesday, Sky News said.

"This appalling death toll of so many loved ones lost was compounded by an attempt to blame the victims," he said. "A narrative about hooliganism on that day was created which led many in the country to accept that it was somehow a grey area."


Notre Dame to join ACC

SOUTH BEND, Ind., Sept. 12 (UPI) -- Notre Dame officials said Wednesday their athletics teams, except for football and hockey, are joining the Atlantic Coast Conference.

School officials said they have to work on a timetable for leaving the Big East Conference, which has had Notre Dame as a member since 1995, and moving to the ACC.

Notre Dame will remain a football independent but will schedule five ACC opponents each year for football games and will play each conference member at least once every three seasons. However, Notre Dame will be allowed to retain its football broadcast rights agreement with NBC.

The hockey team will join Hockey East. The ACC doesn't have a hockey championship.

"We have monitored the changing conference landscape for many months and have concluded that moving to the ACC is the best course of action for us," Notre Dame Director of Athletics Jack Swarbrick said. "This will enable us to maintain our historic independence in football, join in the ACC's non-BCS bowl package and provide a new and extremely competitive home for our other sports."

Notre Dame joins Pittsburgh and Syracuse in moving from the Big East to the ACC. Once the Fighting Irish join the ACC, the conference will have 15 members for most of its sports.

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