Umpires Leave With More Cash in Their Tennis Bag Than the Tennis Players

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Money for NothingSome major athletes have made millions by showcasing their talent in public arenas, leaving matches stuffing loads of cash into their tennis bags. Roger Federer, for instance, is the top paid tennis competitor with about 41.8 million in prize winnings.  Maria Sharapova, Rafael Nadal, Andy Roddick and the Williams sisters have also made a pretty penny  by playing in some of the world’s most prestigious tennis tournaments.  Although the lucky few earn a living that would be hard to spend in a lifetime, the payoff for some athletes is surprisingly small. At Futures tennis events, for example, the players may leave with less than the chair umpires.

The USTA Pro Circuit can easily be compared to the minor leagues of tennis. The circuit is composed of 88 events; “Futures” events with the prize money totaling around $10,000 to $15,000 and “Challenger” events with the total prize money running in the $50,000 to $100,000 range.

Recently, in Vero Beach, Fla. there was a $10,000 futures event where Australian player, John-Patrick Smith won the title over Brazilian, Pedro Zerbini. The crowd consisted of more than 300 tennis fans that each paid either $10 or $20 for their seat.

Smith`s prize money for his title win totaled $1,300 as well his prize money for willing the doubles title which totaled $630 which he split with his partner, American, Benjamin Rogers. Runner- up Zerbini took home $900. Zerbini was participating in Vero Beach for nine days playing eight matches; the breakdown being $100 per day.

Another player, Kriegler Brink earned $200 when he made it to the second round of the singles matches where he lost to Zerbini.

Up and coming American player, Tennys (pronounced “tennis”) Sandgren also made it to the semifinals in this Futures event and raked in a whopping $480.

The players who took place in this event were able to stay at hotels in the area and in some cases can stay for free with local families willing to help out an aspiring athlete. The hotels typically run about $125 per night. In Zerbini`s case, if he did stay in a hotel for the nine days he participated in the tournament , it would have cost him $1125, before tax, which put him at $225 in the hole!

The hotel is only one expense that the players must accept when playing at this event; although the tournament offers lunches, every other meal and expense must come out of the players pocket, so in reality, it costs some, if not all of the players money to compete in this specific event.

Surprising as it may be, however, the umpires and officials working this event may actually leave with more money in their tennis bag than the players. Vero Beach Futures tournament director, Mike Rahaley, was given $4,500 to pay the umpires and officials  (at a tournament at this level there is typically three to five umpires and officials). Not only that but the tournament pays for the official’s room and board fees which ran about $3,000.

Similar to an aspiring actor, a young tennis player trying to make it to the Grand Slams is going to have to sacrifice in more ways than one including accepting these small paychecks.  Despite the small paychecks that don`t even cover their expenses, the motivation is obvious. Leaving with less cash in their tennis bag than they came with is hopefully just a stepping stone to the “major leagues.”

Courtney Sloan is a copywriter and a college student majoring in mass media. As a copywriter with a love of tennis, Courtney has made it her assignment to research tennis news, highlights, products and more and share her findings with the tennis community. 

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The devil of the new NFL CBA is in the details for retired players

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NOTE:  This is a reprint of Mr. Hogan’s editorial.

We thank him for his efforts and encourage each reader to sign the petition for the independence of the retired players from the NFLPA.

By John V. Hogan, Esq.

The new CBA contains a provision that on its face appears to be of benefit to some retired NFL players receiving Total and Permanent disability benefits under the Bert Bell/Pete Rozelle NFL Player Retirement Plan. Article 61, Section 2 (a) (i) provides that a player will be permitted to receive up to $30,000 per year of earned (i.e. “work”) income without affecting his disability benefits. Presumably this was enacted to allow guys to be paid some appearance fees or earnings from card signings and other events without jeopardizing their “total disability” eligibility.

However, I’m sure than many – if not most – retired NFL players who receive T&P disability from the Bell/Rozelle Plan also receive Social Security disability. If so, having earned income up to $30,000 per year would most likely cause a cessation of their SSA benefits. In general, a person receiving Social Security disability benefits may work and earn up to a maximum of $1,000 per month gross ($12,000 per year) before they are deemed to be able to engage in “substantial gainful activity.”

Under Social Security rules, any work activity must be reported so that the Social Security Administration can determine whether the claimant’s condition has improved. If it has – and they have the ability to work – then they are no longer considered disabled.

As $12,000 is significantly less than $30,000, I have no doubt that many players will (being confused or not paying attention) exceed SSA’s earnings limit. At that point, they may be faced with a cessation of their disability benefits, liability for overpayment of Social Security benefits they have received after they have engaged in substantial gainful activity, as well as loss of their medical benefits from Medicare.

Here’s the Trojan Horse: Under Plan Section 5.3(b) a player receiving T&P benefits from the Plan must submit proof annually of his continued receipt of Social Security disability benefits and must immediately report any revocation of those benefits to the Plan. It’s not very difficult to see the scenario that then unfolds – the player is then sent to one of the Plan’s chosen doctors who opines that he is not totally disabled…

I’m glad to know that some limited income will not automatically disqualify a disabled retired NFL player from receiving his T&P benefits but as a true believer in Murphy’s Law – and as an attorney who has had extensive dealing with the Bell/Rozelle Plan – I’m sure that many guys will come to know how the citizens of Troy felt when the Greeks decimated them.

I could go on for hours and would be happy to at some other time. I would also be happy to provide you with any specific citations, evidence, etc., you would care to see.

John Hogan

Disability Attorney

Retired Football Players Advocate

That is what I think.  Tell me what you think.

Join us on the radio version of News, Notes and Rumors by logging on to or .

You can be part of the show by calling the Herbalife Hot Line provided by Drew Elkins at 216-539-0607.  If you
mention you heard about Mr. Elkins on NNR he will give you a discount on your first order.  Call him at 614-906-2321.

Please also visit Mr. Eller’s group website and sign up for the free newsletter.

Also you can keep up with the latest information on this issue on and
we thank Dave Pear for this information. Please check out the Declaration of Independence on and sign on as a fan.  We all can make a difference.

Thank you in advance.

I would like to thank Miller Beer for their support of our military.  They donate 10 cents for each bottle cap or pull tab returned to them to give our best and bravest tickets to games and other diversions which they so badly need.

Also we support the USO for all they do in taking care of not only our military around the world but also the loved ones of military families with the everyday issues they face with a Mother or Dad away from home protecting us all.

For replays of recent shows, check out archives of our shows on the VoiceBase player at .

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent.

He is the host of a senior writer for and edits
He has also published several novels on

and a non-fiction work at

He edits .

The Retired players declare independence from the NFLPA.

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The history of how the NFL and NFLPA have treated the retired players is replete with cases of indifference and neglect.  It was great players like Hall of Fame DE Carl Eller that built the league to the point that the players and owners were able to argue over 9.3 billion dollars in revenue.

And yet most men that built the game are struggling economically.  Even Hall of Fame players that retired before 1979 get just $ 200 per month from their pension.   The pension is based on a percentage of what the player earned while active.  Before 1979 most players were paid very little.  Unlike Social Security, there was no adjustment for inflation in those pensions.  As a result, they did not change despite the declining buying power of the dollar.

To make the situation worse, virtually all of these men have lingering physical problems as a result of the injuries sustained by violence of the game.  Just in the last few years the public has become aware of the mental issues resulting from multiple concussions, a very widespread problem with players that affect their entire lives. 

To make the situation worse, the process of claiming medical benefits has been made as difficult as possible.  The red tape and length of the process has saved money at the expense of the people the fund was supposed to benefit.

The NFLPA has claimed that they represent the retired players as well.  But up to the most recent CBA, the needs of the retired players were all but ignored.

Despite the multi-million dollar salaries that the current players get the plight of the retired players has gone unnoticed by most fans.  In support of his fellow retirees Mr. Eller filed a suit against both the NFL and NFLPA to address the needs of those that built the league at the expense of their bodies.  The efforts of Mr. Eller, AFL great Abner Haynes, Hall of Fame player and coach Mike Ditka and others directly led to the owners and union agreeing on an increase in the fund as part of the new CBA.   

These groups of retired players are now asking to administer the fund.  They have declared their independence from the NFLPA in the document copied below.

In addition you can help the effort by signing the petition you find at


Let the league and union know where you stand.  These men gave their all for the game and the fans.  It is time that the game gave them something back.

Join us at 6-8 PM EDT M-F on or .

You can be part of the show by calling the Herbalife Hot Line provided by Drew Elkins at 216-539-0607.  If you mention you heard about Mr. Elkins on NNR he will give you a discount on your first order.  Call him at 614-906-2321.


Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent.
He is a senior writer for and edits  He has also published several novels on and a non-fiction work at

He edits .

Limp Losers or Gourmet Greats

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As you walk in to a fast food establishment you’re likely to be enticed by the alluring advertised images on the menu.  But in fact what you actually get in reality is a limp, flaccid imitation based on over ambitious promises and over-pricing.  In many ways the fast food industry reflects the story of many misjudged signings by Premier League clubs since its inception 1992. Only time will tell if mega-signings Fernando Torres and Roy Carroll will be limp losers or gourmet greats. Here are the five worst signings made in the history of the Premier League.


Thomas Brolin

The former Swedish international was a complete and utter flop during his spell with Leeds. As a promising youngster, his superb goal sent England out of Euro 92. At the peak of his powers, Brolin was strong, graceful and technically gifted.  But Brolin’s powers ebbed away as quickly as he piled on the pounds as many wondered if he was in fact the long lost twin brother of golfer Jon Daly. However, despite the striker’s demise, Howard Wilkinson saw him as the perfect foil for the club’s top scorer Tony Yeboah, paying Parma £4.5 million for the Swedish striker’s services in 1995. In two years at Elland Road, Brolin made just 19 appearances.

Andriy Shevchenko

Before his ill-fated spell at Chelsea, Shevchenko had been one of the most feared strikers in European football.  Understandably, there was much hype over his £30million arrival at Stamford Bridge in 2006. However the Ukrainian found himself permanently on the bench behind Didier Drogba after consistently failing to find the back of the net. With just 14 goals in 51 appearances, Chelsea loaned Shevchenko back to Milan where he failed to hit the dizzying heights of his first spell with the Italian outfit. He made the move back to his first club Dynamo Kiev for just a fraction of his original transfer.

Juan Sebastian Veron

A player that have could quite easily have appeared  twice in this list, but to spare the Argentinian’s blushes,  his hapless spells with  Manchester United and Chelsea have been placed together. Veron completely failed to adjust to English football after a successful time plying his trade in Italy. In 2001 Manchester United acquired the services of the playmaker for a record fee of £28 million from Italian side Lazio. The midfielder clearly struggled to adapt to the pace of the English game, not being allowed  the time and space he was allowed in Serie A. However, this stop don’t Roman Abramovich from splashing out £15million for Veron’s services for Chelsea. The midfielder failed yet again to fulfil his potential and was farmed out on loan to Inter Milan in 2004, where he subsequently returned to form winning a Serie A title and two Italian Cups. Must be the British weather I guess.

Massimo Taibi

Sir Alex Ferguson identified the Italian as the ideal replacement for Peter Schmeichel, the omnipresent tracksuit bottoms should have caused Sir Alex to pause for thought. Manchester United splashed out £4.5million on Venezia journeyman Massimo Taibi. After earning rave reviews in Italy, Taibi’s spell was more like that of a raving madman. Taibi conceded two sloppy goals at Liverpool on his debut and one to Wimbledon the following week. And it didn’t end there. Southampton scored three at Old Trafford including a Matt Le Tissier shot that squeezed through Taibi’s legs, a shot so soft that it barely crossed the line. His agony continued, Chelsea smashed five past him at Stamford Bridge the following week. His Italian job was over a little more than a month after it began. Taibi rotted in the United reserves until Reggina took him on loan and then permanently signed him for £2.5million at the end of the season. Surely United’s worst keeper ever – in a competitive field featuring Mark Bosnich.

Ali Dia

Was he George Weah’s cousin? It’s highly unlikely. What is probable though is that Ai Dia was arguably the worst player in the history of the Premier League. Having failed a trial at Rotherham United, Dia was signed by Southampton manager Graeme Souness in 1996. Souness received a phone call purporting to be from former World Player of the Year George. In fact the call was from Dia’s agent, who falsely claimed his client was a Senegalese international and had played for Paris St Germain. Dia played just one game for the Saints, against Leeds United in November 1996. He came on for Matthew Le Tissier who was substituted after 32 minutes but hi performance was spectacularly below Premier League quality. It took Souness a whole 52 minutes to suss he’d been had. Dia was substituted and never played for Southampton again.


Aidan Donovan is a copywriter for Justeat that deal with a number of takeaways across the UK from Chinese Birmingham establishments to Pizza delivery

There is a major fraud in College football but it is not the OSU players

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The NCAA announced today that 5 Ohio State players will be suspended for 5 games in 2011 for selling Big 10+1 Championship rings, the Gold pants they get for beating Michigan and some other items. There is a HUGE fraud here but it has nothing to do with the 5 players. The FRAUD is the NCAA itself.

First, the 20 year old juniors assumed that the rings and other jewelry they won on the field and were presented were their property! The OSU AD Gene Smith (no relation) said that exact thing in a press conference.

My question for him and the NCAA is this. Who the hell are you to tell anyone what they can do with their own property!

We are not talking about the players selling a ring for 500K. These transactions were at a realistic value for the items sold but it is not about that. The majority of kids used the money to help their families, but it is not about that either.

At one time, this country was a republic. Private property was private and the owner could do with it WHATEVER he or she wanted. The NCAA might want to check the US Constitution to see how many of its rules violate that document.

This is the same NCAA that whores itself out for money every chance it gets. Notice that the players are allowed to make money for the NCAA in the Sugar Bowl. If the starters for Ohio State were not in the lineup in the Sugar Bowl, the NCAA and OSU would lose millions. What kind of crap is that? The NCAA sells the rights to the Bowl games to the highest bidder with no regard to whether the majority of fans will be able to watch the games.

The NCAA has permitted the bowls to sell their naming rights for money. The latest money grab was to sell the rights to ESPN so that the majority of games are shown on cable and not available to the average fan. Along with their accessories after the fact the college presidents, they also refuse to allow a playoff in Div. 1 football “to preserve the tradition of the Bowl system!” WHAT? Who among us can survive without the Poulan Weed-eater bowl? GET OVER YOURSELVES!

Despite the total greed exhibited by the NCAA, they refuse to allow a student-athlete to get a ride across campus on a golf cart. THAT is a violation. At the same time to preserve their financial stake in the BCS game, they saw nothing wrong with the father of Auburn QB Newton to attempt to shake down colleges for the services of his son. The “investigation” failed to prove that the player knew anything about the actions and therefore, their money was safe because Auburn would be allowed to play Oregon in the BcS “just pretend” Championship Game. Had Newton been ineligible the NCAA would have lost millions of dollars. Does anyone really believe that Auburn boosters did not pay Newton the 180K he asked Mississippi State for? Furthermore, does anyone believe that if that payment was made, that Newton Jr. didn’t benefit substantially from the money? No, of course not.

No one with an IQ above 20 really believes anything the NCAA said about the Newton investigation. Maybe the OSU students should have contacted Newton Sr. to sell their stuff. That would have been fine.

I have said here before that the NCAA is headed toward extinction and that is WAY overdue. The rule book makes the IRS code look like a 2nd grade reader. These guys define pomposity. The major conferences need to get together and form a new association and refuse to support the dictatorship that the NCAA has become.

OSU has said it will appeal the decision. But the NCAA only allows appeals to the same pinheads that issued the original penalty. Good luck with that. At that point OSU will drop the issue.

I suggest that the players suspended sue the NCAA for violating the player’s civil rights. I would love to see the NCAA frog-walked into court to try to defend their dictatorship in public.

In the mean time the players should turn their back on The Ohio State University and declare for the NFL Draft. They won’t be hurt by this so called “scandal” because no scout cares a wit what the NCAA rules say or don’t say. If a prospect has been accused of a crime, that is one thing. These silly NCAA rules are ridiculous. The scouts, fans, players and coaches know that. The only ones that have not figured it out are the pinheads at the NCAA.

When I worked at the state I found an old parable to be true. Those with just a little power seem to get a Napoleon complex. The only thing missing from the NCAA is a group photo with their hands stuck in their shirts.

I also think that it is time for the big dollar contributors to colleges to let the pinhead presidents know that unless they vote to support a real playoff in football, the money flow will dry up. Those boosters that support their schools should mention the massive donations to the NCAA should stop as well.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits His first non-fiction work is at the publisher now and he has also published several novels on

and edits .

Also listen to the best Sports Talk anywhere on the Internet and hear my draft analysis on Tuesdays on

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