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NBA to Discuss Expansion for 1986-87 Season

A plan to add several teams to the National Basketball Assn. is on the agenda for the league’s summer meetings later this month, Commissioner David Stern said Monday.

Stern told the New York Times that the plan involves expansion for the 1987-88 season, but the newspaper said several owners believe there would be enough support to take on additional teams for the 1986-87 season.

Miami, which is planning to build an 18,000-seat arena, heads the list of possible expansion sites, according to the story. Discussions also have been held with groups seeking to put teams in Minneapolis; Charlotte, N.C.; Toronto and Santa Ana.

The NBA, which has 23 teams, will open its summer meetings June 23 in San Francisco. Increases in attendance and television ratings have spurred expansion talk.

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The University of Florida still regards its 1984 team as the Southeastern Conference football champion and refuses to recognize a decision last week to strip the Gators of their first SEC title.

Marshall Criser, Florida’s president, said the school has no plan now to challenge last week’s vote of SEC university presidents in court, but said he has instructed campus attorneys to review “every legal option open to us.”

The presidents voted 6-4 to overturn an April 3 executive committee decision that allowed Florida to keep the title. Florida recently began serving a three-year NCAA probation for recruiting violations.

Olympic President Juan Antonio Samaranch defended the growing acceptance of professionals being allowed to compete in the Olympic Games.

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Samaranch, speaking at the opening ceremony of the 90th session of the International Olympic Committee in East Berlin, said the IOC rules have had to be adapted to fit in modern times.

Car dealer Tom Benson announced he has purchased the New Orleans Saints from John Mecom Jr. for $70.2 million while acknowledging the politicians and partners who made the deal possible.

“With lawyers and bankers you know it’s a tough deal,” said Benson, a native of New Orleans with extensive holdings in Texas. “But we had to have politicians to boot.”

The Louisiana legislature previously endorsed a state contract providing for lease of the Superdome and revenue concessions to Benson and his 11 partners. Backers insisted the state would gain more than it gave by keeping the $130 million-a-year industry in New Orleans.

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Memorial services will be held today in Falmouth, Mass., for former St. Louis Blues hockey player Donald Whelden, who was killed early Saturday when he was struck by a lightning bolt that came through his bedroom window while he and his wife were sleeping.

Fire officials said that the bolt struck the couple’s metal frame bed, setting fire to the bedclothes. Whelden, 30, was pronounced dead at the scene. His wife, Linda, 27, escaped with burned fingers, Whelden’s father said.

An autopsy revealed that Whelden, a carpenter who played briefly in the National Hockey League in the mid-1970s, died of smoke inhalation.

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American cyclists Steve Tilford and Andrew Paulin were listed in stable condition after crashing head-on into a car in the Milk Cup cycling race at Scarborough, England.

Roger Kerr, women’s track coach at Arizona State for nine years, resigned effective Nov. 1.

Pitcher Pascual Perez of the Atlanta Braves was put on the 21-day disabled list. He is suffering from tendinitis in his right shoulder.


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