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Yes, I did and a lot of times the meetings were on an emotional note. From the meetings that you had in Vegas this past week what did you come away with, the feeling from the players, from league operators and just basically in general?
I think the biggest thing is their feelings are hurt by the way the BCA handled the sale. Nobody can disagree that the BCA handled the sale very poorly. The BCA should have contacted all the league operators and told them the league was going to be for sale.
You are the target because you are the owner now. I have to try to make them feel with a degree of assurance that I have their interest at best. A lot of the turmoil is being intentionally stirred by certain individuals. They are intentionally putting stuff out that is not true, to add fuel to the fire.
There is not a player rep on the board now. That would impact the room operators more than anything else. There is not a player rep right now. Are you going to have on your board a player rep? My board is going to be an advisory board and everybody will be sensitive to the players side.
There will be some players, there will be some referees, some instructors. Open players should be playing Open players. Are you still on the BCA board?
There has been a rumor going around through emails that there was a conspiracy from the board and someone or some ones on the board wanted to sell the BCA leagues. The board is made up of its own people and there were 14 board members, 3 of us were excused from the room.
Who were the other two excused? Greg Hunt excused himself, because at the very beginning when it was first announced that the leagues might be sold, he said he might be interested. Rene Pohlman of the APA was excused and probably just because of the conflict issue, with her position and being on the board.
All three of us were never involved in those discussions. You can have a lousy board and keep running in circles or you can have a very good sole proprietor that keeps the straight and narrow. There are no incentives, the real incentive is for the for-profit venture. I first said and I have said everyday since, I will not make a dime off of league operation.
So in essence, I am a non-profit. You have hundreds of non-profits every year that get in all kinds of trouble, misappropriating funds, expensive salaries, benefits, all kinds of things. I have to laugh when two months ago all this for-profit, non-profit stuff started erupting, that same day in the Metro section in Las Vegas, some local charity had two and a half million dollars unaccounted for.
The structure means absolutely nothing to the integrity of the business. And most people think that non-profits are very prevalent but all large sports groups are organized as for-profit: Golf, Tennis, Nascar … you name it. All those things are organized as a for-profit and purses and salaries did not get large until the sport became successful as a for-profit.
Look here, the BCA is non-profit and they have a board. They have boards and boards get political. A prime example is the Billiard Congress of America. They had a complete turn over the last 50 years.
Then you have to change it? I HAVE to use certain portions of the name for 3 years because of the national championship. There is still some legal mumbo-jumbo going on.
Hopefully that day will come. What tables will be used? Valley tables in and Diamond thereafter. Will there be a Diamond League? Diamond tables will continue to be available to all leagues. Will leagues or state associations be required to use Diamond tables? All league and state associations will be free to use ANY table they prefer. You can play on a Sears table. This is just people in hysteria. There will never, ever, ever be any pressure, any requirement, to play on any tables.
My question was whether the name would be changed? The table you use — you can still keep those rules there that they can play on any table, because it would immediately limit the number of locations and I think you see that and understand that.
Diamond has nothing to do with the BCA league other than common ownership through me. But I have nothing to do with the day-to-day operation of Diamond. When I say prize fund, I probably should word that better, as player benefits. There are other issues besides just added cash to make things better. Now the ACS seems to have the support of the larger league systems, the operators, how is that going to effect your leagues, the BCA leagues, and possibly did you buy an empty league?
Nobody buys a league. There are memberships but the membership is only from June 1st to May 31st. Every league, every league operator, every anything with this league ceases to exist on May 31st. The ACS has misrepresented what the state officials are saying. I think they are showing their moral fiber here and ethical background. They may think that people are stupid in the short run, they probably are, but in the long run their integrity has been damaged.
Now these state officials, the only reason they became state officials is that they had to promise them something to become a director. But when these gentlemen are speaking, they are only speaking for themselves. They only represent themselves and possibly their own league if they are a league operator. They have the right to do that. How will that effect things and the outcome? I plan on being here, when its all over and done with.
They may too, so we may have two leagues. The players know where they want to play. Do you have any comment about that? Obviously they have the right to schedule a tournament anytime they want to. I think if they really had the players best interest in mind they would be sensitive to the players cash requirements, for lack of a better term, for how many tournaments they can go to. They have the right to do that if they care to. Does the split of the league system BCA, put other leagues in a superior position for picking up prospects from disillusioned league players looking for a stable organization?
But, I will rebuild it because I think I have the tools to do it. As far as this split possibly going to allow other leagues some of the BCA players and leagues, may spin off to other pool.
We should all be working together against the competition from video game, TV, bowling — all these other items. Some of the players have questions because they have doubt in you and I think a lot of that doubt comes because you were on the board and the perception that you allowed the league to be sold, and you bought it.
You allowed the leagues to be sold and then you bought them. I excused myself from every meeting. People know that I was most adamant about selling the league. I made a short impassioned speech that they were just nuts to do this and that they would lose probably the majority of their room members. Be that as it may, it was out of my hands. So then I have a decision to make. What effect would this have on our industry?
They never have made any money. The never have made any money over the years and everybody thinks this is such a money making proposition. There is no money in the league program and everybody has misconstrued that.
I think a for-profit entity that can round up some sponsors hopefully, that can do some things more player oriented. I think that the players should look at this as a blessing in disguise.
Why would they want the BCA to keep it? They feel that something is being taken away from them, something that they could count on, look forward to every fall. But that will still be there and more things will be there. I agree if you stop and sit down and think about those things and weigh them out then you understand.
But most people are doing a knee-jerk reaction, something is being taken away. First of all there is no money to be made, believe me. I found that once I got a chance to talk to somebody and explain some of the thing that occurred, they have a whole different outlook.