Monumental Sports merger leads to layoffs
The merging of staffs from the Washington Capitals, Wizards and Mystics under the organization of Monumental Sports & Entertainment has resulted in some staff changes, with roughly 20 employees on the business and marketing side -- including some high-ranking officials -- leaving or getting laid off.
Internet mogul Ted Leonsis purchased the Wizards and Verizon Center from the estate of the late Abe Pollin in May and officially took over last month. He said that the integration of so many entities would lead to a reduction in employees.
His sports enterprise released a statement on Wednesday that acknowledged the changes, which have been taking place for the past few weeks, and added that more could come: "Monumental Sports & Entertainment does not discuss specifics in regards to changes in personnel as a general policy. However, we can acknowledge that the merging of three teams and the arena under the same organization has indeed resulted in an overlap in certain departments and, unfortunately, a subsequent small reduction in staff. It is possible that as the consolidation of our organizations continues, a small number of overlapping jobs may similarly be reduced."
Longtime Pollin ally Matt Williams announced that he was leaving Leonsis's newly established sports empire earlier this week, after spending 22 years at Washington Sports & Entertainment.
-- Michael Lee
Southern California has apologized to Florida, Alabama, Washington, Oregon and Fresno State for accusing those schools of breaking NCAA rules by contacting one of the Trojans' players without permission.
In a letter dated July 1 and addressed to Florida Athletic Director Jeremy Foley, AD Mike Garrett said freshman running back Dillon Baxter confirmed to Garrett that the player "did not receive a call from your institution."
"I apologize for any inconvenience or embarrassment this matter has caused to you and your institution," Garrett wrote in a hand-signed letter.
USC filed a complaint with the Pac-10 in June about several schools tampering with Baxter after the Trojans were hit with NCAA sanctions.
The Trojans received a two-year postseason ban, a loss of scholarships and were forced to vacate victories from the 2004 and '05 seasons for NCAA violations involving former star tailback Reggie Bush.
Because of the sanctions, USC upperclassmen are allowed to transfer without the usual NCAA restrictions, but only juniors and seniors can be contacted by other schools.
Pro Bowl left tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson reportedly has agreed to a six-year, $60-million contract extension with the New York Jets. Ferguson, selected to his first Pro Bowl last season, was the team's first-round draft pick out of Virginia in 2006. . . .