The National Lacrosse League and the Professional Lacrosse Players Association have officially announced that they have reached a new seven-year Collective Bargaining Agreement that will be in effect starting in the 2014 season and running through the 2020 season. There are no real surprises in the announced agreement, with most of its elements already having been widely reported. Highlights of the agreement include the following.
Player rosters are reduced from 23 to 20
Teams will dress 18 players in games, rather than the previous 20
Practice rosters will be increased from three players to four
The regular season will be lengthened from 16 to 18 games
Minnesota moves from the West Division to the East
The playoffs will be expanded so that the conference finals and Champions Cup will be a two-game series with a 10-minute mini-game to decide the winner if the two games are split
The age for free agency will be reduced from 32 to 30
Veteran players 34 year of age or older will be able to reject the Franchise Player designation and become free agents
There will be a salary cap of $400,000 per team, with luxury tax payments accruing for anything over that amount
NLL Commissioner George Daniel said “The new CBA will allow us to improve our business model. This deal should foster a great era of growth for the league. I would like to thank everyone from both sides who worked on reaching this deal, but I would like to especially thank the players who participated in the bargaining sessions for their high level of professionalism during this process.”
“I too would like to thank all the players and advisers that participated in this process along with the Gms, owners and Commissioner Daniel at the table who engaged in productive candid negotiation over the past 18 months,” said PLPA President Peter Schmitz. “I applaud the players for their willingness to assist the clubs in stabilizing expenses for the next two years with the hopes that they arne the league are rewarded with growth and expanded awareness of our great sport. The non-economic gains afforded the players were a welcomed improvement to current conditions and will be appreciated for many years to come.”
One element of the agreement is that salaries will remain at their current levels for the first two years of the new deal. That means the rookie salary will stay at $9,207, the veteran maximum will remain at $27,177 and the franchise player salary will still be $33,971. One change that will come into place in 2015 is that second year players, rather than simply being considered veterans for the purposes of salaries, will have salaries in a the range $11,000 – $15,000.
One change to restricted free agency will see a team who wishes to retain a player who has been offered a contract by another team to match only the base compensation and bonus compensation offered by another club. If a team decides to match an offer, any increase to the player’s base compensation from the previous season will not count towards the luxury tax calculation.
IL Indoor will have more coverage of the ramifications of the new CBA as we move towards the season. In the meantime, with teams now able to sign their players, expect a flood of signings and other player news in the coming weeks.Stamp is a TV sports announcer and lacrosse lover whose skill set made him a defender but who always dreamed of being a goal-scorer. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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