Sports Briefs 12-31-12

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INDIANAPOLIS -- City officials are looking into whether it would be more financially beneficial to hire an outside company to run Bankers Life Fieldhouse downtown where the Indiana Pacers play instead of allowing the NBA team to do so.

"We're going to look at taking it over to see if it makes more sense for us," Mayor Greg Ballard tells the Indianapolis Business Journal (http://bit.ly/UmawyX).

The Indiana Pacers have been running the 18,165-seat basketball arena since it opened in 1999, and the city recently agreed to pay $10 million to help Pacers Sports & Entertainment run the venue for another year. Experts differ on whether it's a good deal for the city.

Andrew Zimbalist, a Smith College professor who studies sports economics, said the Pacers are getting a "spectacularly generous" deal in keeping all revenue, paying no long-term expenses and getting another $10 million. He said the city should be able to do better.

But Mark Rosentraub, a University of Michigan sports management professor, said being the smallest market to host two major professional sports teams in a venue the competes with more modern facilities in other Midwestern cities could be a challenge.

"You ought to expect these facilities are not doing as well as you would like," he said.

PS&E President Jim Morris wouldn't say whether he would be open to giving up management. But he said he believes the Pacers have done a "superb job" operating the venue. He said the money from the city goes toward expenses, such as utilities, insurance, security and maintenance.

Morris estimates it costs the Pacers about $15 million a year to operate the building.

• Hockey

Negotiations start back up: The NHL and the players' association are ready to get back to the bargaining table. There were no formal negotiations Sunday, but all signs pointed to talks on Monday in an effort to end the lockout and save the season.

"There will be no further face-to-face meetings today," the union said in a statement Sunday. "The plan is for the sides to meet tomorrow."

Those would be the first negotiations since the sides met with a federal mediator Dec. 13.

Canada wins: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Ryan Strome scored in the first period, and Canada beat the United States 2-1 to advance to the next round at the junior ice hockey world championships.

Jacob Trouba scored for the U.S. The Americans need to beat Slovakia on Monday in Group B to move on.

Canada faces Russia on Monday to determine which team gets a bye into the semifinals.

Wolverines rally back: Michigan goalie Adam Janecyk made 35 saves and Michigan came from behind to beat Michigan State 5-2 Sunday in the consolation game at the Great Lakes Invitational.

Janecyk gave up two first-period goals then shut the seventh-ranked Spartans (5-11-3) down the rest of the way. He stopped 24 shots in the final two periods.

Lee Moffie gave Michigan (7-10-2) a 1-0 lead, but Tanner Sorenson and Matt Berry put Michigan State on top 2-1 after one period.

• Elsewhere

Refuses assignment: Rockets first-round pick Royce White has refused his assignment to Houston's D-League affiliate, yet another setback to his return to the court.

White has spent most of the season on Houston's inactive list while he and the team figure out how to handle his anxiety disorder and overall mental health.

White released an almost 500-word statement Sunday where he says in part: "I have chosen to not play, because the doctors and I believe it to be unsafe for unqualified Rockets front office personnel to make medical decisions, as they are not mental health professionals."

Hollowell reinstated: No. 5 Indiana will have freshman forward Jeremy Hollowell back tonight at Iowa.

Athletic director Fred Glass issued a statement Sunday saying the NCAA has cleared Hollowell of any potential infractions. On Friday, Glass said Hollowell and his family notified the school of a potential "compliance issue." Glass says those details will be released later.

Glass thanked the NCAA for making a quick ruling and accepting Indiana's self-reported secondary violation, which led to the immediate reinstatement of Hollowell.

Hollowell is averaging 5.7 points and 3.0 rebounds for Indiana (12-1).

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