MILEPOSTS—FILED: By the other seven of the nine American Basketball Association teams; applications for membership in the National Basketball Association at the start of the 1976-77 season. The New York Nets and Denver Nuggets had already requested entry. NBA Commissioner Larry O'Brien "suspended" any action, citing the five-year-old court injunction barring a merger of the two leagues.
FOLDED: The WORLD FOOTBALL LEAGUE, after completing slightly over half of its second year, citing financial troubles caused by poor attendance (a slump of 28% in the last five weeks); lack of national television exposure and revenues; and inability to overcome the backlash from the league's disastrous first season.
RETIRED: From the Edmonton Oilers, JACQUES PLANTE, 47, from 1952 to 1973 goaltender in the NHL and, since then, in the WHA. He won the Vezina Trophy as best goalie a record seven times, became only the fourth goalie to win the Hart Trophy as most valuable player, and was a seven-time All-Star.
SIGNED: By the New York Knicks, SPENCER HAYWOOD, 26, center-forward for the Seattle SuperSonics, in exchange for Eugene Short, New York's 1975 first-round draft choice, and a reported $1.5 million to be paid over three years. In his five NBA seasons, the 6'9" Haywood has been an All-Star and averaged 24.9 per game (page 77).
DIED: TOM PATE, 23, a linebacker for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League, after suffering a head injury in a game against Calgary. Pate, a 1975 University of Nebraska graduate and defensive end, led the Huskers with 14 tackles in Nebraska's 13-10 Sugar Bowl victory over Florida in 1974.