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ABP Ends U.S. Open Boycott
Aug 4, 2011, 12:13 PM

Four weeks after the Association for Billiard Professionals announced many of its members were boycotting this year’s U.S. Open 9-Ball Championship, the dispute between the players group and Open founder/promoter Barry Behrman has been resolved.

ABP legal representative Dennis Walsh and Behrman — along with Shannon Paschall, his daughter and co-promoter — reached an agreement on Aug. 3 that effectively ended the potential boycott.

As outlined in the signed contract, the promoters of the U.S. Open, set for Oct. 16-22 in Chesapeake, Va., have agreed to:

- Place the $50,000 in added money into an escrow account, which will be managed by the Billiard Congress of America, by Sept. 20;

- Direct all entry fees collected before the week directly to the BCA to be placed in the escrow account;

- Deposit a total of $162,000 — the amount equal to prizes for the top 64 players, based on a full field of 256 — into the account by Oct. 19, three days into the U.S. Open;

- Pay all players finishing 65th-96th in cash.

Those players who finish in the top 64 will receive checks direct from the BCA, with CEO Rob Johnson and BCA Board Treasurer Ivan Lee managing the escrow account. The ABP, meanwhile, has agreed to lift the boycott and participate in an Oct. 14 pro-am event.

While the negotiations between the two sides had devolved into a war of words, a massive boycott was perhaps an unlikely ending. For the players, the U.S. Open has the potential to be a significant payday, even if prizes were distributed in a tardy fashion. Also, the event is among those used for Matchroom Sport’s Mosconi Cup rankings, which will determine three slots on the European and American teams.

For Behrman and Paschall, meanwhile, continuing to delay payments to players was a major problem that needed to be addressed. Behrman, in his release following the agreement, promised to tweak his business partnerships.

“It is time for us to restructure our methods of receiving funs from sponsors, vendors and others, in order to be able to pay players in full at the event,” he said.

“We feel the players’ needs were justified, as pool is in a dire state,” Behrman also wrote. “We were hapy to be able to work out a solution that will protect all parties and appreciate the ABP bending a little, so that we could all reach an agreement.”