Griffin Purchases BCA League System

Mark Griffin, a poolroom owner and partner in table manufacturer Diamond Billiard Products, has agreed to purchase the Billiard Congress of America’s 60,000-player amateur league system, despite the efforts of a group of regional league officials to form their own association in opposition to the sale.

The BCA’s board of directors agreed to the general terms of the deal during a meeting on March 31, the first day of the BCA’s annual industry trade show in Las Vegas. Griffin, a BCA board member who was recused from league-sale votes, made a substantial payment toward the total purchase on April 1.

Griffin was quick to quell fears that he would substantially alter the way the 26-year-old league system operates.

“Nothing will change,” said Griffin, 57, himself a master-level player in the league. “Not the entry fees, or the rules, the regulations, the sanctioning of the teams — there will be no changes.”

For at least the first couple years, the league would maintain the “BCA” name in its moniker, Griffin said. He expected to hire a new administrative staff for the league, the headquarters of which likely would move from Colorado Springs, Colo., to Las Vegas.

[Griffin has created a Web site for those interested in more information on his plans: www.bcapoolleague.com]

The BCA had received multiple offers for the league system, according to John Stransky, chair of the BCA’s league sale committee. Griffin’s bid was considered the strongest overall, in part because “he was very much in favor of keeping things intact,” Stransky said. “BCA players could continue to play under his ownership and expect things to be greatly the same.”

Griffin’s agreement with the BCA came less than a week after news that a group of BCA league operators and state association presidents had decided to form a new association in opposition to the pending sale.

By forming its own league, dubbed the American Cuesports Alliance, the group sought to preserve the BCA system’s not-for-profit modus operandi. Alliance members expected to have the support of a majority of BCA league operators and players, and announced their intention to hold their own national championship in 2005.

[The Web site for the American Cuesports Alliance can be found at www.americancuesports.org]

W.C. Dixon, president of the BCA league’s Texas state association and vice-president of the Alliance, told BD on April 1 that Griffin’s purchase of the league system would have no bearing on the Alliance’s plans.

It all pointed to a war for the hearts and minds of the rank-and-file players at the 2004 BCA National 8-Ball Championships, to be held in mid-May in Las Vegas. Stransky said the BCA would make overtures to players and operators at the event supporting Griffin’s leadership.

For in-depth coverage of the BCA league sale and its ramifications for players, see the May issue of Billiards Digest, mailed to subscribers in mid-April.