The Eighth Court of Appeals finally on Friday came down with its decision on the owners' appeal of judge Susan Nelson's lifting of the lockout, and it wasn't very good news for anyone.
The players were the big losers, as the appelate court sided with the owners on this one, declaring the lockout legitimate even as the two sides conducted 12 hours of bargaining Friday that could resume next week, or even into the weekend.
But for the Giants, the whole scenario proved a blow to their training schedule. After spending 15 summers at the University at Albany, they announced Friday that they are abandoning the upstate campus for this year and will conduct training camp at their Timex Performance Center in East Rutherford, N.J.
Here's the announcement.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – The New York Giants announced today that because of logistical and timing restrictions resulting from the league's current ongoing labor negotiations, they will not hold training camp this summer at the University at Albany, their camp venue since 1996. They will conduct this year's camp at their permanent home here at the Timex Performance Center.
"We have notified President (George M.) Philip and Dr. (Lee) McElroy at the University at Albany, as well as Mayor (Gerald) Jennings, that we will not be holding training camp there this summer," Giants President and Chief Executive Officer John Mara said. "In light of current circumstances, it simply became impractical for us to hold camp away from home. The University at Albany and the Capital Region has been a great summer home for us for 15 years, and we have every intention of returning there in 2012."
The Giants' 15-year stay at UAlbany is their longest at one training camp site in the 87-year history of the franchise. Before moving to Albany, they spent eight summers at Fairleigh Dickinson University in Madison, N.J.
"While I was disappointed when John Mara called me this morning, I fully understand the Giants' decision," said University at Albany President George M. Philip, "We have a strong relationship with the team and have enjoyed hosting their summer camp for the past 15 years. We will miss the vibrancy and excitement the Giants would have once again brought to the University and the region this summer. We wish them luck in the upcoming season and look forward to their return in 2012."
The Timex Performance Center, the Giants' state-of-the-art complex which opened in 2009, has three grass fields, a turf field outdoors and a full-sized indoor field.
"John called me this morning to let me know of the team's plans, and I certainly understand and respect the decision," said Albany Mayor Gerald Jennings. "We have had a great relationship with the Giants organization for 15 years, and my office and our city look forward to this season and to welcoming the Giants back next summer."
The NFL lockout has been in place since March 11. The owners and players continue to negotiate, but even if an agreement is reached within the next week, the Giants have too little time to transport equipment, weights, medical supplies, etc. and to organize the transportation of players – many of whom are not currently signed – to Albany. Head coach Tom Coughlin and his staff also feels that, after missing an offseason with the Giants players, their time will be more efficiently spent at the team's home base.