Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

Bills

March 25, 2014

Bills owner Ralph C. Wilson Jr. dies

Fate of National Football League team now up in the air

(Continued)

BUFFALO —

In 1970, Wilson's dream of owning an NFL franchise was realized when the Bills and the other seven AFL teams began playing in the NFL. And over the next four decades Wilson was an active member of the ownership group and he chaired committees relating to issues on pensions, labor, Super Bowl sites, expansion and realignment.
He was a key voice on the NFL's Management Council and his work with that group helped the NFL avoid a players' strike in 1977.
Wilson was instrumental in creating a revenue sharing pool that helped make the landmark 1993 collective bargaining agreement with the players possible. And in 2006, he and Cincinnati's Mike Brown were the only two owners who voted against the extension of the Collective Bargaining Agreement because it was clear that it would hurt small-market teams. In 2008, the owners saw Wilson's wisdom and they decided to opt out of the CBA.
Philanthropically, Wilson was also a champion.
He established the Ralph Wilson Medical Research Foundation which has contributed more than $10 million to high risk/high impact biomedical research.
He contributed $100,000 to the development of Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Athletic Field for the NFL Youth Education Town Center in Detroit;
He helped procure grants totaling nearly $500,000 for Buffalo-area athletics fields;
Among the benefactors of Wilson's charitable endeavors are food banks of Buffalo and Rochester, Ronald McDonald House, the United Way, the S.P.C.A, the Buffalo Philharmonic, the Shea's Performing Arts Center and the Hospice Center of Western New York.
He has also been a strong supporter of education and established scholarship programs at a number of colleges. At St. John Fisher College, home of the Bills' summer training camp since 2000, he helped fund a building that houses the College of Education which is named in his honor.

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