Alliance of American Football Suspends Operations

by | Apr 2, 2019 | Football, News, Paul Baker

It’s been a rough week for some of the smaller leagues in the sports world. On Sunday the Canadian Women’s Hockey League folded. Yesterday, the Major Lacrosse League announced it was contracting three teams. Today, the carnage continued, as the Alliance of American Football suspended operations.

The league, in its first season, cancelled practices across the country today and announced that operations were suspended at least for the day, and “probably indefiniety,” according to a source close to the AAF. Controlling owner Tom Dundon will make the final decision.

At this time, there have been no confirmed reports that the league is folding. A conference call among the league’s general managers was scheduled for 5 p.m. ET, but at this point, no one is sure what will happen.

In February the league was granted a reprieve when Carolina Hurricanes owner Dundon invested $70 million into the struggling upstart league. He pledged a total of $250 million to keep the league afloat. If the league folds, Dundon stands to lose the entire investment.

The central issue to AAF’s uncertain future is the negotiations between the National Football League and NFLPA over the use of practice squad players. Dundon said last week that if a deal could not be reached between the two sides, he would examine all options, including dissolving the league. Even if the NFLPA agrees to let practice squad players play, they are most likely a season or two away from joining the spring league.

It is reported that league officials are confident that the league could succeed, and that Dundon is going against the advice of people working beneath him, including AAF CEO Charlie Ebersol and Head of Football Bill Polian. Inside sources state that Dundon’s plan for the league is different from league officials, primarily regarding the timetable for becoming an official “minor league” to the NFL. When Dundon agreed to finance the AAF, he took unilateral control of the board of directors, meaning any decisions regarding league operations, including folding the circuit, are his alone to make.

Follow Paul Baker’s stadium journeys on Twitter and Instagram @PuckmanRI.
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