AAF 2019: Shutdown nears, with many employees being told Wednesday would be their last day
AAF control owner Tom Dundon had threatened to fold the league, and its future is looking more grim by the hour
The AAF has not officially folded, yet, but CBSSports.com was told by multiple sources that Tuesday was the last day for players and that Wednesday would be the final day for football operations employees in the Alliance. The news comes after afor the start-up football league.
While the term "fold" was not used, every indication from Tuesday was that the league's future was in doubt. That future is controlled by Tom Dundon, the owner of the Carolina Hurricanes, who just in February injected $250 million into the Alliance as a capital investment -- $70 million of that came up front. CBSSports.com was told that Dundon stands to lose at least that $70 million by dissolving the league.
Shortly before 5 p.m. ET, AAF Head of Football Bill Polian released a statement saying he was "extremely disappointed" to learn that Dundon was suspending operations for the AAF.
At the center of the AAF's uncertain future were the negotiations between the league and the NFLPA over the use of NFL practice squad players. Last week, Dundon said that if a deal could not be reached between the two sides, he would examine all options, including dissolving the league. In all likelihood, the AAF wouldn't get NFL practice squad players for another couple of years because of the collective bargaining agreement and the massive amount of red tape that the NFL requires to make such agreements official.
CBSSports.com that many people in the NFL, all the way up to commissioner Roger Goodell, were looking for ways to make a partnership work. In the last 24 hours, in light of Dundon's threats to fold the league, multiple high-ranking people within the AAF, as well as its partners and the NFL were attempting to find a solution. Talks between the AAF and NFLPA as of Tuesday were said to be positive despite Dundon's comments.
However, given Dundon's control of the company, his voice is what matters most in the AAF's future. Meanwhile, multiple sources close to the AAF have expressed utter shock in the sudden turn of events. No one has been able to answer concretely why Dundon is taking steps to shutter the league.
CBS Sports will update this breaking news story shortly ...
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