AAF operations suspended, future of Alliance in doubt with two weeks left in inaugural regular season
Tom Dundon, the AAF's control owner, has threatened to shutter the league without a deal with the NFLPA
Before capping off its inaugural season, the Alliance of American Football could end. Operations were suspended at least for the day, a source close to the AAF confirmed to CBSSports.com, and they would remain so "probably indefinitely," with control owner Tom Dundon making the call. However, CBSSports.com was not able to confirm if the league was folding. In the meantime, practices have been canceled.
As those inside the AAF try to wrap their heads around what Dundon is doing, the sticking point is that nothing has materially changed since the Carolina Hurricanes owner invested in the company in February. Dundon invested $70 million of his pledged $250 million up front -- and he stands to lose at least that $70 million if the league folds -- but the AAF felt strongly about its chances of survival even before Dundon came aboard.
The source said the AAF, its partners and the NFL are all perplexed by Dundon's movements in the past 24 hours. Another said players have already expressed sadness about what they feel is an imminent folding -- though, again, that is not official.
At the center of the AAF's uncertain future are 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.
While the AAF played games last weekend, Dundonon his statements Monday evening. CBSSports.com can confirm that Dundon is acting against the wishes of the people contracted to work underneath him. That includes the wishes of AAF CEO Charlie Ebersol and Head of Football Bill Polian.
However, no one within the AAF is sure why Dundon is suspending operations and threatening to shutter the league since talks between the AAF and NFLPA were positive. In fact, one source indicated that Dundon's comments don't match his actions from Tuesday afternoon.
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