The Colts Influence
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The Colts Influence
ALL AMERICAN FOOTBALL LEAGUE
The All American Football League is a professional American football league. The league, which combines a professional pay structure with the requirement that all players be college graduates, had originally been scheduled to start in the spring of 2007, but later postponed its launch to the spring of 2008. The first three games between the six teams are scheduled for April 12, 2008, as described below.
The All American Football League, scheduled to begin play in April 2008, is a professional American football league in which all players must possess a four-year university degree. The players will be employees of the AAFL rather than of the franchises, and the league will pay each player an average compensation of approximately $100,000 to attract the best non-NFL talent.
For its first season in 2008, the AAFL has six franchises. Although
there is no indication that nicknames would be avoided, as of
November 1, 2007, the teams continue to be referred to as "Team
Florida", "Team Texas", etc. The teams are:
The league was unveiled at a press conference in New York City on July 26, 2006. Its Chairman is Cedric Dempsey, former president of the NCAA. Prior to that, Dempsey was the longtime athletic director at the University of Arizona. The rest of the league's Board of Directors includes various well-known sports and private industry individuals.
The league plans to sign agreements with a specific, manageable target list of football tradition-rich universities and prominent stadiums. These universities will become "host universities" for an AAFL franchise. For their part, universities will be allowed to retain the revenues generated from parking and concessions and, possibly receive additional compensation through a stadium rental agreement with the AAFL. Because the league will play its games in the spring, the normally idle stadiums will be available for league play. The league will strive to avoid all normal conflicts that exist with the host college programs such as spring practice and spring games. Playing in the spring avoids competing for the traditional fall football fans of the NFL and college football, thus providing an extended season of quality football for those who crave the sport.
Each team will strive to be stocked with players that graduated from the host state's universities. Non-territorial players, such as Eric Crouch, who won the Heisman Trophy in 2001 as quarterback for the Nebraska Cornhuskers, would be available for selection in the AAFL draft, which will take place on January 25, 2008. There is no provision in the league rules to include a players who are working on obtaining a degree. An AAFL release stated that a player "must, without exception, have earned a 4-year degree or more advanced degree to be eligible to play in League games." The release adds that other players may be invited to try out "in the hopes that the opportunity will inspire them to complete their education".
With the demise of NFL Europa, the AAFL will be competing with the Arena Football League and af2 for talent among spring football leagues. According to the Associated Press report of the league's formation, Dempsey stated that AAFL players will earn about $100,000 a season, as compared to the $30,000 minimum paid by the Arena Football League. Moreover, the league, rather than the franchise owners, would pay the players and coaches in order to control spending. Later, however, the league announced that "During its initial season, most players will be paid $5,000 per game plus benefits, slightly higher than the salaries of the now defunct XFL. Six players on each team will be designated as franchise players, who will be eligible for an additional $50,000 per year."
The league has announced a 10-game season for 2008, from April 12 to June 14. The six teams will play in one division during the first season. The teams with the 2nd and 3rd best records in the regular season will meet in a playoff for the right to face the number one team in a championship game to be played on July 3, 2008. The AAFL released its schedule in October, 2007, with the April 12, 2008 games consisting of Alabama at Florida (at Jacksonville), Arkansas at Texas, and Michigan at Tennessee.
On January 1, 2007, five school stadiums plus three municipal stadiums had been confirmed or conditionally confirmed to provide a total of 8 teams. Raleigh, North Carolina and West Lafayette, Indiana will not field teams for the inaugural season, but are potential venues for the 2009 expansion. (see below). The AAFL held its kickoff tryouts on July 2-3, 2007, in Orlando, Florida. On July 26, tryouts followed in Birmingham, Alabama (July 26); Little Rock, Arkansas (August 18); and Detroit, Michigan (September 13), Tampa on October 12 and Houston on October 24 and 25th, and has tryouts scheduled for Knoxville, Tennessee on December 6 and 7th.
Board of directors
One of the fundamental differences between the AAFL and prior
attempts at creating a spring professional league for American
football is the group of leaders from within intercollegiate
athletics that have lent their support. These leaders include:
Future of the League
As of January 1, 2007, eight stadiums had already announced agreements or contingency agreements to rent to the league. The facilities include those of five universities (Purdue University, the University of Tennessee, North Carolina State University, the University of Florida and Florida State University), plus Ford Field in Michigan, Rice Stadium in Texas, and Legion Field in Alabama. The inaugural season will not see teams at Purdue or North Carolina State.
Other professional leagues competing with the NFL, such as the USFL, World Football League, and XFL folded after a few years. In addition, another league, the United Football League, is scheduled to start play in 2008.
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