The future of the Alliance of American Football has come under question in recent days and now there’s a chance the new league won’t survive past this weekend.
According to ProFootballTalk, which cited unidentified sources, the league designed to be a farm system for the NFL (similar to how minor-league baseball is to MLB) will play games through Week 8 of the inaugural season, however, it’s “entirely possible that the plug will be pulled.”
Why the sudden change? The AAF hasn’t reached an agreement with the NFL Players Association that would make certain NFL players available to the new league. Tom Dundon, the majority investor of the AAF, believes the AAF won’t have a chance to become a “developmental” league if it doesn’t have access to young NFL players.
“We are looking at our options, one of which is discontinuing the league,” Dundon told USA Today earlier this week.
Dundon invested $250 million in the league in February, but the league appears to be at a crossroads. PFT notes Dundon could choose to stop funding the league, which would force the AAF to either find a new investor or “go out of business.”
As it stands now, the NFL will let players sign “futures” contracts at the end of a given season to play in the AAF, but the players association hasn’t agreed to terms that would modify the collective bargaining agreement. The modifications, PFT notes, would protect players loaned from the NFL against serious injuries while playing in the developmental league.
An unidentified union official told USA Today the group has “serious concerns” about letting the AAF borrow active NFL members.
The AAF likely won’t make it to the end of its 2019 season if there isn’t a process in place for using NFL players in its 2020 season, PFT adds.