The Alliance of American Football league has opted to suspend all operations, effectively immediately, according to various reports.
By proxy, this means the Atlanta Legends (2-6 overall, eliminated from playoff contention) might have played their last meaningful game in this startup league.
As reported by 11Alive Sports last night, Tuesday's news nugget shouldn't come as a major surprise to those familiar with AAF operations.
In previous weeks, league majority owner and board chairman Tom Dundon hinted he might abandon his financial commitment to the AAF by today's date, if the Alliance, the NFL and the NFL Players Association couldn't come to terms on a dual-participation program, thus allowing fringe NFL players to play spring football, without violating their current pro contracts.
What are the ramifications of Dundon pulling the plug on funding?
Back in Week 2, the AAF had reportedly run out of money ... only to be rescued by Dundon – owner of the NHL's Carolina Hurricanes – during an 11th-hour emergency meeting.
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At the time, Dundon had agreed to infuse up to $250 million of fresh capital into the venture, while assuming majority-owner status of the league.
So, without Dundon's cash, the AAF likely didn't possess enough resources to conclude the final two weeks of the regular season ... and then host its four-team playoff on April 21.
(The AAF championship game was initially slated for six days later.)
On Monday, Legends president David Livingston told the Atlanta Business Chronicle all present payroll obligations had been met, and that preparations for a second season were still in the planning stages.
"The Legends have created an identity in a meaningful way in a short amount of time, and we look forward to the opportunity to build on that," Livingston said to The Chronicle.
Of course, meeting previous payrolls hadn't been the problem, once Dundon's seed money entered the picture.
But now, this suspension could end up being a slow death knell for the league.
With the exceptions of Arizona and Atlanta, the other six AAF markets (San Diego, San Antonio, Salt Lake City, Birmingham, Memphis, Orlando) don't have direct market competition with the NFL.