We pointed out earlier this year that the standard UFL contract now permits a player to be released prematurely, with the consent of Commissioner Michael Huyghue and payment of a $150,000 fee.
Per a source with knowledge of the situation, that procedure applies not through the end of the UFL season, but through February 2011. The source also explained that UFL coaches and General Managers assured players and agents that, after the UFL season ends, players will be permitted to leave for the NFL.
The UFL has now had a change of heart.
According to the source, Huyghue has decided that the fledgling league could use the cash, and that the $150,000 payment will be sought for any player whom the NFL wants to sign. In turn, the NFL has advised all teams that the UFL players remain under contract after the UFL season ends, and that NFL teams should not contact nor discuss any UFL players.
Said the source, “UFL coaches and G.M.’s are pissed. If Huyghue follows through on this, the [UFL] is over. No one will send a player there.”
Most players with NFL pedigrees are willing to take roughly $50,000 to play in the UFL in the hopes of being “called up” to the NFL after the UFL season ends. If that option is removed from the table, the thinking is that fewer UFL players will join the UFL.
Whether Huyghue reverses course remains to be seen. However, a decision needs to come soon. The UFL season ends next week.