The third — and likely final — UFL season arrived late. And it’s leaving early. For this year and, possibly, for good.
Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the league will announce today that the balance of the 2011 regular season has been scuttled, and that the championship game will be played on Friday, October 21.
Through four games, the Las Vegas Locomotives and the Virginia Destroyers are 3-1. The Omaha Nighthawks and Sacramento Mountain Lions are 1-3. Presumably, the Locomotives and the Destroyers will square off for the title. The UFL will cancel the final two regular-season games.
The Locomotives, coached by Jim Fassel (pictured), have won both of the prior UFL championships.
In August, the UFL contracted from five teams to four, and the league shrunk the regular-season schedule from 10 games to six. Those moves came after the UFL unexpectedly delayed the launch of training camps (and thus the season) by a month, even as coaches and players were showing up.
The minor league that hoped to be a major player has been overwhelmed by debt, and underwhelmed by revenue or interest. The idea is a good one, given that so many NCAA institutions are pumping out 20-25 players every year. The funnel from college football to the NFL is too narrow; a true minor league system could work, if it’s run properly and if the minor league doesn’t get too ambitious.
In the past, there has been talk that the league could buy the UFL. At this point, however, there may be nothing to buy other than some helmets and shoulder pads.