Agent declares UFL to be dead

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Though today’s 12:00 p.m. ET press release from the UFL followed by a 2:00 p.m. ET conference call with Commissioner Michael Huyghue likely will serve the purpose of formally announcing a 30-day delay to the launch of training camp, one agent who represents players in the league privately has told us that, in his view, the UFL is dead.

The agent also passed along a copy of the memo from Sacramento Mountain Lions coach Dennis Green to his players on Monday regarding the situation.  The full text appears below.  (We converted it from all caps, since all caps is roughly the equivalent of screaming into someone’s eyeballs.)

“At 3:30 p.m. Pacific time today, the UFL league office has just informed us that the season has been delayed thirty (30) days.

“There has [sic] been significant funding issues, and the UFL and its teams cannot operate training camp at this time.

“Do not report to training camp.  Stay in your home city, and check and see if your ticket is changeable to a later date.  Sid will inform you as soon as possible as to when you can rebook.

“Regarding the regular season calendar and how the contract will work from here on out, Sid will let you know as soon as we hear more.

“This is a tough deal for everyone, including coaches and staff who are already here.  We have been informed to leave camp Tuesday 19 July so we appreciate your patience and cooperation.”

Last week, Huyghue told PFT that the league would move forward for the 2011 season, with the four owners shouldering an expected operating deficit of $40 million.  At a minimum, one or more of them have had second thoughts about what essentially could amount to throwing their money away.

I mean, at least they could do something more productive with all those 100-dollar bills, like light cigars with them.

It remains to be seen whether the UFL is indeed dead.  The goal could be to hold it all together long enough for the NFL to swoop in and buy it once the lockout ends, a possibility to which Huyghue alluded last week.

45 responses to “Agent declares UFL to be dead

  1. The UFL is dead as soon as the NFL lockout ends. No one is going to buy the UFL.

  2. They are who we thought they were?……C’mon Green, gotta a be a lame ass coors light commerical in here somewhere…..

  3. Why compete with the shield directly? The USFL for a short while by being a spring/summer league.

  4. I kind of hope they save this league, but Michael Huyghue should be replaced as the Commisioner because this league was ran wrong right from the begining. Out of Michael’s arrogance.

    This should have been a Spring to Summer league that ended it’s season right when the NFL started theirs, this should have been setup as a minor league farm league for the NFL but again Michael’s arrogance made him stubborn to try to compete against the NFL..

    This could have and still can be a great farm minor league for the NFL, should be expanded for each team in the NFL to have a minor league team, with the same low pay.

    This way if they ran it from Spring to Summer, they would be able to use their affiliated teams stadium, this would create more jobs, more revenue to the teams and their respected cities and groom better players, so their is not so many bust in the NFL.. it doesn’t really have to affect the on-going negotiations because that league will have it’s own rules just like the minor leagues of the MLB, NBA and NHL

  5. There are only three things that are going to happen to the UFL. One, done, gone. Two, NFL buyout. Three, Join the NUSFL as a spring league. There is not going to be a third season !!

  6. The UFL was a stillbirth, it died before it even started. Pronouncing it dead when it never really was alive seems pointless.

  7. Why would the NFL but the UFL?

    So they can have four teams full of players who couldn’t make NFL rosters and a team in Sacramento?

  8. Why would the NFL buy the UFL?

    So they can have four teams full of players who couldn’t make NFL rosters and a team in Sacramento?

  9. Good!!! The UFL deserves it after Mark Cuban had to sue it for a $5 million unpaid loan!!!

    Michael Huyghue tried to go big time and it backfired!!! Again, never let lawyers run an actual business!!!!

    The only thing they’re good at is running pro football websites in West Virginian basements!!!

  10. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Why don’t the UFL and CFL merge, keep all the CFL rules, share profits and have a North vs South league? That’d be good for both leagues and give more revenue to each. And, the CFL and UFL would add more teams, maybe even become more competitive. With the amount of great talent coming out of college these days, the NFL misses a few sometimes. It could actually be fun to watch and would help both leagues. They’ll never compete with the NFL, nor should they ever try, but if it’s slightly different with the CFL size of field and the difference in rules, it doesn’t have to compete. Just an idea.

  11. Two thoughts:
    (1) I wonder if Huyghue has a handshake deal in place with Goodell, but all of it hinges on the end of the lockout. If Huyghue had a deal in the works with the NFL (whether it be for a loan, part-ownership, or complete takeover), Goodell obviously would be too busy right now to complete any such deal.
    (2) Huyghue might be on the brink of cancelling the UFL season, but it’s smart to wait until he’s absolutely sure the NFL will play. If for whatever reason, the NFL cancels it season, it would be a goldmine for the UFL. They would be the only game in town and could sign *former* NFL players.

  12. simon-
    They tried this already, it didn’t work too well. Baltimore still is the only city to win a Grey Cup and a Super Bowl.

  13. A lack of TV exposure killed this league. How can you build a following when half of your games are on a network no one has access to?

    Their only hope is being bought by the NFL or absorbed by the CFL. But the CFL already tried to expand into the states and it just didn’t take.

    Even the NFL couldn’t make the product work in Europe. I’m thinking NCAA football and the NFL are all the fans really want.

  14. You can’t have a Spring to Summer league and be true farm system for the NFL. What, you gonna have a player go through one season then camp and 16 more games in the Nfl? Or sit out a full year?

  15. Maybe the NFL could bail them out and create another developmental league, like NFLE was.

    A LOT of good players wouldn’t have gotten a chance if not for NFLE.

  16. darrkkomens I 100 million percent agree with you on the farm league and summer in the current stadiums.

    However, I think to start they should only have 16 teams rather then 32. you could run it similar to the D-league of the NBA at least to get things rolling in a positive manner. Less up front cost to creation and implementation. You have a team shared by an AFC and NFC team and you operate it almost like waivers.

    First choice each season goes to the team with the lower record and it goes back and forth from there through the minor league team.

    Eventually this could be expanded to every team having a UFL squad. At this point you now can have your practice squad guys, some rookies, and maybe your up and coming franchise QB getting reps under your offense and scheme.

    It is a win-win for everyone.

    Once this is in place hell, who is to say that the NFl doesn’t buy a controlling interest in the AFL. Lets not forgot some of the talent that has come out of Arena Football.

  17. Wasn’t the idea all along for the NFL to eventually take an interest in the UFL as a farm system for the NFL? I thought that was point of playing in the fall, so the NFL could call players up like they do in the MLB now.

  18. The NFL has long needed a “minor league” or development league, like the NFL Europe adventure. This is a premade league with a number of NFL alumni or NFL prospects inside and it would take little or nothing for several teams to invest in a single UFL team and use it as a feeder to their NFL teams. This will result in diminished injuries, as players come on to a team already in playing shape. It allows coaches to better evaluate talent that would typically be “on the street”. It provides fans with a lower cost alternative yet allowing them to see prospective NFL/UFL “stars”. To me this is a win – win situation and a no brainer. If the NFL used its resources to PR this league and get people into games, it could be a huge money maker besides all the reasons listed above because after all, if it doesn’t make money, no one will invest in it. The NFL has the resources to make it solvent and profitable.

  19. darrkkomens says:
    Jul 19, 2011 9:56 AM
    This could have and still can be a great farm minor league for the NFL, should be expanded for each team in the NFL to have a minor league team, with the same low pay.
    I agree, and you could even get by with 1 UFL (or maybe NFLD) team shared between two NFL franchises. Then do like they do in MLB – instead of IR, maybe a DL followed by a 1 or 2 game rehab assignment…expanded rosters (say by 5 to 7 players) in the fall to give promising D-league guys a look in the bigs…this thing could be huge…NFL football in small cities…regional fan followings…all sorts of possibilities.

  20. georgeanderson2: “They tried this already, it didn’t work too well. Baltimore still is the only city to win a Grey Cup and a Super Bowl.”

    I know they did, but last time the CFL was in major trouble financially. It actually made teams in the USA and nobody had ever heard of them. This time, at least they aren’t as strapped and possibly could strike a deal with the NFL for marketing, etc. NFL already has major control of the CFL’s marketing after the 1990 bail out that few remember. The NFL could help financially and the CFL and UFL could join as a farm league of sorts. And for every CFL fan, keep the rules and field, etc. It already basically is a farm league anyways for those that don’t make it to the NFL immediately or for those who aren’t NFL ready. This time, though, the cities with the UFL teams are already set up with teams so the cost would be much less to join.

  21. The UFL isn’t going to be a developmental league or anything else other than defunct. Who really believed that these owners were going to throw away 10 or so million dollars each just so some scrubs have a league to play in? The league died a year and a half ago and nobody noticed. The only chance they had was to play a summer schedule.

  22. Actually, the UFL should cut costs by having players play in T-Shirts and shorts instead of pads.

    Then the UFL could be the Underwear Football League.

  23. I dont get wannabe football owners. They keep trying to create these leagues and they keep failing. Why are rich football fans so dumb that they keep trying to create these leagues to challenge the NFL. You dont see every couple of years a bunch of riches guys trying to create rival basketball, baseball, or hockey leagues. They know it wont work so they dont even waste their money. What makes it even crazier is the NFL is the most popular out of the 4 major sports leagues. And thats the one they continually try to take on. Its nuts.

    The only way it remotely makes any sense is if they are trying to create a minor league for the NFL. But even that is crazy bc it hasnt worked and there are reasons for that. In hockey and baseball no matter how talented a player is they always need time in the minors to develop. That constant infusion of talent is what makes those leagues so successful. In Football you never know if a rookie is going to come into the league and be 1 of the best players instantly, a bust, or need time to develop. Teams want to win now so they are always going to want to have that rookie on the pro roster if it means theres a chance he can help them win.

    This is also true in basketball but it is also why the nba’s minor leagues arent nearly as successful as the nhl or mlb. The players that make it to the nba minors are basically throw away players not like the other leagues. Beyond that the size of their rosters and the less physical nature of the game makes it a more viable sport for a minor league then the nfl. The top picks usually make their limited rosters but after that most of the new talent wont make the pro teams. That leaves the teams with a lot of players to fill out the minor leagues. They also dont have to worry as much about these players get injured bc of the nature of the sport. Which makes the teams feel more at ease when sending their players there.

    Football doesnt operate like that. Their rosters are alot bigger and everyone from a 1st round pick to a UFA has a chance to make the team. That doesnt leave the NFL with alot of players left to send down to a minor league system. But even if they did have players to send down NFL teams would be wary of doing it bc of the chance of injury. They would only send down their most expendable players. Which in most cases would be their very worse players. That would leave the the talent leven lacking. Defeating the whole purpose of a minor leagues.

    Even if you overlooked all of that a lot changes would have to happen for it to be a viable opition for the NFL. For example the draft would most likely have to change. Right now the draft ends after 7 rounds then it becomes a free for all for the best remaining players. Unlike the draft there is no system to help the worst teams from the previous year get better by getting the best remaining players. It is basically a money and popularity contest. The best teams with the most money get the best players.

    There is 1 more thing that goes into a undrafted free agents decision when deciding what team to sign with and thats position depth and a chance to play. Alot of these UFA give up offers worth more money from the best teams bc they have a greater chance of making the roster of a lesser team bc of lack of depth at their position and just all around lack of talent. That fact is what keeps this process some what fair, but a minor league would mostly do away with that. Those guys wouldnt have to choose the lesser team over the greater team, or the cheaper contract over the richer contract, because their chances of getting cut are smaller with the non contender. Why? because now the have the opition of going to the minor leagues. The dont have to worry about not getting enough opportunties to impress the coaches bc of to much competition at their position. They will have more then enough chances in the minors to show their abilities.

    Taking that bargaining tool away from the worse franchises in the NFL would greatly reduce the chances of them ever climbing out of that hole. The NFL is obsessed with parity and the fact that every year each team suposedly has a chance to win it all. A minor league without rule changes to the way ufa’s are acquired would completely destroy parody in the NFL. The dozen or so teams in the biggest markets and the greatest success would get all the top ufa. Those guys wouldnt want to join the Browns, 49ers, or Lions of the league and wasting half their career on a team that isnt going to win. When they have the ability to join a team like the Patriots, Colts, or Eagles who have had continuous success over the last decade. Now I know there are reasons why those rookies were undrafted in the 1st place, bc they werent that great. But there are also a ton of great players in the nfl and through its history that went undrafted. Not to mention all the players that could have been great but got cut to soon in their rookie year before they had a chance to impress their coaches, who now will have a chance to do so bc of the minors.

    The NFL’s only chance to stop that from happening is to lengthen the draft. They would have to recreate the drafts of the past. Where the 7th round isnt even close to being the half way point. That is the only way to keep parody in the NFL. Otherwise the best players will pick the best teams 9 times out of 10. This is just the basics of what a minor league would mean for the draft. This doesnt even take into account the fact that NFL franchises would probably have to add more scouts and pay more money to everyone involved with draft for more then doubling their work load.

    The draft is just 1 example of how adding a minor league would cause there to be massive changes to the way the NFL does bussiness. There is so much that needs to be done to make it a viable opition. Im not saying adding a sister league would be a bad thing in fact I would love for it to happen. It would only improve the quality of the games played by the pro team.

    My only problem with it is the guys who are trying to make it happen. They should have realized well in advance of opening the league, that even if the nfl became interested in buying out league and turning it into an minor league that it would take them a significant amount of time to work it out. Not to mention that the NFL was on the cusp of the end of labor peace with its employees/players and that they would have a lot more pressing matters to attend to, like 9 billion dollars for instance, then buying up a competitor that was less a threat to the leagues well being then a mosquitoe bit is to an elephant. Obviously they thought non of that through. If they did they wouldn’t be having finacial problems in their 3rd year and already having to push back training camps and possibily games. They would have had money set aside knowing that it would take years before the NFL took real interest in the acquiring the league. Also they would have realized that if the NFL was interested that they would be watching the league and how it operates through tv, fans, attendance, merchandise, and finacial problems to see how these guys handle the situations and if they wanted to be in bussiness with these men. From my prespective they seem to have failed at each and every turn.

    Finally if the owners of the UFL would have thought it through and considered all the things the UFL and the NFL would need to do to make a minor league system work, they would have waited until after the collective bargaining agreement and the labor unrest was settled before ever opening their league. I dont know how the NFL could want to be in bussiness with a bunch of guys who didnt have the common sense or bussiness acumen to realize that their timing was horrendous.

  24. I don’t see why the NFL would finance a farm system when the the don’t have to give Penn State, Michigan, Miami etc etc. a nickel to train professional football players for them.

  25. Ah the old Tombstone pic of the gravestone of the Bisbee Massacre murderers.

    Do an internet search for Arizona Bisbee Massacre and it has the story of how and why these guys got ‘legally hanged’.

  26. Anyone who thinks that the UFL merging with the CFL would benefit both league’s know nothing about the CFL.

    The CFL is stronger than ever. The UFL wouldn’t help and the idea is simply stupid. Sorry but you obviously don’t know a thing about the business side of pro football. It wouldn’t work, and the CFL wouldn’t want it and neither would its fans.

    I want the UFL to succeed, I think with some smart expansion, playing in the spring and creating ties with the NFL would benefit the league greatly. Not merging with a far more successful league with a tradition in Canada with completely different rules and a huge fan-base.

    While we’re at it might as well have the Arena League merge to cause it has similar problems right?

    Shut up. It’s a bad idea.

  27. darkkomens, you took the words right out of my mouth. That would be kick ass if they did that. The MLB has MiLB and the NBA has the D-League for player development. The NFL should have their own farm system too instead of just cutting players and stashing people on the practice squad. Why not give the guys who aren’t NFL ready some actual field time and try to develop them before just cutting them if they can’t make the team in their first camp. It’s a great idea.

  28. and by the way…

    the CFL is not a minor league.

    Yes the talent is lower because a country with a population less than California alone can not afford player salaries of the NFL but it’s no minor league.

    The CFL is a completely independent league with its own rules and traditions.

    How many NFL teams are from before WWI? How many NFL teams are from the 1800’s? None.

    In fact the NFL and CFL were on equal footing until just the past few decades when pro athlete’s started getting paid more.

    Man, you American’s don’t know a thing about the CFL or how it’s run. And if you’re Canadian: stop talking out of your ass like a little kid, which you probably are.

  29. the CFL is looking for expansion franchises. The CFL has everything that the UFL is looking for; cooperation with the NFL and a National TV deal with TSN which shows all CFL games in english in Canada, all montreal alouette games in french with Sister statio RDS canadian french sports channel. The NFL Network also provides two game a week produced by TSN nationally in the US. ESPN3 also covers all CFL games by Webcast. The CFL plays in top professional stadiums. Winnipeg and Hamilton will have new stadiums over the next three seasons. Rogers centre in Toronto is already a top facility. BC Place in Vancouver has renevated an already top facility. Montreal molson stadium, commonwealth stadium in edmonton, Mcmohon in Calgary and saskatchewan’s Mosiac stadium will be the last to revovate with better seating and the additon of corporate and private suites.
    The UFL has none of this. What they do have are full operating football franchises from player personal under contracts, front office, coaching, and scouting, and full team equipment. The CFL is looking for one expansion team to join over the next five years with sites in the Atlantic region, moncton which already has a stadium adaptable and London City which also has a stadium adaptable to meet CFL pro stadium requirements. It would make sense if a UFL franchise were to apply to the CFL and the expansion process would be expediated as UFL teams do not have to start from nothing and have everything in place. several frnchises have already moved in their short existance. Would applying to the CFL seem to make sense as the teams would be ready to go almost immediately in two cities that are available and have been studied to possibily suppot a fan base. London City would be the most ready with TD Waterhouse stadium still very new and an area where football is extremely popular on the CIS college level so football fans exist.

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