All American Football League

All American Failure?

On August 6, 2006, I reported (with excitement) that there was a new football league sprouting up in college towns across the country called the All American Football League (AAFL). At that point in time, people were wondering which new league idea would win out, the AAFL or the UFL, much like the old school debate of Beta vs. VHS. The AAFL looked promising, with the expectation of high salaries in strong markets.

Then AAFL news took a hiatus for a while until major media outlets started picking up on its inaugural draft, which occurred earlier this year. Through my position as Public Relations Director of the Entertainment and Sports Law Society at UF Law, I was invited to attend Team Florida’s first official draft and subsequent after party, where many players were getting very loose on the dance floor. They were surely happy about their pending $50,000+ checks awaiting them at the start of the 2008 season.

But that happiness may need to be tabled for the time being. ESPN news services reports that the AAFL may be forced to wait until 2009 for games to begin. The first games of 2008 are supposed to start in April, but without a TV deal to broadcast AAFL games, the league’s backers, including CEO Marcus Katz, cannot afford to kickoff the inaugural season. Is the AAFL already shaping up to be a failure like its USFL and XFL predecessors? Are UFL backers pleased or worried by the news that the AAFL is having problems finding a TV entity to pick up its games?

By Darren Heitner

Darren Heitner created Sports Agent Blog as a New Year's Resolution on December 31, 2005. Originally titled, "I Want To Be A Sports Agent," the website was founded with the intention of causing Heitner to learn more about the profession that he wanted to join, meet reputable individuals in the space and force himself to stay on top of the latest news and trends.

Heitner now runs Heitner Legal, P.L.L.C., which is a law firm with many practice areas, including sports law and contract law. Heitner has represented numerous athletes and sports agents as legal counsel. He has also served as an Adjunct Professor at Indiana University Bloomington from 2011-2014, where he created and taught a course titled, Sport Agency Management, which included subjects ranging from NCAA regulations to athlete agent certification and the rules governing the profession. Heitner serves as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Florida Levin College of Law, where he teaches a Sports Law class that includes case law surrounding athlete agents and the NCAA rules.

2 replies on “All American Failure?”

Interesting comments about Team Florida’s draft-day party. I happened to be at Team Texas’ celebration the same day, and I can tell you that things were very professional — it was run at a nice hotel, the UH pep band played, there was good food and drink, there were lots of ‘dignitaries’ there (Cedric Dempsey, Craig James, etc.), and as in Florida, the players were getting plenty jiggy wit it.

Unfortunately, it looks like it’s already time to write the epitaph for the AAFL, for a lot of reasons. I go into great detail on why it all went away so quickly on my Web site. It’s a pay site (sorry, different business model) but right now we’re offering free trial subscriptions. Just contact me at [email protected]. I have a lot of contacts within the league and it’s rather easy to see where things went wrong.

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