The Alliance of American Football will indeed play its Week 8 schedule this upcoming weekend but nothing beyond that is guaranteed, according to a report from ProFootballTalk.
AAF majority owner Tom Dundon made waves on Wednesday when he told USA Today he was considering folding the first-year league if the AAF did not reach a formalized agreement with the NFL and the NFLPA -- and fast.
“If the players union is not going to give us young players, we can’t be a development league,” said Dundon. “We are looking at our options, one of which is discontinuing the league.”
Dundon committed up to $250 million to the league (reports indicate he's plunged $70 million this far) just five weeks ago.
According to PFT, the AAF and NFL/NFLPA appeared far along in negotiations:
Modification of the labor deal is needed in large part because players who are loaned by NFL teams to the AAF would need protection against serious injury suffered while playing in the developmental league. As the source explained it, those players would receive the same payment that a practice squad player receives if he suffers a season-ending injury. Players also would receive extra compensation from the AAF for games played there, but not necessarily the full salary that gets paid to AAF players with no NFL connection.
An agreement, if one were to be reached, also would allow players under “futures” contracts to play in the XFL, given the obvious antitrust ramifications that flow from allowing NFL players to play only in the AAF and not in what will be its top competitor.
It's not immediately clear what Dundon's angle was for making the comments he did Wednesday -- assuming there was one. The AAF needs the NFL far more than the NFL needs it, and if he was playing 3D chess and attempting to box the XFL out of a formalized player-sharing agreement with the NFL, well, eliminating the AAF accomplishes the exact opposite of that.
Occam's Razor says the simplest explanation is most often the right one. In that case, perhaps Dundon really is serious about pulling his investment from the AAF, thus sending the league scrambling to survive.
According to Dundon's self-imposed timeline, we should find out by tomorrow.
As always, stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest.