CIF wins lawsuit, but indoor football community loses Feb 11, 2018 18:54:04 GMT -8
Post by DiamondThief on Feb 11, 2018 18:54:04 GMT -8
By now, anyone in indoor football circles knows that a Woodbury County, Iowa judge's recent decision prevented the Bloomington Edge and West Michigan Ironmen joining the IFL for the 2018 season.
Judge Patrick Tott agreed with the plaintiff, Champions Indoor Football, that the teams unlawfully joined the IFL in September after having already signed on to continue in the CIF back in July. Among the points in the judge's decision are a ban of both teams from competing in any indoor/arena football league in 2018. Presumably, the teams will be eligible to resume play in 2019 in any league they choose.
Certainly, the CIF was merely sticking up for itself after losing two of its teams from its 2017 lineup. It probably didn't help much that after the IFL's Sioux Falls Storm and Wichita Falls Nighthawks announced they would move to the IFL, the Storm reconsidered and returned to the IFL, while the Nighthawks folded.
So, the CIF won. But what did they win? That league will go on in 2018 with 11 teams, and will look to expand on that in the future. What appears will not happen is that the Edge nor Ironmen will ever return to their former league.
In its press release to announce the revised six-team schedule, the IFL stated: “The IFL looks forward to welcoming both teams back to the league for the 2019 season.“ The league clearly anticipates a 2019 slate of teams, including the Edge and the Ironmen.
The IFL, down to six teams, will absorb its black eye and proceed through 2018 and set itself up for 2019. The CIF will do the same.
However, given the CIF's drastic actions, it seems more than possible that any number of its current teams would think twice for re-upping for 2019 and, perhaps, look to make the move to another league; possibly the IFL. By most standards, the CIF is a step below the IFL, so any such move would likely be considered a move up. We can only see what may happen.
What this action has done, has displayed the pettiness which can be the ugliest part of sport, and potentially make the sport of indoor/arena football lose a chunk of the appeal which makes it unique.
We have already seen the sport as a whole take a hit with the catastrophic mismanagement by Scott Butera with the Arena Football League. The AFL, which featured success in the 1990s and early 2000s with a national television contract, is down to a regional league of four teams with three owners. The Philadelphia Soul is the only AFL team which will enter 2018 with more than a year under its belt.
We do not know exactly what the contents of the agreements between the CIF, and the Edge and the Ironmen. However, it's likely a settlement could have been reached to let those teams compete, albeit with some sort of financial penalty. It appears the CIF was dead set against any scenario allowing the teams to compete in any league this upcoming season. The CIF, effectively, landed a punch. A year from now, that punch very much could be irrelevant as the Edge and Ironmen would be back in business in the IFL.
Did the CIF win? In a sense and in the short term, perhaps. Did the sport of indoor/arena football win? Extremely unlikely, in any sense.
Only time will tell.
Angi Says is a periodic blog written by the vice president of forum operations of Sports Coast to Coast. It generally features topics from the sports which are covered on the forum.
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