Decision is familar for local franchises

John Sisson could empathize more than most people when he heard Monday afternoon that the Arena Football League, the highest level of indoor football, canceled its 2009 season.


Three months ago, the Augusta Colts owner and general manager made the same decision for his American Indoor Football Association team.

"I understand. It's just tough right now to make it," he said. "There's a lot of naysayers out there who say, 'The Lynx's problem was bad management, and the Colts' problem was bad management.' But we're all hurting."

The Arena Football League ended weeks of speculation when its owners voted against playing the 2009 season Sunday night.

In a statement released by the league, acting AFL commissioner Ed Policy said the "current unprecedented economic climate" was the basis for the decision, which still needs approval from the AFL Players Association to become official.

The move echoed similar comments from Colts and Lynx ownership over the past year. Neither team will play in 2009 because of financial problems.

"It's just a tough business time now," former Lynx co-owner Dan Troutman said at a Dec. 2 news conference to announce the minor league hockey team was folding. "People that have money are hanging on to it just as tight as they can not knowing where it's going."

The arenafootball2 league, which included the defunct Augusta Stallions from 2000-02, confirmed it will continue operations and play in 2009 as will the AIFA.

The AFL didn't directly address the possibility of the league returning in 2010.

"It is with (the fans) in mind that the AFL, its owners and its players remain committed to resuming play as soon as it is feasible," Policy said.

The Colts previously announced the team will return in 2010, and Sisson confirmed those intentions again last week.

"I'm still cautiously optimistic about it," he said. "We're looking at anywhere between $250,000 to $300,000 to put a team back on the field."

Reach Billy Byler at (706) 823-3216 or



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