Originally created 09/26/06

Indoor league stuck at 6 teams



Representatives of the upstart World Indoor Football League, which the Augusta Spartans joined in July, have said since the league's inception that they hope to have an eight- to 10-team membership in the first season.

The prospectus on the league's Web site states that eight to 10 teams will be fielded in Year One and adds that "as the league grows, more divisions will be brought on to form a national league consisting of many conferences."

But with a month left before the schedule is released, the membership remains at a half dozen.

"We're talking with two or three more, but we can play with six teams," Spartans owner Jimmy Young said Monday, a day after representatives from each of the WIFL's half-dozen teams met in downtown Augusta for the league's second owners meeting.

"We're still looking to have eight, possibly 10, but for whatever reason, they're still making the decision," he said. "I'd say there's about a 65 to 70 percent chance we'll have eight teams, but I don't think we'll have 10."

WIFL communications director Dan Ryan confirmed that the league would have no problems opening its first season in February with six teams.

"We'd like to have eight (teams), we'd like to have 10. But we can go with six," Ryan said.

Young and other league officials discussed expansion developments, business operation procedures and began preparing for the league's debut.

"Things are quietly progressing," commissioner Gary Tufford said in a release. "Admittedly, we're not generating a lot of news right now. We are, however, building and planning our strategies for the upcoming season and the future."

The lone accomplishment released from the "concise, daylong discussion" was the league's decision to adopt the UNO, a unique method of scoring one point by sending the kickoff through the uprights.

The Spartans left the American Indoor Football League to help start the WIFL in July after Young and several other former AIFL owners grew tired of how operations were handled last season.

AIFL president Andrew Haines said last month that the league was planning to sue the Spartans for breaking a contract, but calls to the league have not been returned and Haines' cell phone is no longer in service.

Young said the Spartans and Augusta-Richmond County Civic Center are in the "final stages" of negotiating a lease for the 2007 season.

Finance manager Milton Simmons said Monday that the Spartans are in good standing with the civic center. The team is expected to have the Coliseum Authority go over its proposed lease for the 2007 season at its meeting this morning.

Reach Steve Sanders at (706) 823-3216 or steven.l.sanders@augustachronicle.com.