No games for Colts in 2009

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Augusta will be without indoor football next spring for the first time since 2005. Augusta Colts majority owner and team president John Sisson confirmed Tuesday that the Colts won't field a team for the 2009 season.

"We're not folding. We're not going bankrupt. We're just not going to play in 2009, but we will be back in 2010," Sisson said.

The organization, which is nearing the completion of its first year of operation under Sisson, went 7-7 and just missed a playoff spot in the competitive American Indoor Football Association this spring.

The Colts have encountered a number of obstacles this off-season, including the firing of longtime Augusta indoor football coach Bubba Diggs and the addition of two new minority owners. Tony Zefiretto, vice president of business affairs, and Andrew Wright, vice president of operations, joined the front office this summer and will remain with the team through its dormancy.

The Colts hadn't secured a lease to play in James Brown Arena for the 2009 season, and that became a growing issue as the AIFA league owners meetings approached, Sisson said. The league meetings were held last weekend in Baltimore and Sisson said he made the decision to skip the 2009 season just before the meetings began.

"We were constantly working from behind," Sisson said. "Now we're going to go back and start planning for the next 18 months. We should emerge stronger in 2010."

Sisson said the Colts players, who become free agents today, according to league rules, were informed of the decision over the weekend so they could begin the search to play for another team.

Reach Billy Byler at (706) 823-3216 or billy.byler@augustachronicle.com.

ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST?


Should the Colts fold, that makes three Augusta indoor football teams to have come and gone.

AUGUSTA STALLIONS, 2000-02: Augusta's original indoor football squad, an arenafootball2 team, went 35-13 during its three-year run. The city's most successful team drew an average of 4,327 fans per game in its final season, but owner Frank Lawrence folded the team in August 2002 blaming lack of advertising space and shoddy service at James Brown Arena.

AUGUSTA SPARTANS, 2006-07: After three seasons without indoor football, the Spartans filled the void when the American Indoor Football League created a team in late 2005. Local business owner Jimmy Young purchased the team in February 2006 and named Stallions assistant coach Bubba Diggs the head coach. The Spartans left the AIFL the following year and created a four-team league called the World Indoor Football League. The team won the championship before folding under what was revealed to be more than $300,000 of debt.[CAPTION]

AUGUSTA COLTS, 2008: Local business owner John Sisson assumed the Spartans' debt and created the Colts for the 2008 season. The team joined the American Indoor Football Association and went 7-7 under Diggs, who was later let go after a contract dispute.


THE COLTS OFFICIAL STATEMENT FOR THE 2009 SEASON


The Augusta Colts would like to announce that an agreement has been reached between the American Indoor Football Association (AIFA), the Global Spectrum management team, and the Augusta Colts Pro Indoor Football Club which will allow the Colts to sit out the 2009 indoor football season; with a return to the James Brown Arena in 2010.

Terms of this agreement include:


1) While the Augusta Colts will not play football in 2009, the Colts are not folding. Quite the contrary, the Colts remain in good standing with the AIFA; having paid (in advance) their AIFA membership dues for the entire 2009 season.

2) Global Spectrum has affirmed their intent to continue to negotiate a 2010 arena lease with the Colts; a process scheduled to resume tomorrow, (Sept. 24, 2008). Indeed, there is great expectation within our respective organizations about the prospect of working together to help re-create the excitement of pro indoor football in the CSRA.

3) During this "off season" Colts' fans can expect to see an increase in our community presence (to create an awareness & support for the home team). We will also use this time to "tweak" our business plan (to better meet the challenges of a weak economy); to retire any lingering debt; and to continue our search for a new head coach & dance team coordinator. Fans can follow our progress over the next 18 months via weekly updates on the Colts' official website, www.augustacolts.com.



In conclusion, while saddened by the prospect of sitting out the 2009 indoor season, the Augusta Colts realize that we have been presented with a tremendous opportunity; one which will allow us to evaluate the lessons learned during our inaugural (2008) season and thus move the franchise forward with greater success & stability in the future.

John Sisson


President & General Manager


Augusta Colts Professional Indoor


Football Club (AIFA)


P.O. Box 9


Augusta, GA 30903

augustacolts@bellsouth.net


www.augustacolts.com

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PTHS2
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PTHS2 09/24/08 - 04:21 am
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Wonderful, just wonderful.

Wonderful, just wonderful. Congrats once again to the ARC-CA. No Groove and no Colts playing in the arena. I suppose I should be selfish and happy that the ice might stay in better shape for the Lynx to keep paying the bills. What's next, mess around with the contracts for The Futurity and the NBHA? But I suppose what's really important is that Mr Fennoy has his legal bills taken care of ..... pathetic. Maybe we should get the "Dirt clod fighting" league in here. They might not be able to mess that up!

kai@reasontostand.org
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kai@reasontostand.org 09/24/08 - 09:01 am
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The Colts, under John Sission

The Colts, under John Sission DID go bankrupt, the only reason they aren't going down in even bigger flames than the Spartans is because the League itself bought the struggling club.

LCL76
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LCL76 09/24/08 - 09:54 am
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Ok, Ms Johana and others what

Ok, Ms Johana and others what do you think now? You can see that Mr. Sisson is UP TO NO GOOD because if it way as simple as they had fired Coach Diggs, why did that not come out months ago. Mr. Sission can not be trusted he is not a man of his word. I wonder if he and his wonderful front office managers exercised their "respectful business side" and met with our championship team first before this sad news hit the paper.....I guess not! I do believe that as long as you have God on your side you will be just fine. So, Coach Diggs hold your head up because we know that Mr. Sisson did not fire you, this quote that he made is just another one of his undercover nasty work. I just hate that you love the game so much until you took the man for his word when he took over the team. But, remember the word "KARMA" MR. SISSION!

nadps53jrt
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nadps53jrt 09/24/08 - 10:29 am
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I will truly miss the arena

I will truly miss the arena football.
It was a pleasure this past year of being able to get to work with the Colts and be able to be close to the action.
I sure hope and pray that arena football will return to Augusta. My wife and I love it.
We did miss the kids playing this year and hope that they will return to arena football.

fan4life
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fan4life 09/24/08 - 10:49 am
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nadps53jrt You and your wife

nadps53jrt You and your wife have John Sisson to thank for that! He is worthless!! I hope he gets everything he deserves!! He just misled Augusta and the Community and the Players and to say the least Coach Diggs. Who does this guy think he is? He continues to lie, lie , lie all the time. What about all the mis-truths that he told? Come on folks, this man did not know what he was doing. He had a mascot gig and he needed to be in the outfits most of the time because that is his element acting like a child. This is a grown man game and responsibilities that he could not handle! It is sad for Augusta, Jimmy Young was much better than this guy! I guess he is also trying to make it seem like the Arena would not deal with him, well thats a lie also, John Sisson never intended to play because he has fallen out with his new partners. Folks are talking around town about your business, which is no business! Face it Sisson you are a total disgrace to Indoor Football. Keep on calling the players, they are all talking about what a mess you have made of the Indoor Football situation in the AUG.

tsnewman
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tsnewman 09/24/08 - 11:39 am
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ugh ugh ugh.... This man is

ugh ugh ugh.... This man is STILL telling lies...he has crash landed and still trying to save face by writing up lies... trust me, there will be NO COLTS in 2010...he is trying to save face and now everyone knows he is the real reason why this happened. No one can work with him; not coaches, players, cheerleaders, co-owners, office staff nor fans...he needs to simply leave it alone. He had very capable staff, coaches, players and cheerleaders...and he blew his relationship with each and everyone of them...Why??? EGO and short man syndrome..he is a control freak with no desire to listen to sound judgement and ideas..only his own pea brain ideas....which all FAILED!!! This is a man who was fired from the Greenjackets, Foxhounds, and the Lynx....there is a reason no one can work with him! Again,there will be no football under this man, not ever again. So, if there are any REAL owners out there...get your money together and put a team on the field in 09... you will have the support of people who know what to do. Come On Augusta...can't the arena or city sponsor a team, or the Greenjackets or Lynx...SOMEBODY!!! Sisson is old news..let's not even mention him or his mascot dreams!

tsnewman
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tsnewman 09/24/08 - 12:23 pm
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And no one can blame the

And no one can blame the arena...this is all Sisson's poor management and planning... all that big talk a few weeks ago about four finalists for head coach...haha I guess they all got wind he doesnt pay his employees. And businesses have heard about his lack of integrity...so , please dont blame this on the arena...messing with Diggs proved to be his final mistake... Good people tend to come out on top and Diggs was telling the truth...Sisson is dirt poor with no hope for recovery... he needs to sit and write several apology letters and checks to those he owes both to. Has anyone heard from the groundskeeper owner or the other one...seems to me they would have commented more...did they get their money back or were they too swindled???

sickemdawgs4509
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sickemdawgs4509 09/24/08 - 06:00 pm
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Make some noise....no colts

Make some noise....no colts in 2009! While this is not neccessarily suprising, i am just worried about 1 thing....LOSING Marvin Stone! I wouldn't be suprised if he signed a contract with...those damn Florida Stingrays in Ft. Meyers. Bring back the colts so we can keep the franchise.. MARVIN STONE!

TellTheTruthAlready
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TellTheTruthAlready 10/01/08 - 09:55 am
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OK, I just went to the Colts

OK, I just went to the Colts website. How can Sisson afford to pay the dues for next season but he's too broke to pay his coach???

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