Apollos season cut short as AAF shuts down

Published: Apr. 2, 2019 at 4:00 PM EDT
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The Alliance of American Football is suspending operations eight games into its first season.

A person with knowledge of the decision tells The Associated Press the eight-team spring football league is not folding, but games will not be played this weekend. The decision was made by majority owner Tom Dundon, who also owns the NHL's Carolina Hurricanes.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because league officials were still working through details of the suspension.

The loss hits particularly hard in Orlando, where the Apollos are led by former University of Florida head coach Steve Spurrier, and were off to a league-best 7-1 record. Apollos quarterback Garrett Gilbert is the AAF leader in passing yards, with 2,152.

The AAF was in enough dire straits financially that, according to the Orlando Sentinel, the Apollos moved practices three hours away to Kingsland, Georgia, due to the state of Florida's exclusion of professional athletes from receiving workers' compensation insurance coverage.

Spurrier told reporters following practice on Tuesday that it was "sad to end this way."

"We're all disappointed, but on the other side, we got to be the champs, right," Spurrier told reporters. "We're 7-1 and the next teams are 5-3. Some of us didn't get into the Alliance to advance our careers, but the players ... I'm more disappointed for all the players that believe, 'This is my chance to show people this, that and the other that I can play this game.'

Spurrier re-entered the coaching ranks with the Apollos after a Hall of Fame college football coaching career. Among Spurrier's 228 college coaching wins, 122 of them came at Florida.

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