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Volume 25 No. 214
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AAF Showing Signs Of Growth, Despite Some Lingering Questions

AAF players had their first paychecks slightly delayed after the league changed payroll companies
Photo: GETTY IMAGES

The AAF is "rising to prominence" and "picking up steam," as evidenced by CBS and TNT adding games to their programming, according to Ryan Smith of ESPN. However, some observers "question whether there are signs of dents in the armor," as the league faces questions about the investment by Hurricanes Owner Tom Dundon being a "survival payment." AAF co-Founder & CEO Charlie Ebersol said, "The challenge of running this league has always been that we ran it as a start-up. Unlike everyone who's ever attempted to do this before, we took the approach that we weren't going to have the infrastructure that everyone else had. ... We did everything from scratch. Unequivocally, mistakes were made." Ebersol: "We switched payroll companies during the first week of the season, so there was an administrative issue, and part of that was because we provide a much larger amount of insurance for our players than any league that's ever done this before. ... We dramatically underestimated how complex that switch would be and when we did it." Ebersol addressed Dundon's commitment, saying he has "never been in a situation" where someone invested up to $250M in the "first 12 months of an organization." Ebersol: "It is easily the most life-changing investment a company like this could get, particularly at this stage" ("OTL," ESPN, 3/18).