Despite what their record may suggest, the Connecticut Constitution will not play the Philadelphia Spinners in the Eastern Division Championship on August 4th.
And in the eyes of Constitution GM and Coach John Korber, the more that people are talking about the steps that led to this difficult situation, the better.
For the last year, since the league began operation, the league and team owners’ agendas have been on opposite ends of the spectrum.
“The league has continued to go about its business in the same manner for the past year, and that business has been trying to sell new franchises, and only minimally focusing on the values and behaviors of the existing franchises,” Korber said.
Unlike the league, the team owners are focused on making professional thrive, which Korber defines as having between two to five thousand fans attend each game.
Korber has spoken of this difference in opinions between the league and its teams since before the season, but until the legal trouble, the league had been able to keep such an opinion in the minority.
After league owner Josh Moore sued the Connecticut Constitution and the Rhode Island Rampage, “those two agendas, which are rarely in alignment, intersected in a public (and valuable) way,” Korber commented.
Since the lawsuit, more attention has been paid to the league’s aims and the organizational decisions that lead to fines being levied against the Constitution for missing games, despite the number of similar situations earlier in the season that did not result in the same disciplinary action.
Besides the fines, Korber said that the league attempted to keep the news of the compensation that the Spinners received for the breach in the Territory Licensing Agreement.
In Korber’s mind, “the issuing of fines and forfeits has primarily been to try and bully the Constitution’s ownership to leave the AUDL entirely.”
Rather than supporting the owners of one of its most successful franchises thus far, the league continually has established that Connecticut will either stop questioning the league’s questionable decisions, or not return for its second season.
However, as Connecticut has no intention of paying the fines, and is more than willing to speak about its difficulties with the league, this plan has backfired for the league.
Such an issue was bound to arise due to the very structure of the league.
“The only incentives the league has are in the growth of the number of teams in the league,” Korber explained.
“This model is doomed from the start, but is a great place to start, provided that the parties involved are willing to evolve. The current league management (unlike the owners) hasn’t proven an ability to do so.”
Currently, with the league engaged in a legal battle with two of its eight teams, the light at the end of the title doesn’t seem to be in sight.
Whether the Constitution are forced out of the league or not, Korber believes that, despite the current climate, the fix is quite simple.
“The league office, including the commissioner and any additional staff, should be employees of the league,” Korber said. “The league should be owned by the collection of owners of which it consists, like every other successful professional sports league.”
As obscure a road it may seem to take to arrive at a solution, the Constitution’s legal entanglement may be what will lead to changes to the currently chaotic AUDL.