Alliance of American Football majority owner Tom Dundon said Wednesday the league is in danger of shutting down if the NFL Players Association does not provide it with young players.
"If the players union is not going to give us young players, we can't be a development league," he said, per Kevin Allen and Mike Jones of USA Today. "We are looking at our options, one of which is discontinuing the league."
Dundon said he would decide the league's future in the next two days.
His comments garnered mixed reaction:
While the NFLPA didn't officially respond to Dundon's claims, an anonymous NFLPA official said the union was concerned with the potential risks involved in allowing the players to participate in the AAF.
Allen and Jones wrote:
"The person said the players' union is founded on the belief that using active NFL players and practice squad members for the AAF would violate the terms of the CBA and the restrictions that prevent teams from holding mandatory workouts and practices throughout the offseason. The limitations set in place are designed to ensure the safety and adequate rest and recovery time for football players. But there's a concern that teams would abuse their power and perhaps force young players into AAF action as a condition for consideration for NFL roster spots in the fall."
The AAF has met a mostly positive reception in its opening season, especially given the access the league offers fans during its broadcasts. Cameras go into locker rooms, and the league features more in-game interviews and mic'd participants.
It also capitalizes on the lack of competitors in the market for football leagues below the NFL level, though with the XFL set to return in 2020, that window could be closing.