Last evening I rolled out my first story regarding the UIFL league leading Florida Tarpons. In response to that column, I have spoken with several individuals associated with teams in the UIFL. I have been offered game tape as well as still images regarding the quality of play the Florida Tarpons are putting on the field and it’s disturbing.
On May 14th, the UIFL suspended two teams from the league, the Johnston Generals and the Western PA Sting. Two teams taken out of the league in mid-season. The Sting were replaced quickly with an outdoor football semi-pro team, the Fort Lauderdale Phantoms, according to the official press release from the UIFL. That is great news for the players which are simply trying to get to the next level or playing the game simply for the love of the sport. However, there are some issues.
When you head over to the Fort Lauderdale Phantoms Facebook page, there is a team photo of players adorned in Rampage jerseys, prepared to play the Florida Tarpons, a game which the Phantoms/Rampage lost 69-2. I have spoken with two players which have told me that they were called just hours before kickoff for Tarpons games in order to staff the opposing teams roster.
So, the Florida Tarpons are sitting with a perfect 10-0 record. The owner of the league owns the Tarpons franchise. I am hearing rumors, but have yet to confirm, that Mr. Haines also owns the Mississippi Hound Dogs franchise in the UIFL league.
When questioned about blowout victories and suspect wins by the Tarpons, I was told that the Tarpons were playing against travel teams by Mr. Haines, the owner of the UIFL league. Travel teams? You can visit the official site of the UIFL here, there seems to be no mention of travel teams. And if, in the UIFL there are travel teams, which players have filled in for the Tarpons when they travel north to cities such as Cincinnati, Erie or Marion? Or do they even travel to those cities?
There are hundreds of questions surrounding the UIFL and the Florida Tarpons. We are just beginning our coverage. Mr. Haines, the owner of the UIFL and the Florida Tarpons, has been given multiple resources to contact me to refute or defend the actions of the Florida Tarpons. I’ve received no response. Stay tuned, this will get interesting.
Filed under: Arena/Adult Amateur Football