It's official: No Cagerz this year

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It's official: No Cagerz this year

Post by Aaronhere » Tue Mar 25, 2008 3:45 pm

Interesting article in today's Salina newspaper:
http://www.saljournal.com/rdnews/Story/cagerz032508

It's official: No Cagerz this year
By Bob Davidson - Salina Journal

The Kansas Cagerz nine-year run in Salina is on hold, at least for a year. Whether their hiatus ultimately becomes their demise remains to be seen. One thing does appear certain, however -- the Cagerz will be under new ownership if and when they do return.

"The Kansas Cagerz will not return to Salina, Kansas, this season," owner Gordon Kasparson said on Monday. "The (United States Basketball League) has folded and that puts us out of a place to play."

Kasparson also said he's no longer interested in owning the franchise and would entertain offers from interested parties.

"Gordon Kasparson will not be involved, period. That's a statement of fact," he said. "I've lost interest. I don't want to put up with this again."

Asked if he believes the Cagerz will return at some point, Kasparson was resolute.

"They'd have to buy the Cagerz first," he said.

Kasparson said he's not sure what he might get from the sale.

"I don't know that there's anything to sell. Equipment and so forth. The franchise is not worth anything," he said.

Kasparson expressed frustration with the USBL during his two seasons as owner. Several franchises folded just before and during the seasons, along with numerous other problems.

Finding, scheduling and paying officials was a continuous problem -- one Kasparson pointed to Monday.

The Cagerz were forced to postpone a game against Dodge City at the Bicentennial Center last season when the league failed to assign officials -- a fact no one realized until tip-off.

"How embarrassing was that to Carroll Long (president/general manager) to have to go out in front a thousand people and say 'Sorry, we don't have any referees?'" Kasparson said. "Are you kidding me? Carroll Long was not responsible for the referees."

Long was unavailable for comment Monday.

Kasparson also expressed frustration is the lack of fan support. The Cagerz routinely led the USBL in attendance but it wasn't enough to make them profitable, and there were questions each offseason whether they would return for another year.

"Everybody's interested in the Cagerz," Kasparson said. "Everywhere I go everybody wants to talk about them. But how many actually attended a ball game?"

Kasparson said he and Long had discussions with two other minor league basketball organizations during the offseason but decided against joining either league.

There also were discussions concerning the Cagerz, Dodge City Legend and Oklahoma Storm forming a new league comprised of teams from the Midwest. Kasparson said those discussions also failed.

"We talked about having our own little league. There was Salina, Dodge City, Oklahoma and one other team with the money coming out of St. Joe (Missouri). Nebraska never really committed. We also talked about a team in Wichita but they couldn't come up with the money," he said.

The Cagerz won their first USBL championship last summer during the postseason tournament in Enid, Okla., under the guidance of coach Francis Flax

But Flax, who cobbled together the group that bought the franchise from James Williamson seven years ago and stayed on as coach after Kasparson became owner, retired at the end of last season.

"Coaching was not a problem," Kasparson said. "We've got several people who wanted to go coach. We've got players who wanted to play for us. Everybody (on last year's team) wanted to come back. The problem was a (league) to play in."

Flax, who is athletic director and basketball coach at Brown Mackie College, was dismayed by the news.

"I'm sad to see the Cagerz go and I am surprised at the same time," he said. "It surprises me the Cagerz aren't coming back and (Kasparson) is done."

Flax said he expects the USBL to return.

"I just think minor league basketball in such demand that it will be back," he said. "Talent-wise the USBL was up there with any of the non-NBA leagues."

Flax agreed with Kasparson the USBL will have to change the way it does business if it hopes to be successful if and when it returns.

"It will have to be under reorganization, which is the reason they put it on hold anyway," he said. "They have to be stable where ever they decide to have a team. They have to have stable ownership."

"That's what they've lacked the last three or four years. You never knew until the last minute who was in and who was not."


Observations:
* Kasparson says the USBL will come back, even though, by all accounts, the league has folded. The stock currently sits at 55 cents a share, and the recent financials are ugly. Does anyone expects to see the USBL return?
* The team looked at two other existing leagues...ABA and CBA? Could Salina have paired with Oklahoma and Rio Grande Valley to make a nice southcentral bracket of teams?
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Post by Ken, Steelheads fan » Tue Mar 25, 2008 6:50 pm

"Aaronhere" wrote:Interesting article in today's Salina newspaper:
http://www.saljournal.com/rdnews/Story/cagerz032508



Observations:
* Kasparson says the USBL will come back, even though, by all accounts, the league has folded. The stock currently sits at 55 cents a share, and the recent financials are ugly. Does anyone expects to see the USBL return?
* The team looked at two other existing leagues...ABA and CBA? Could Salina have paired with Oklahoma and Rio Grande Valley to make a nice southcentral bracket of teams?


No, it is my understanding that the Cagerz looked at other inexpensive spring leagues. I'm not quite sure why people think the Rio Grand Valley team is close to anything. It's rather isolated. The CBA is a gosh-awfully expensive league (when teams actually their pay bills and buy uniforms 8) ) and I don't think the Cagerz are looking for that.

"The Kansas Cagerz will not return to Salina, Kansas, this season," owner Gordon Kasparson said on Monday. "The (United States Basketball League) has folded and that puts us out of a place to play."


Why did he even mention the USBL? Sounds like the Cagerz weren't going to return regardless.

The Cagerz were forced to postpone a game against Dodge City at the Bicentennial Center last season when the league failed to assign officials -- a fact no one realized until tip-off.

"How embarrassing was that to Carroll Long (president/general manager) to have to go out in front a thousand people and say 'Sorry, we don't have any referees?'" Kasparson said. "Are you kidding me? Carroll Long was not responsible for the referees."


This one act convinced me that this team was not going to return this year. If I live to be One hundred-seventy years old, I'll never understand why this game was cancelled and fans were sent home. There had to be at least TWO people in the house who could fill-in as refs. A big red flag flew that day. It showed me that this organization lacked the desire to continue as an organization.

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Just a historical note...

Post by panchess » Wed Mar 26, 2008 1:08 pm

..on the USBL is why it is in the story. They were in that league, so the obvious reason they aren't playing is because the league is not playing this season. Most readers of the paper don't keep up on the day-to-day nonsense in the league, and might not be aware the USBL is on hiatus.

I agree with Ken on the refs. How much before game time are the refs supposed to report? I assume a couple hours anyway.

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Post by TEN » Thu Apr 03, 2008 3:30 pm

Dodge, Kansas and Oklahoma have been in discussions to find a place to play. They wanted to put something together for 2008, but I was against that because it would kill the product to throw something together with four teams and play a schedule this spring. 2009 is a possibility...but reading the story in the Salina Journal and knowing that Carroll doesn't seem as excited about the future as he used to be tells me that next year is a longshot and the Storm, Legend and Cagerz are history.

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Post by HAC » Thu Apr 03, 2008 5:35 pm

It's a shame that Gordon Kasparson was the only person who would talk about the Cagerz future.

Nice guy, just kind of daffy. He supposedly had an offer to sell the team, but said no because it was too low. But in this story he admits there's nothing to sell.

I'd like to have heard from Long and some others, but they apprently had no time or desire to comment.

I do think they owed it to the fans, though, to discuss the situation.

The game where the refs no-showed had no bearing on the Cagerz not returning. The USBL folded and there was no feasible place for the team to go.

If the USBL had stayed, the Cagerz would have returned. Everybody would have wanted to see some changes, but it would have been much easier to work with an existing framework than to start from scratch.

I'm not sure how much actual looking was done in finding/starting a new league. A phone call or email here or there, IMO, does not count.

Cagerz had a nice run, I enjoyed them immensely.

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