American Indoor Football League Ceases Operations
July 18, 2016 - American Indoor Football (AIF) News Release
Baltimore, MD: In an announcement made today by Commissioner and Owner John Morris, the American Indoor Football League made it known that the league will cease operations effective immediately. This decision was not made out of necessity, but instead it is a passing of the torch after ten successful years of promoting the sport of indoor football to thousands of fans throughout the nation.
"My main objective in this sport is, and has always been to give young men the opportunity to play in a league that showcases their talents in an attempt to advance their careers in football," stated Morris. "We didn't have to stop the AIF, but the timing is right as I feel confident that the new Arena Developmental League (ADL) formed by former league members will carry on the same mission I set out to accomplish over ten years ago. I know they will take care of member teams, and be that stepping stone in this great sport. I am proud of the many players and coaches that we have been able to promote over this past decade and I will forever cherish the relationships I have made with the many member teams."
John Morris' entry into professional football came on July 4, 2005 when he helped form an outdoor minor league developmental team, the Gulf Coast Raiders of the Southern States Football League. The teams' main focus was to help young men get a second chance in the game of football. The Gulf Coast Raiders went on to have a very successful first season winning the Southern Division of the SSFL with a 9-1 record. On April 28, 2006 the Gulf Coast Raiders played as a replacement team in a game against Osceola of the National Indoor Football League, as the Montgomery Maulers. This was Johns first experience in indoor football. That May John and a partner purchased the Montgomery Maulers of the NIFL during the 2006 season and immediately resolved all past issues and turned the season around. At the completion of the 2006 season in the NIFL Morris and his partner decided that the NIFL was not the long range direction they wanted to go in and they later formed the AIFA in October 2006. The American Indoor Football Association was formed from the culmination of teams from other existing indoor leagues and new expansion markets. The AIFA was formed for the purpose of giving players a platform to excel and work to continuing their football careers at a higher level.
Since then the AIFA/AIF has promoted over 100 athletes and coaches to higher levels of professional football. One such person is former AIF Champion Head Coach of the Reading Express in 2009 and Harrisburg Stampede in 2013 (Only Coach to Win two league titles with two different teams) Bernie Nowotarski who is now an assistant with the Philadelphia Soul of the AFL.
"I've known John for the better part of twelve years, not only on the business side of things, but as a friend as well," said Nowotarski. "Those years we played in the AIF there was always great competition, where you had to come prepared to play each and every game. I will forever have fond memories of my time in the AIF, and thank John for his friendship."
Other former members of the AIF expressed their gratitude towards the league and John Morris as well.
"I wish to convey my sincerest gratitude to John Morris and the American Indoor Football League," stated Lehigh Valley Steelhawks General manager Mike Clark. "John doesn't often get the credit for what he does behind the scenes, but few others have put in the time and effort he has over the years. They welcomed us in this past year, which saw us grow not only on the field but off of it as well. We truly appreciate all the support he has shown us."
Long-time Head of AIF Officiating Joe Clarkson had this to say. "I have worked for John in the AIF for over ten years. John has done a great job providing a league for players after their college days were finished. He loved seeing the athletes continue playing football. The AIF helped get numerous players promoted to the next level. John is one of the most passionate people I know in the football community and was an outstanding supporter of his officials. He was a man of his word and if he said he would make something happen, you could count on it being done. The indoor game will miss John and the AIF and I am very proud to have worked with him for ten years and most of all, call him my friend."
Stated Defending AIF Champion Columbus Lions Owner Skip Seda, "We here with the Columbus Lions truly appreciate John and the AIF for allowing us to be part of the league and helping cultivate a winning culture here in Georgia. We wish John nothing but the best in all his future endeavours, and commend him for all he has given back to the sport of Indoor Football."
The AIF will go down as one of the longest consecutively ran leagues in indoor football history (Second longest in total years next to the AFL). Stated Commissioner John Morris, "I am excited for the next chapter in my life, where I can spend more time with my children who I love so much. The timing is right to pass the torch."
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