Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
The Connecticut Constitution of the American Ultimate Disc League has suspended operations indefinitely due to a legal and financial battle with the league over whether the AUDL is contractually permitted to expand into New York and Boston.
Here is the team’s statement, and an email from league president Josh Moore sent to league members follow:
July 5, 2012
Dear Connecticut Constitution family,
It is with great sadness that we are forced to announce the indefinite suspension of all team operations as of 2:00pm EST this afternoon. This decision comes at an inopportune time as we journey through the inaugural season. This has been a journey dotted with success after success for our team and our franchise. The Connecticut team is one of the premiere franchises in the league both in victories and in fan attendance. The AUDL has sued the Constitution and the Rhode island Rampage and that suit has caused us to spend an enormous amount of money protecting our rights, instead of allowing us to use those funds for our operations.
During May 2012, we became aware of the sale of both the New York City and Boston territories, and together with the Rhode Island owner, we challenged the League to answer why we were not approached about these sales prior to the League selling these territories inasmuch as both of these new teams existed within our owned territories. The territory ownership area is governed by a Territory License Agreement (TLA) that was created, signed and approved by the League. This territory agreement allows us to own an area that includes a 100 mile radius. New York City and Boston are within our territories.
We sought answers to our concerns numerous times and felt that the TLA was clear and that no other team could exist in our area. After numerous attempts to get clarification from the League, we suggested that this might need to be addressed by attorneys. Unfortunately, the League decided that instead of taking this to a discussion, they elected to file a suit against us. This lawsuit was filed from Michigan, and includes a number of allegations within their suit. They allege that the contract they wrote doesn’t mean what it says, among other items.
We have been forced to retain attorneys in both Connecticut and Michigan to answer their allegations, protect our territory and to seek additional clarification over these claims. The costs to defend this lawsuit have robbed us of necessary operating funds needed to complete our season and caused us to rethink the value of the partnership we sought to create with this League.
The League, almost as quickly as it filed the suit, has stated that it will consider withdrawing the suit and rescind the New York City territory although in almost the same breath the League has offered to withdraw the suit and keep the territory and offer us no compensation for the taking of our territory, a territory that we have cultivated all season. The League continues to be silent about the Boston territory.
Our organization cannot absorb the cost of these attorney fees and continue operational costs. In addition, we have requested that the League reimburse us for the attorney fees and the League has stated that they are not willing to do that. The League has decided to suspend discussions with us and simply report that we ‘are unable to finish the season’. We adamantly deny this callous statement.Therefore, we are forced to indefinitely suspend our operations until the League withdraws the suit, rescinds the territories and makes us whole for these attorney fees. Our team will continue to operate as a unit during this suspension and we are ready to play on and we will continue our season as soon as we can get this issue resolved.
Bryan Ricci CEO Connecticut Constitution LLC
Here’s the email from AUDL President Josh Moore:
Given that Bryan is suspending the season and Kentucky and Indy need to make accomodations accordingly for the Constitution not making the games, we will release the following statement later today to announce the news:
The American Ultimate Disc League is saddened to report that the Connecticut Constitution are unable to finish the season and will forfeit the remainder of their schedule. We appreciate all of the contributions that the Constitution and everyone involved in the organization have put forth in helping the AUDL take off. The AUDL is committed to pushing the sport forward and will continue to do so in the future. Schedule changes for the remainder of the season due to the loss of Connecticut will be announced shortly. We wish nothing but the best for everyone involved with the Constitution.
Josh Moore, President
American Ultimate Disc League
Here is a comment from Rafe Steinhauer of the Constitution about Moore’s email:
We are not suspending the season…
We will resume the season as planned the moment the league reimburses us for our legal fees from their withdrawn lawsuit and agrees to uphold the contract we signed with them.
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.