NexGen Deadline Looms As Teams Have Closed-Door Discussions With USA Ultimate

Earlier this week, NexGen’s Kevin Minderhout extended the deadline for teams to make a decision about committing to his proposed league. The announcement was made on Twitter just 24 hours before the scheduled deadline, with no elaboration except to say that nine teams had already signed.

In an interview with Ultiworld, Minderhout provided details about the extension, the on-going discussion, and what will happen if the deadline passes without all 18 teams on board.

Just this week, Minderhout finished up meetings with two of the final three teams — San Francisco Revolver and Seattle Sockeye — and wanted to give them enough time to contemplate their options. He also has yet to meet with Vancouver’s Furious George, because his passport was stolen in San Francisco after a burglar broke into his car. He says he plans to meet with the Canadian team via Skype sometime this week. He added that he also needs some time to check in with teams that have yet to sign.

The nine teams on board have signed a letter of intent that says they “agree in principle” to the NexGen league, but their commitment is contingent on all 18 teams signing up. Minderhout did not identify any of the teams and none has spoken publicly.

Some of the teams have had weeks to decide, but haven’t committed to NexGen yet. Why? “People are a little concerned about security, so I’m going to put together a more detailed response to alleviate their concerns about financial security,” said Minderhout.

There are other factors, which we’ve discussed before, that make teams less likely to play in NexGen’s league. The bids to the 2014 World Club Championships, which are traditionally earned through the performance at USA Ultimate’s Club Championships, are determined this year. Minderhout acknowledged that it is an issue. “I’m trying to reach out to USAU board members,” he said, in part to discuss other options for bid allocation.

Ultimately the players are in control of this decision. Confirming earlier reports, Lou Burruss reports that teams are talking to USA Ultimate in unison with Doublewide’s Kurt Gibson acting as spokesperson. The details of their conversation are not known.

Minderhout said, “The teams sent out a letter to [USAU’s Managing Director of Competition and Athlete Programs] Will [Deaver], demanding certain things. Well, not demanding. Requesting.”

Teams now have four days to make a decision, which is expected to be en masse. Minderhout isn’t sure what will happen, but says he is optimistic. “It depends what USAU says to the teams,” he explained. “It’s a possibility that USAU does something super drastic and changes quickly. Who can say what’s going to happen, you know?”

But, regardless of the speed of discussion, he says there won’t be another deadline extension. If he doesn’t have signed letters by all 18 teams on the 7th, he will table the proposal for 2013.

“If they don’t [sign by then], I don’t have enough time to do what I’m doing,” he said. “If you want to look into the whole nuance of the stuff, the players have the control here. It’s a matter about how long can you hold on to make that decision. For me to put this into place, I need to move quickly.”

  1. Charlie Eisenhood
    Charlie Eisenhood

    Charlie Eisenhood is the editor-in-chief of Ultiworld.You can reach him by email ([email protected]) or on Twitter (@ceisenhood).

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