The merger between the Champions Professional Indoor Football League and the Lone Star Football League was finalized late Friday afternoon with a new name and the addition of teams.
The new Champions Indoor Football league (CIF) will have 12 teams from the two leagues, including the Dodge City Law, with at least one expansion team and one team moving from another league.
Law co-owner/general manager Ricky Bertz was the executive chairman on the CPIFL side discussing the merger. Bertz said items in the first merged meeting discussion included by-laws, the new league name and who would be commissioner of the new league. He also said there would be rule changes drom the 2014 season.
"There are going to be changes that the fans will notice, but they will be changes that will bring excitement and a surprise element to the game," Bertz said.
Darlene Jones, commissioner of the LSFL, will have the same duties in the new organization with the league offices located in San Angelo, Texas.
The plan for the new league is to have 14 to 15 teams and play a 12-game schedule. The schedule is scheduled to be released by Oct. 1. The plan is to have two divisions with Bertz speculating that it would be geographical.
"We talked about playing a 14-game schedule, but some teams don't have enough dates available to play that many games," Bertz said. "Some arenas have more than 200 events on their schedule.
"Unless teams want to play on a Monday or a Wednesday, it's very challenging and difficult to expand to a 14-game schedule in 2015. Teams are inquiring about getting additional dates in order to do a 14-game schedule."
Among the by-laws that will affect the Law is the reduction of players on the active roster from 24 to 21. Bertz said the LSFL played with 18 players, so the two leagues "met in the middle" when it came to roster size.
"I would call it the old 'iron man' football where players played both ways," Bertz said. "I think players are going to see that a lot more."
Bertz is on the executive committee looking into expansion franchises with the new league taking applications for those teams until Sept. 1.
"Teams have until Sept. 1 to send in an application," Bertz said. "I've had phone calls from Wisconsin and Illinois. I'm constantly getting phone calls and that happens during this time of the year. People are waiting until the last minute."
One expansion team already in place will be the new unnamed Wichita franchise that will take the place of the two-time CPIFL champion Wichita Wild. Wink Hartman, the owner of the Wild franchise, did not send a letter stating his team would play in the league in 2015.
The new ownership group is spearheaded by Wichita financial advisor Marvin Fisher. The new team will not play at Hartman Arena, but have not found a home field. There is consideration the team could play in a new arena built around the Kansas Star Casino in Mulvane.
"They have hired Wild head coach Paco Martinez to be their head coach," Bertz said. "I'm certain a number of the players they will recruit are former players of the Wichita Wild. They're working on finalizing their lease."
Another team that will announce their affiliation with the CIF today is the Texas Revolution, an Indoor Football League from the Dallas suburb of Allen.