Dodge City, KS-After weeks of speculation, the Dodge City Law indoor football team announced on Monday that they are withdrawing from the Champions Indoor Football League.
“The ownership of the Dodge City Law has spent the last month weighing options and outcomes and, with a high level of confidence, have decided to withdraw from the Champions Indoor Football League-effective immediately,” the team said in a statement. “The decision comes at the end of a franchise-best season that ended in controversy. Options are still being explored for the team’s future.”
The news comes following a season in which Dodge City was forced to forfeit two games for violating a league rule that stipulates that game video must be uploaded in a certain time frame for the following week’s game.
“We had called a meeting of our board of directors,” league commissioner Ricky Bertz said. “At the beginning of the phone call, we received an email from Joi and Sean Ponder stating that they were withdrawing.”
To be clear, the franchise has not folded and is seeking a new ownership group.
“Our goal is to keep a franchise in Dodge City,” Bertz said. “As a guy who helped start that team, I know how important football is to the fans of that community. It’s very important, from a league standpoint, to have a team in Dodge City.”
The biggest challenge for the league is that the deadline for new membership is July 15; although Bertz indicated there has been significant interest.
“We have already had several groups come forward,” Bertz said. “The chances are pretty good that there will be football in Dodge City for the 2018 season.”
Bertz was part of the first ownership group in Dodge City back in the Fall of 2013. He left following the 2016 season before taking over as interim commissioner for the 2017 campaign.
“We have been looking at alternative options for the past few weeks,” Bertz said. “It looks promising; so we are hopeful something gets done before the deadline.”
As for the Ponders, it’s the end of an era.
“We made this decision to give the league a chance to find a new ownership group,” Ponder said. ” And everything that we’ve heard is that there is still a chance that there will be football in Dodge City next season.”
In his four seasons as head coach, Ponder guided the Law to two postseason appearances, including this past year despite the controversy that stripped Dodge City of its first home-playoff game in franchise history. They ended up losing a nail-biter to eventual league-champion Texas in the opening round.
“I know how passionate these fans are,” Ponder said. “This was not an easy decision. I’ve really enjoyed my time in Dodge City.”
For fans who are looking to get refunded for season tickets and playoff passes, they need to contact Ponder directly.
“We are selling some of the team assets,” Ponder said. “I am very confident that that will happen. Once it does, we can begin refunding our fans like we promised.”
To contact Coach Ponder directly, you can email him at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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