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Report: AAF's future in jeopardy without bailout from NFL players' union

Tom Dundon, the Alliance of American Football's majority owner, told USA TODAY Sports on Wednesday that the fledgling league may fold if it's unable to add players from NFL practice squads to its rosters next season.

SAN ANTONIO — Just one year in and the Alliance of American Football could be looking to throw in the towel. And such a move would be met with groans in San Antonio, where the Commanders lead the fledgling league in home attendance.

The league's majority owner, Tom Dundon, told USA TODAY Sports that lack of cooperation from the NFL Players Association to use young players from NFL rosters has left the future of the league unclear.

The AAF, Dundon reiterated to USA TODAY Sports, is a developmental league and without young talent from the players' union to develop, they may have to discontinue the league

While the NFLPA did not have an official response to the lack of cooperation accusation, a players' union official told the publication that there are risks when it comes to lending active NFL players to the AAF. 

In addition to concerns of whether or not lending players would violate the NFL's Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) terms, the official explained that NFL players could be seriously injured in an AAF game resulting in a player missing an NFL season, which could lead to financial ramifications and a loss of valuable experience.

In San Antonio, Commanders spokesman Cody Bays said Wednesday afternoon that the club would defer all comments to the AAF "at this time."

The Commanders (5-2) lead the league's West Division and can clinch a playoff spot with a victory over the Arizona Hotshots (4-3) on Sunday night at the Alamodome.

San Antonio, which has won four straight, beat Arizona 29-25 on the road in Week 5. Each AAF team has three regular-season games remaining.

The Commanders have built a solid fan base in San Antonio through the first seven weeks of the season, averaging crowds of 29,126 for three games at the Alamodome. Their home attendance has increased with each game.

A crowd of 27,857 gathered for the season opener on Feb. 9, and 29,176 were on hand for the second game eight days later. After playing four straight games on the road, the Commanders drew a crowd of 30,345 to their game against the Salt Lake Stallions last Saturday. The attendance is an AAF record. 

San Antonio's total attendance for three home games has been 87,378.

"We've got the best fans in the league and they show up," Commanders coach Mike Riley said Wednesday after practice. "It's awesome."

RELATED: Backup QB Williams leads Commanders to hard-fought 19-15 win over Stallions

Orlando (6-1) leads the East Division and already has clinched a playoff berth. San Antonio, Orlando and Arizona are three of eight teams in the AAF.

The Commanders and Arizona compete in the West Division with Salt Lake and San Diego. Orlando is in the East Division with Atlanta, Birmingham and Memphis. The top two teams in each division will advance to the playoffs.

The championship game is scheduled for Saturday, April 27, in Frisco, about 30 miles north of Dallas. The title game will be played at the Ford Center at The Star, an indoor athletic facility shared by the Dallas Cowboys, the City of Frisco, and Frisco ISD high schools.

Originally scheduled to be played on April 28 in Las Vegas, the AAF championship game was moved to Frisco last week.  

RELATED: Alliance of American Football moves championship game to Texas

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