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Published On: Mon, Mar 11th, 2019

Orlando Apollos to Start Practicing in Georgia Because of Florida’s Workers’ Comp Laws

The Orlando Apollos will be forced to practice in Georgia because of Florida’s workers’ compensation laws, which exclude professional athletes from receiving benefits.

Companies with employees are required to make sure there is coverage for injured workers, stated the website of Jason D. Mills & Associates. Under state law, professional athletes are not considered employees and are not covered by state workers’ compensation laws.  

photo/ Gerd Altmann via pixabay

Major professional sports leagues like the NBA, NFL and MLB can afford to buy insurance policies from carriers that will cover every team. Because the Alliance of American Football (AAF) is a start-up, they have yet to find an insurance provider willing to cover all teams. Now the Apollos will have to travel to a hotel in Jacksonville and take a bus to Kingsland, Georgia to practice. They will stay in Kingsland for 36 days before bussing back to Florida for one home game in March.

Georgia will cover the team as long as they spend 51% of their practice days in the state.

Charlie Ebersol, AAF CEO, told the Orlando Sentinel, “We really need to make sure we take the necessary steps to take care of our players. Our responsibility is always to do what we must do to make sure our players have the best available coverage.”

David Cohen, Alliance Head of Player Operations, said the organization is working aggressively to pursue workers’ compensation coverage that would allow their Orlando team to be Florida employees and practice in the state the entire season.

Coach Steve Spurrier said they tried calling “big shots in Tallahassee” to work out the issue, but they were unable to get through to the insurance commissioner.

“We’re not crazy about the set-up, but it’s all we can do,” he said. “When you’re in a new league, sometimes you just have to make adjustments.”

The Apollos hope that the inconvenient practice schedule does not slow down the team’s momentum. Right now, the team is shaping up to be one of the best in the league. The Apollos are still the undefeated team in the Alliance of American Football, and their offense averages 29.6 points.

The AAF is facing more than just difficulty finding workers’ compensation coverage. According to a report from The Athletic, the league – which signed every player to a 3-year, $250,000 deal – almost missed payroll in just its second week of operation.

But the AAF recently announced that Tom Dundon, NHL Carolina Hurricanes majority owner and billionaire from Dallas, Texas, invested $250 million in the league. He is now the AAF’s new chairman.

Author: Jacob Maslow

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