LOS ANGELES, CA – It’s not every day that a professional sports league disqualifies a team from their place in the post-season tournament during the last week of the regular season. Now times that by two. That’s right, TWO. That’s exactly what happened as Major League Rugby entered the last week of their regular season in their 5th year.
The Austin Gilgronis and LA Gilitinis, teams named after drinks based on their singular owner’s last name, were allegedly way over the salary cap. The owner is Adam Gilchrist, founder of the F45 gym chain and he has dropped a bunch of his money into putting these two teams on the map by bringing in some big name, foreign players. Granted, this ain’t even MLS money (is that the soccer league?), it’s only about 516K per team in salary for a minimum of 30 players per over a 16-game season.
If you do the math, that ain’t much. There is approximately another 350K that a team can spend on players for travel, rent and development (like a real estate course) but that’s it. Until this week, going over those numbers, for the sake of making some noise in a sports-saturated market, fell under the ol’ don’t-ask/don’t-tell category.
But. That. All. Changed.
In a stunning move, the league first suspended Austin last week. That sent an earthquake through the rugby universe. Just as the dust settled and brought the Seattle Seawolves back into the playoff picture, the second shoe dropped. Out went the star-studded LA franchise, bringing the San Diego Legion back into the playoffs.
The assumption is that Gilchrist will not take this without a Major League fight. “Scorched Earth,” is a phrase being bandied about… As of now, however, the playoffs are still on, starting tomorrow, and yours truly is pretty excited about it. So are my colleagues on The Rugby Odds. Have a look. All MTM Staffers will agree with the opening.