In a strange turn of events for Steve Spurrier’s team, the Orlando Apollos are being forced to practice in Georgia.
As first reported by the Orlando Sentinel, the Orlando Apollos are being forced to practice in Georgia due to the inability of finding an insurance provider. The state of Florida currently excludes professional athletes from receiving workers compensation insurance coverage.
While other professional programs in the the State of Florida have been able to find insurance providers, safety concerns and violent nature of football have, no doubt, played a role.
Alliance Head of Player Relations David Cohen said,
“Established sports organizations have long-standing relationships with carriers. We are continuing to aggressively pursue workers compensation coverage that allows our Orlando team to be Florida employees and practice in Florida the entire season.”
The interim plan for the Apollos is to practice at a high school facility in Kingsland, Georgia, starting next week. The AAF has found an insurance provider to cover them provided they spend 51% (approximately 36 days) of their practices in Georgia. During this period, the team will stay at a hotel in Jacksonville and bus about 30 minutes to practice. The Apollos have 4 out of 5 games on the road starting next week. As of now, the Apollos are planning for a two hour bus trip from Jacksonville to Orlando for the highly anticipated Week 6 matchup against the Arizona Hotshots at UCF’s Spectrum Stadium.
Head Ball Coach Steve Spurrier, while not thrilled with the situation, is determined to not let it deter the season.
“We tried to call some big shots in Tallahassee to get it worked out, but I never could get through to the Insurance Commissioner (David Altmaier). We’re not crazy about the set-up (of having to practice in Georgia), but it’s all we can do. When you’re in a new league, sometimes you just have to make adjustments.”