Former Piedmont High football coach Kurt Bryan announced plans Monday to form the A-11 Football League, a professional football league that hopes to begin play in the spring of 2013.
The league would be based around the A-11 offense that Bryan co-created in 2007 with former Piedmont offensive coordinator Steve Humphries. Bryan resigned as Piedmont coach after the 2010 season to begin focusing on the launch of the league.
The concept has received positive feedback from investors, according to Bryan and Mike Marsden, a broker with Commercial Capital Funding. The next step is lining up between five and 10 investors to raise the $100 million needed to launch the league.
"We've spent the past many months meeting with top NCAA football people at the highest level and meeting with pro football consultants," Bryan said. "The brokers began really shopping it a few weeks ago and they have received tremendous interest. There's nothing wrong with going for it and failing. There's everything wrong with not going for it and not even having a chance."
Bryan and Humphries created the A-11 in 2007 around the concept that all 11 players could potentially be eligible to catch a pass. It was based around lining up in a scrimmage kick formation, with the quarterback at least seven yards behind the line of scrimmage. That allowed every player on the field to wear eligible numbers (1-49, 80-99) and formations could shift so that any player on the field could catch a pass.
The National Federation of State High School Associations enacted a rule change in 2009 that required at least four players to wear Nos. 50-79, which makes them ineligible to catch a pass. That rule eliminated many of the aspects of the A-11.
This professional football league would eliminate that rule and require players to be eligible to catch a pass based on formation only.
"In the A-11, it will be true A-11 football," Bryan said. "There won't be restrictions about how deep the quarterback has to be. He can be under center."
Marsden met Bryan through a fraternity brother, and was originally skeptical about the idea of turning this into a professional league.
"I said, 'How could you guys expect to be successful when all these other guys couldn't?,"' Marsden said.
Marsden said he encouraged a concept of community involvement, as well as 12-month contracts, so that players get paid year-round, assuming they perform offseason conditioning and get involved with public relations and social media to keep in touch with fans.
"When we were talking about it, this is how (Bryan) started turning me from a skeptic to promoting it," Marsden said.
The league plans to have 10 teams and be a single-entity structure, where each team is owned and operated by the league. Teams would ideally play in medium-sized stadiums, with seating capacity approximately 25,000 to 30,000.