With the announcement yesterday that the South Coast League's CEO, Jamie Toole, has resigned, it is almost a sure bet now that was has been obvious for months will become fact- the SCL is folding and will not operate in 2008. No official word has come down, but nobody seems too optimistic that the league has a chance to survive for another season.
Certainly the concept of an independent league in the southeast was a good idea on paper, but it never seemed like the management of the league could identify strong markets to go after. Instead they settled for small markets that would never be capable of drawing big crowds. Their inaugural season seemed to go well enough, but after the season many articles were written that surfaced details about debts not being paid to concessionaires, cities, players, and team personnel. This was the first tell-tale sign that the league was in trouble. There was also the announcement that the team would be adding a team in Jackson (MS) at Smith-Wills Stadium for the 2008 season. Shortly after that, they then announced that Charlotte County would be playing as a road team in '08 and that Jackson would not be playing in '08. Then after several GM firings and other personnel changes, the news came yesterday that Toole was stepping down. Clearly he was not able to procure the financial backing needed to continue operating the league.
So another indy league bites the dust. Maybe the Atlantic Coast League, scheduled to start in 2009, will have better luck.