Last night, I was contacted by several players who had paid to play in the South Florida Winter League (SFWL) this month. They had been informed that, unless they were chosen to play on a showcase team against affiliated teams, camp is over for them. The players were also told that they only had one day to get out of the hotel if they drove (check out was today – March 19th – by 11 am) or two days (March 20th by 11 am) if they flew. One player checked with the hotel and was told the rooms WERE still reserved until the 26th. The players believe that the league owner is kicking them out of the hotel and bringing in other players who haven’t paid to use their rooms. Below are screen shots of what owner, Scott Iselhart, posted in the Facebook group for players in the league.
The SFWL claims that they are a showcase league and were never planning on keeping guys if they felt as if they couldn’t get them signed. They want only the best players to play on their showcase team. They fear if too many players are scouted who aren’t ready to play pro ball (by their evaluation), the SWFL will not be taken seriously by scouts.
That’s fine, as long as players are informed of this ahead of time and aren’t charged for the entirety of the league… the problem is, it appears as though they weren’t told this and won’t be getting any of their money back.
Players paid for a winter league that was supposed to be held from March 4th to March 26th. They were also under the impression that they would be playing in 18-25 games and able to get work in the entire time.
In fact, one player sent a screen shot of the registration form that he had saved and passed along to others BEFORE signing up. There was absolutely no mention of the fact that there were no guarantees of playing time or that players would be asked to leave after seven days. That clause has recently been added since the issue from last night has been brought to light. You can see the difference between the two forms below:
Last August, I was told by an employee of the league (who is no longer with the SFWL) that they prided themselves on the fact that players got the chance to play a certain number of games for a lengthy time. No players were supposed to be released. For the league that ran in November, I was told that: “There will be 40 games for each team. There will also be no releases or trades. Once you are there, you are there for all 40 games.”
Clearly their priorities for the league and how they run it has changed.
If you want to run a showcase only league, okay. But why take money from players for a certain amount of days and then refuse to give a refund when you decide that you can’t make money off of them? What kind of image is that portraying for your league and how you do business?