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XFL suspends operations, reportedly has no plans to return in 2021

After having success as a spring football league, all has gone downhill for the XFL due to COVID-19. The careers of five former Northwestern players are affected as a result.

Seattle Dragons v. St. Louis Battlehawks Photo by Michael B. Thomas /Getty Images

The XFL became the first American professional sports league to shut down Friday as a result of COVID-19, according to ESPN. The report included that the league suspended operations and has laid off all employees except a few executives. This news all but means that the XFL is done just five weeks into its first season and leaves five former Wildcats in limbo as players no longer have the opportunity to prove themselves to NFL scouts.

However, with the coronavirus pandemic halting all sports last month, there have been question marks surrounding the future of the XFL. Without the market share of leagues such as the NBA or NFL, it made sense that there would be financial struggles for the infant league. Sports franchises all over the world have dealt with the ramifications of seasons being suspended, delayed, shortened or canceled. The Los Angeles Lakers had their top front office executives take a temporary 20 percent pay cut to compensate for the lack of revenue.

We here at Inside NU had been following the XFL careers of five former NU players — Flynn Nagel, Hunter Niswander, Godwin Igwebuike, Kyle Queiro and Jordan Thompson — closely as this was an opportunity for them to prove themselves and vie for a possible NFL roster spot. Nagel and Igwebuike were already turning heads in the second-tier league. Their professional football careers are now in flux after the league’s suspension and potential fold.

Oliver Luck was hired as the league’s commissioner to oversee the growth of what was supposed to give football fans entertainment even during the “slower” spring seasons of college football and the NFL. The league implemented non-traditional rules along with a more entertaining fan experience, featuring sideline reports with players and coaches during the game and directly after plays.

XFLers, including the five #ProCats, will likely look for playing opportunities elsewhere once sports resume.