AMERICAN BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION
Mega Force taken off ABA's master schedule
Just two games into what was to be its inaugural season, the Hawaii Mega Force is no longer part of the American Basketball Association schedule.
Team owner Orrys Williams was terminated by the league on Monday and ABA chairman Joe Newman said the remainder of Hawaii's games have been taken off the league's master schedule.
The Mega Force was originally scheduled to play a 36-game season and had canceled its first two home series before playing Aoshen Beijing Olympian on Dec. 2 and 3 at Brigham Young-Hawaii. The team did not make a scheduled 10-game road trip last week and didn't provide notice to its opponents or the league.
"I am terribly sorry about the situation in Hawaii," Newman wrote in an e-mail. "The team and the city did not deserve the poor treatment."
Williams did not return messages and could not be reached this week.
The Mega Force had five players from the mainland on the roster along with former local college players. Newman said although it is not the league's responsibility, officials are looking into trying to assist the mainland players, who paid their own way to Hawaii, in getting back home.
Williams was suspended for not meeting league requirements as owner of the first-year franchise. Players had not been paid by the team and the game cancellations contributed to the league's decision to take the Mega Force off the schedule.
"I just misjudged Orrys Williams," Newman said.
Newman said player contracts aren't submitted to the league and the owners are responsible for honoring them.
Hawaii's entrance into the 42-team ABA was announced in March and tryout camps were held during the summer. But the team had trouble securing a home site and pushed back its opener until losing twice to Beijing earlier this month.
The team was then supposed to embark on a lengthy road trip, but never left the state. Despite having the trip repeatedly postponed, some players kept their bags packed in case it materialized. Others lost patience with the team's ownership and left or were planning to leave the squad and return home.
"I think (Williams) had good intentions, but it just didn't happen. The sponsorships didn't come through the way he thought it would," Hawaii coach George Gilmore said on Monday.
Others expressed frustration with the situation.
"It's been the worst situation I have experienced in professional basketball," forward Chris Moore said.