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Post-provisional league announcement Q&A with Selby Wellman

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Q: Where do the RailHawks stand with what's happened in the past week and how does the organization feel about what transpired?

A: Well, I've been involved in this for two and a half years up to my eyebrows. There's a little bit of nostalgia and happiness in that it's finally over. The RailHawks are full steam ahead for this year even though it's a transition year. I think the thing that did not come out in the conference call is that there are three NASL teams that are playing in the USL Conference -- that's all they're doing. That's all they are doing is playing in a conference in order to have two conferences for 12 teams. They are NASL teams so we have nine NASL teams that are committed to us for 2011. I'm excited because we'll get all these problems with USL and we all get to play this year and I'm even more excited we will now be able to dedicate all of our resources towards launching NASL completely with the beginning of 2011.  The Carolina RailHawks are an integral part of that and we're pretty excited about that.

Q: In hindsight, is it better to have almost a full season to launch a league than trying to launch it almost immediately after one season ends?

A: That's a very good question. We were going so fast and rapid for the past two or three months to launch our league, once you got into the details of it you could see all of the ramifications the deeper we got into it. So now that it's come to the point where we have this transition year we actually think it's kind of a blessing that we now have a full year to lay out the whole league and launch it properly.

Q: What did you think of [USSF President Sunil] Gulati's assessment that there wasn't enough long-term stability in the proposed NASL?

A: That was a point of debate throughout all of the negotiations because the standards for division II aren't very tight, they're very loose -- he later stated he was going to tighten those up -- it's kind of the in the eye of the beholder. With the nine teams on the NASL side, they're all strong financial owners and we see no risk of them not being a part of our league for the long-term.

Q: What's it going to be with the division setup? How will it affect championship play?

A: We're going to work towards a balanced schedule as best we can but one reason I'm down here in Fort Lauderdale is that we've got this settled we've got to produce a schedule. So we'll probably have that done in another week or so but we'll try to work as much of a balanced schedule as we can. But quite frankly from a championship standpoint, it'll be easier to use a single table. And it will be put together single table to determine who makes the playoffs, just like it does now.

Q: Then why have the divisions? Is it to just have the names out there?

A: Yeah, it gives both of us trying to brand ourselves and launch it because pretty soon we'll be competitors off the field. On the field we'll compete. Off the field, NASL will start looking towards expansion and so will USL. We have nine [teams], they have three -- that's the starting point. And as soon as things get settled with tightening up these division II standards which is a very high priority of the federation now, I think that'll be done relatively quickly. The NASL, we will file for sanctioning immediately. The day after in which standards are tightened up and announced, the application will be re-filed and I have every confidence that we'll be sanctioned for 2011.

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About the blogger

J. Mike Blake has been the Sports Editor for The Cary News and Southwest Wake News since October 2008. He holds two "unofficial" NCHSAA records in two different sports - highest career free throw percentage (2-of-2) in basketball and fewest career singles victories (zero. sigh.) for tennis.