Storm coach suspended, fined

Salary-cap shenanigans cost Marcum and team.

Published March 23, 2005

TAMPA - In an unprecedented move, the Arena Football League suspended Storm coach and general manager Tim Marcum for four weeks over this and next season for salary-cap violations.

Marcum cannot have any contact with the team from now through April 4, which includes games Saturday at Los Angeles and April 2 against Georgia, and the first two weeks of the '06 season.

As part of a settlement between the Storm, the league and its players association, Marcum also must pay $25,000 of a $150,000 fine levied against the Storm. Tampa Bay will be subject to delays in its ability to sign free agents for 2006 and '07.

The Storm will be placed on probation through '06, and Marcum will remain on probation through '07.

"We have accepted the consequences," Marcum said. "We don't believe that they're true, but in order to get this behind us, we've accepted it."

The settlement resulted from an investigation into allegations that the Storm made unreported payments to players during the '03 and '04 seasons, the league said in a news release it will issue today. Specific findings of the investigation are confidential.

The Storm won its fifth ArenaBowl in 2003 and lost in the opening round of the playoffs last season.

"Allegations led us to investigate the Storm's salary cap practices," league attorney John Master said in the release. "We believe that the findings were serious and warranted discipline."

Marcum learned of the suspension during a 4 p.m. conference call that also involved Storm owner Peter C. "Woody" Kern, team attorney Ron Kurpiers and commissioner David Baker.

Offensive/defensive line coach Dave Ewart will handle the head coaching duties for the Los Angeles and Georgia games. Offensive coordinator Pat O'Hara will oversee the offense.

The suspension is believed to be the first for a person involved in the day-to-day operations of a team for a salary-cap violation in any major team sport.

Violations by the NFL's San Francisco 49ers and Pittsburgh Steelers in 2000 resulted in fines and cost those teams draft picks. Kevin McHale agreed to take a season-long leave of absence in 2000 for his role in a secret deal with ex-player Joe Smith when McHale was vice president of the NBA's Minnesota Timberwolves.