WEBSTER CITY - The Midwest Rampage, a minor league football team located in Webster City for the past three years, has decided to close its doors.
At a board meeting Tuesday night, the seven men who sit on the board of directors - Brian Miller, Darin Eklund, John Elkin, Andy Sowle, Jay Smith, Chris McNiel and Cory Simpson - voted to dissolve the Midwest Rampage, LLC and the team, the organization confirmed via e-mail on Wednesday.
According to the franchise bylaws, only a simple majority is needed to dissolve the organization. Sowle confirmed that he, McNiel and Simpson voted against the dissolution.
"This decision is not an easy one and is not one that comes without significant consideration," Miller, the board president, said in a press release sent to the Daily Freeman-Journal. "We sincerely appreciate all of the support everyone has given the Rampage the past three seasons. Your patronage is what has made the Midwest Rampage a uniquely special organization in all of minor league football."
The Rampage - a member of the Midwest Football Alliance for the past two years and the 2011 MFA runner-up - compiled a 16-15 record in its three seasons. The team was comprised of a large group of players that began playing minor league football for the Iowa Eagles before joining forces to create their own franchise.
But declining fan support this season, along with continued struggles to field a full team - this year and in the future - played significant roles in the board's actions.
"Everyone on the board could see a declining level of commitment from players and fans in 2012, (and) we feel that the best course of action is to discontinue the operations of what has been a very positive, rewarding, and successful venture over the past three years," Miller said in the press release.
Miller continued: "We knew that if the time came that, as the ownership of the Rampage, we could not ensure a top-notch organization in all facets - considering everything from player to community involvement, along with the quality of the concessions and apparel - that it would be better to close down operations rather than risk seeing the Rampage become a shadow of our original intentions."
Still, not everyone on the board agreed with the final decision.
"I was 100 percent against the decision, and I'm just sorry to our fans and to our sponsors because we tried to make this work, but in the long run it just didn't happen," Sowle said. "In the end we have to go with what our bylaws say, and they say the majority wins, so that's what we've got to go with."
Sowle went on to say he and McNiel have already entered talks about the possibility of bringing another minor league football team to the community.
"Hopefully we can bring another team into town," he said. "We've got to sit down and weigh some things out before we decide if we're going to create a new team."