The 2011 Southern Indoor Football League champion Albany Panthers will be taking their trophy to a new league next season.
The organization announced on Tuesday it will begin play in the newly-created Professional Indoor Football League starting in March of 2012.
The Professional Indoor Football League will be comprised of six teams (five from the SIFL). The Panthers, Columbus Lions, Louisiana Swashbucklers, Richmond Raiders, Alabama Hammers and newly-formed Knoxville Knighthawks will compete in a 12-game schedule.
Panthers Owner/CEO Rod Chappell believes this league will be more stable and competitive. Each ownership group will have input on league operations, by-laws and expansion considerations. A move away from the SIFL has been in discussion since the end of the season in July.
A playoff and championship format has not been established. However, the league is talking with Texas-based arena league, the Lone Star League about squaring off in a championship game.
The Panthers will begin its goal of being the first PIFL Champions when the season opens at the Albany Civic Center on March 17 against the Richmond Raiders.
Head coach Lucious Davis will be back at the helm of the Panthers for a third season. However, some key members of the Panthers defense have moved on.
Panthers defensive back Demetrie McCray signed with the Arena Football League's Georgia Force. While linebacker Jacob Hardwick and lineman Lionel Bibbins have agreed to play with the AFL's Utah Blaze.
A try-out for the 2012 roster is set for Oct. 22 in Atlanta.