News surfaced this morning via the Townsville Bulletin and social media that the Townsville Crocodiles (under the ownership of Barrier Reef Basketball Pty Ltd) were going to return their licence to Basketball Australia, under financial stress. 

Basketball Australia have responded to these revelations with a statement this afternoon:

Basketball Australia has this afternoon met with representatives from National Basketball League Clubs, in light of the Townsville McDonalds Crocodiles’ moves to surrender their license to participate in the League.

It is our intention to support a viable NBL into the 2013/14 season, and we are working collaboratively with NBL Clubs to that end.

Basketball Australia will continue to work through the NBL White Paper process in order to ascertain a strategic direction – endorsed by the Basketball Australia Board and the NBL – to give the League the best opportunity at financial success.

Regarding the Crocodiles, Basketball Australia Chief Executive Officer Kristina Keneally is writing to Barrier Reef Basketball Pty Ltd to advise Basketball Australia will not accept the immediate return of their license, as the Club has not complied with the terms of the NBL License Agreement which would allow immediate surrender.

An immediate surrender of license would require the club to demonstrate they are insolvent.

Regardless of what direction BRB takes in their ownership of the team, it would be great to see the Crocs continue in the NBL in 2013/14 and beyond. If a community model can be established, as has worked well with the Wollongong Hawks, all the better. 

Either way, the loss of the Crocs to the league would be a tragedy, given the strong supporter base they have provided in Townsville over the years, since their introduction to the league as the Suns in 1993. The Crocs have boasted such league talents/personalities as Robert Rose, John Rillie, Derek Rucker, Pat Reidy, Corey Williams, Peter Crawford, Russell Hinder, Gary Ervin, Sam Mackinnon, Clarence Tyson and Larry Abney — to name but a selection. It would be a true shame to lose their rich history permanently to the NBL.

Time will tell how this scenario plays out. One positive is that the league has an entire off-season to look for a solution.