A day after the owners of the Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals franchises were suspended for two years by a Supreme Court-appointed panel, BCCI and IPL team officials had discussions across the country to try and figure out a way forward.
IPL chairman Rajeev Shukla met with BCCI president Jagmohan Dalmiya in Kolkata to discuss the implications of the Lodha Committee's order, and the Super Kings top management huddled with legal experts in Chennai around the same time. Royals remained tightlipped about their plans for a second day running, but word in the BCCI was that the franchise had no option but to appeal.
While Shukla was sure that "IPL-9 will take place", former IPL vice-chairman Niranjan Shah said a special general body meeting was the need of the hour instead of an IPL governing council meeting.
Here are five options the BCCI might have to choose from for IPL 2016, and the reasons why some of them are unviable.
A six-team IPL
Two teams - in their existing form - cannot be part of the next two seasons, but why can't the IPL comprise only six sides in 2016 and 2017? Fewer teams mean fewer games, and a drastically shorter tournament is not commercially viable for the BCCI.
The broadcast deal signed with Multi Screen Media says each IPL season will contain at least 60 matches. A six-team competition will have only 34 matches, severely compromising the BCCI's revenue. The shortfall will affect the central revenue pool, a large chunk of which is distributed equally among the teams. Such a scenario would make it virtually impossible for all the stakeholders to make a profit from the tournament.
Invite bids for two new teams for two years
If two teams can't play for two years, can't the BCCI invite bids for two new teams to take their place for the duration of the suspension?
This option is unattractive because it is unlikely that an investor will spend so much money - irrespective of the valuation of the franchises, a team needs to pump in at least INR 125 crore every IPL season - when it is uncertain that it will be recovered in such a short time span.
As for the question of offering to bring back the Kochi and Pune franchises: the Pune team owners, Sahara India, are dealing with legal problems concerning their chief, and the consortium that owned Kochi has no interest in entering the IPL again, especially after the result of an arbitration process directed the BCCI to pay them a large sum of money.
Invite bids for two new teams for a longer duration
For several BCCI members, this seems the most logical option. Not only will it solve the financial muddle, new owners' interest could also help BCCI restore the faith of fans. Adding two new teams, however, will not be straightforward because the two suspended teams can return after two years. That would mean the revenue model will have to be drastically altered and the BCCI will have to start preparing for a nine or ten-team IPL from 2018.
The BCCI runs two teams for two years
Some BCCI officials have reportedly been floating the idea of the board fielding two teams - perhaps as Team Chennai and Team Jaipur. While a precedent exists - the BCCI ran the Rajasthan state team in India's domestic tournaments - such a move is not possible in the IPL.
In the case of the Rajasthan Cricket Asssociation, the BCCI suspended RCA and RCA challenged that in court. Because time was running out, the court directed the BCCI to protect the players' interest and form Team Rajasthan under the BCCI banner in domestic cricket.
In the IPL mess, the Supreme Court had to step in because the BCCI failed to act satisfactorily on breaches committed by team owners and officials. If the BCCI, with its history of conflict of interest issues, considers this route, it could lead to a fresh set of litigations.
Suspend IPL for two years
One of the more extreme reactions, coming from outside the BCCI. "You have to be in the system to change the system," said a BCCI official, hoping that stringent action against teams will lead to the board becoming more alert and following its rules.
Suspending the IPL would not only affect the brand, it would have huge ramifications on the BCCI's revenue, and as a result the revenue of state associations and players.