CFL "Negotiation List" - Why the secrecy?

Hi: I am a CFL fan living in the the US Deep South. I LOVE the game, and enjoy watching the CFL whenever I can catch a game.

The CFL has published game rules and roster rules, as well as a fully transparent draft for "National" players. Makes sense to me.

On the other hand, the process for signing "International" players .... and in particular the league's NEGOTIATION LIST is kept secret.

I have read that players coming out of NCAA programs or late NFL cuts are often unaware if they are on a CFL Negotiation List until their agent starts contacting CFL teams looking for a roster opportunity. Here are a few questions ... would love to have answers:

(1) Does the CFL publish its rules for Negotiation Lists? Any links to an official site?
(2) If the neg. lists are indeed a secret, what are the pros & cons of this approach - versus making these lists totally transparent?


The rules are listed in the CFL By-laws, section 23. Here's a link to an old version of the document; not sure if it's changed at all or not. [url][/url]

The list is there, I assume, to prevent bidding wars for players, driving up the price of internationals rookies.

One of the rules is that, when a player contacts the team holding his rights, the team must make him a reasonable offer immediately. If the player accepts the offer, the team is then required to add him to the roster or practice roster, or release him. It's possible that the list is kept secret in order to prevent potential players from pressuring teams to release them so they can negotiate with the rest of the teams, ending up with bidding wars.

Bottom line: the negotiation list is NOT there to protect potential players.

Definitely can see how the secret Neg. List protects owners from getting into bidding wars - although I assumed that the league's Salary Cap ($5MM / 46 roster) was the best device to regulate this.

Besides limiting the negotiating power of the player, I think the secrecy of the neg. list is a barrier to fans being able to understand the resources that their favorite team's GM can potentially tap into to upgrade rosters, or replace retiring players.

This puts artificial blinders on those fans who follow players careers after they leave college ball or are dropped from NFL rosters. If I was the CFL "Commish", I would push for full transparency and let the salary cap mechanism handle the situations where a player tries to create an auction.

Thanks for your comments!

Everything about the teams rosters should be open to the public to gain interest and media coverage.

I agree. CFL teams should draft American players just like they draft Canadians. This might create substantial media coverage and interest on both sides of the border.

One factor why the CFL keep’s the neg list secret is team’s often place college freshmen on the list…and they wouldn’t want to encourage players to leave college early if they knew they could earn a pro salary in the CFL.

Here are the NFL Draft Eligibility Rules, two of the key rules are 1) you must be out of high school at least three years, 2) if you enter the Draft before graduating college you are no longer eligible to play college football.

[url=] ... rules.html[/url]

Just my personal feeling, but I like the concept of having Canadians playing in the CFL. They may not have the same training that NCAA provides but there are good Canadian football players.

Just my personal feeling, but I like the concept of having Canadians playing in the CFL. They may not have the same training that NCAA provides but there are good Canadian football players.
I didn't start the thread to attack the league's import ratio rules. There are excellent Canadian players, no need to change that aspect of the roster rules. The CFL isn't alone in this regard, MLS soccer also has import quotas to ensure that North American players have roster spots.

I was specifically asking about how CFL teams handle the “international” roster spots, and why any aspect of this should be a closely held secret.

As I follow the discussion, I am beginning to believe that hidden information limits media and fan information about prospective players. For a league that claims to be hungry for revenue growth, this seems to be counter-productive.

I did not mean to attack your reason for starting the Thread, I just added my personal feeling to my Post, I apologize if it appeared otherwise.


There's no need for an apology. :slight_smile: Just a friendly discussion ... and I am getting a lot out of it. Your ideas and input is as welcomed as anyone else's.