CFL Teams publishing their Negotiation Lists

Listening to Ed Tait from the Winnipeg Free Press on the Sportscage (620 CKRM Radio, Regina, 4-6pm CST), I wonder why the CFL teams don't publish their US college negotiation lists so the fans can watch the Bowl games with heightened interests? Any comments?

Many have wondered the exact same thing. Would make watching the Bowl season all the more interesting. Also, anything that keeps people talking CFL in the off-season is a good thing. If things got really popular they could televise it the same way they do the Draft. (Something that was also at least a decade overdue)!

...not sure why, just speculating here, but it could be that the lists are changing often and keeping an up-to-date and current overall list available on the internet is unwieldly....that being said, there must be a general list somewhere otherwise how does the league prevent two teams from arguing over rights to certain players...

This is also a guess...
but since the league has always kept these lists under wraps...

I am assuming that each team prefers to keep their own list a secret:
(1) because the lists have limited spots and player rights are shuffled on and off;
so then (2) each team doesn't want to draw other teams' attention to players they want.

Of course, a team can bring up some of their own negotiation rights in trade discussions.


Maybe, when a team wants to go after a player,
they have to "check in" with the league office first to see if
that player is already on another (anonymous) team's list.

You hit the nail right on the head as to the reason why most league GM's have opposed publishing the lists. They mentioned those exact reasons you pointed out. However the same can be said for roster moves which are followed quite closely by a large number of fans. An example; a young QB prospect is signed or released by a given team. No doubt a thread will pop up regarding the move and will start quite a dialogue amongst fans regarding the wisdom of the move. It seems logical to assume that publishing the neg. lists would do the same.

The truth is that all teams know who is on every other teams neg list. It's kept by the CFL head office. When one team takes a player off their list or adds one, all other the teams are well aware of it.

I noticed one thing in this "leaked" list by the Winnipeg Free Press. No players that are presently in NFL camps were mentioned.

Back in the days of the high spending days of Leo Cahill and the Argos. Some NFL teams used to get some of the low budget Western CFL teams to put their NFL #1 picks on the neg lists to prevent the Argos from signing them. The reward would be some good late cuts steered their way. But it wouldn't look good if it was published that say Saskatchewan, back then, had the #1 draft pick of the Vikings or Packers or Lions on their neg list with no chance of signing them. So you see this secret neg list thing has been around for along time.

Suitor questioned this a week or so ago as well. In the article, he mentions the main reason why the neg list isn't published is to keep the players on it in the dark, that if a player knows he is on it, he can force the team's hand into signing him or releasing him, based on the following paragraph from Section 3 of the CFL By-laws (from 1999 document, but may not have changed):

15. A member Club shall be permitted to retain a player's name on its negotiation list for an indefinite period. However, if the player is in a free agent status and has notified the Club of a willingness to enter into negotiations to sign a Standard Player Contract the Club shall be required to offer the player a contract and thereafter remove the player's name from its negotiation list as follows: (a) not later than ten days following the receipt of such notification from the player if the Club is not prepared to offer a contract, or (b) not later than 365 days after the date of offer by the Club if the terms of the contract can be deemed by the Commissioner to be reasonable, or (c) forthwith if the terms of the contract offered by the Club are deemed by the Commissioner not to be reasonable.
There must be a reason behind this paragraph. Could it be related to restriction of trade laws? Or just to prevent teams from stockpiling players with no intention of signing them?

Do drafted Canadian players have this same right? Something tells me no, as teams seem to maintain their rights for months (or years?) without signing them.

It's because of the CFL's antiquated mentality. Every team has access to the list. GMs, agents, etc.
Why they don't make it public is beyond me. Seems to me the CFL at times is still in the stone ages when it comes to generating excitement for its product. Eventually it will become public.

If the Neg lists were published, it sure would have made bowl season that much more enjoyable. Although his team was soundly beaten, it was nice to watch the tremendous athletic ability of Virginia Tech QB Tyrod Taylor whose CFL negotiation rights are held by the Eskimos. Would be great to see him on a CFL field

There is a time limit on signing players who are drafted. From the League By-Laws:

A member Club, having selected a player in the College Draft with the player having expressed willingness to sign a Standard Player Contract, shall be required to offer a contract to that player together with an invitation to participate in its football activities, or forthwith abandon its draft rights to that player.
The only time a team has a player's rights for years is if that player is playing in another league because he is obviously unwilling to sign with the CFL team while under contract to an NFL team. Also if player is returning to school without accepting a contract then his rights are retained until he finishes school.