Clock ticking on Renegades' future

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A crucial meeting today in downtown Toronto will go a long way toward mapping out the future of the Ottawa Renegades franchise.

It's good that club owners Bernie Glieberman and Bill Smith, along with CFL commissioner Tom Wright, have acknowledged the gravity of the situation.

Time is the crucial element here, with training camp beginning at a yet-to-be-determined location in a dozen weeks. So much needs to be done before then.

Glieberman and Smith will meet with potential candidates to run the daily business operations of the club today at the league office. That person would move consultants John Lisowski and Phil Kershaw out of the picture, which would be welcome news in the football office -- named the Alamo by staffers anxious to get rid of the duo.

The top candidate for the job on the administration side is Bob Nicholson, the VP of finance for baseball's Washington Nationals, and a former president of the Toronto Argonauts.

Former league commissioner Jeff Giles is also a reported candidate. But Glieberman wouldn't say during a phone conversation yesterday that he's one of the people involved in today's meetings.

On the football side, a decision needs to be made on the future of GM Forrest Gregg, a Glieberman family loyalist who has worked for the 'Gades' majority owner for nearly two decades.

One scenario has the 72-year-old Pro Football Hall of Famer serving as the figurehead football boss, with a new GM -- likely Eric Tillman with Lisowski and Kershaw gone -- taking charge as the point man on the football side.

Various sources across the league are telling Glieberman and Smith that Tillman is the ideal candidate for the job, given his track record with the team and the league. Gregg has previously said he'd step aside if Glieberman made that request.

Those decisions need to be made quickly. In three weeks, the CFL's annual showcase of draft-eligible Canadian players takes place in Toronto, and it would serve the club well to have GM's situation resolved before it begins.

The draft itself is April 20, so that's not far off either.

The team also needs to hire a training staff and an equipment manager. The departure of Lisowski and Kershaw will clear the way for the football department to do its own work regarding the training camp site.

Richard Wade, the team's new football administration director, had been working on a deal with Carleton University and the city for Frank Clair Stadium. But the consultants in the administration building made a deal with CFB Petawawa to hold camp there, a move that outraged the football staff, including coach John Jenkins.


Holding camp in Petawawa would be a disaster from a fan perspective, and it wouldn't serve the club well in the public relations department.

In late May when camp begins, the Senators could be in the later stages of a run for the Stanley Cup. With the city going gaga over the hockey team, the Renegades will be fighting for every drop of media exposure they can get.

Holding camp in Petawawa won't help. At Frank Clair Stadium, more fans in the city to have a chance to watch camp practices.

Last week, Glieberman made the necessary but bold move of removing his son Lonie from operating the club.

He's promising a fresh approach. Today could provide a big step in that direction.

Ottawa needs a shoot in the arm in the from of making the playoffs this season. otherwise, there future in Ottawa is uncertain.