Expanding Definition of "National" Player

Some suggestions from the state-of-the-league address included allowing US athletes who attend and graduate from USport schools to be able to enter the league as Nationals. Ambrosie mentioned a similar idea for non-US athletes too, namely the few hundred French students playing ball at the Cegep level in Quebec.

I’d be open to this change, especially considering we might be needing 20+ more Nationals in a few years.

Or we could just lower the ratio if we’re not actually going to have Canadians in the league.

I think the whole point of having a ratio is to give Canadians opportunities and as fans get excited when one of them becomes a star player in this league. Kinda defeats the whole point if they’re not actually Canadian.

I disagree. If they go to school in Canada and get most of their college-level football training in Canada, they are on the same level skill-wise as Canadians. It is actually unfair to then claim that simply because of accident of birth that they will then be judged by a different standard than their USports peers. If they go to school in Canada that should be a major positive consideration because of the experience they may have gained playing the Canadian game. Oddly, when we send Canadians to go to school in the U.S. we still claim them as Canadians, yet don’t apply the same standard to non-citizens who choose Canada as their country in which to go to school and play football.

Another consideration is the possible growth of Canadian football outside of Canada. If teams start playing in other countries they’re going to be looking to Canada to supply experienced players. Increasing the talent pool here will only benefit the growth of the game both here and abroad.

Maybe a different definition entirely is required, I dunno, maybe Canadian-trained and non-Canadian-trained, or a “Canadian Football Player” and “Other Football Player.” There could even be a requirement of at least three years and X number of games played before gaining the “CFP” designation. It would place the emphasis on training — virtually all of it gained from USports or the CJFL, instead of place of birth.

I’m all for increasing the number of Canadians in the league, but IF the league feels there isn’t enough National talent to fill the roster spots on ten teams, I’d rather they redefine Nationals to include students who have spent 4+ years studying in USport schools than simply reduce the ratio of Nationals.

Another suggestion has been to keep the ratio as is but reduce the number of required starters. IF they choose that route, I’d like to see them increase the total ratio of Nationals by 2 or 3 for every 1 fewer starter required. That way, there’d still be plenty of jobs for Canadian players and with more Canadians getting pro training, it should become easier to replace the National starters who get injured.

The league should go back to the old National rules. It’s a joke that players like Singleton and Wolitarsky should be considered Nationals having been born in the U.S. and played their entire careers there. Neither of them had set foot in Canada before being ruled Nationals by a glitch in the rules.

With only 7 Nationals being starters, they should reserve those roster spots for players who were born in Canada or received the majority of their football training here, not with non-imports like B. Cahoon who thought it was a big joke he was considered a “Canadian”.

I don’t see how any fan would believe the league should reduce the National quota? The CFL is the only Canadian league left in existence, but even the majority of CFL players are American. Having 3 or 4 National players on offence and defence does not ruin the league or drop its professionalism by a appreciable level.

What incentive would there be for USport college football players to continue playing the game if there was little chance of be drafted and turning pro? Many premier athletes would probably switch to hockey or baseball.

With all American CFL rosters and college football diminished or disbanded, how long before there’d be pressure to adopt more American rules, which all the players and most coaches are more familiar with…or would they still have to learn the weird rules of a game Canadians “used” to play?

If you are looking for an example of a player who should be under the national
classification for next year its this guy for UBC.

He was invited to the East/West bowl for U Sports this past June.
If he is considered less of a national designation.
What would you consider Nathan Rourke?

He has been focused entirely on preparing for the NFL.
I don’t see him being interested in playing in the CFL.

With the CFL’s current definition of “national” I would much rather the ratio be an allotment of U sports/CJFL players like the AAF has. You’d still have your Canadians, but at the same time you would be able to drive interest in locally-trained players.

No matter what rules are used to determine eligibility , there will always be those who qualify through technicalities of those rules.

The same applies to all kinds of sports, and they change over time as well. Go check out how international rugby eligibility rules had to change when it became part of the Olympics again. Sometimes players represent a country they have never set foot in, due to a grandparent, sometimes a player moves somewhere and represents a country based on residency, having no previous connection. (playing four years of university ball would qualify as residency IMO).

There will always be a line somewhere, as long as the rules are clear, and we aren’t closing any doors for Canadian players to make it then it should be fine. Haven’t there been more and more CIS players getting NFL time? So seemingly football is on the right track at the university level, why wouldn’t we recognize that?

I agree! I don’t cheer for those non-imports who chose to go to a U.S. college rather than getting degrees at a Canadian university.

I’d support a change in the definition of non-import/national that would favour those who played CJFL or USports in Canada.


One idea to give Canadian college football (USports) a big boost is to exempt NCAA players from becoming Nationals until they play two or three years in the CFL (and meet nationality requirements). Many top high school football grads might choose a Canadian college over the bright lights of the NCAA for their education…and to attain their immediate National status upon graduation.

Not a bad idea at all!

Don’t you mean “prohibit NCAA players from becoming Nationals…”?

I know that the Commissioner committed CFL teams to carrying one Mexican national on its roster with the recently signed agreement with the Mexican League,
although with a new CBA that needs to be addressed I am sure that the CFLPA would certainly have issues with that

EDMONTON – Brian Ramsay and Jeff Keeping were not amused.
On Friday, the CFL and Mexico’s Liga de Futbol Americano Professional signed a letter of intent to work together on several projects. That includes playing a future CFL game in Mexico City.
But the agreement also reportedly contains a “promise” that each CFL team will carry one player from Mexico on its roster starting next year. And that was news to Keeping, the CFL Players’ Association president, and Ramsy, the union’s executive director, who both learned about it for the first time during the CFLPA’s state of the union address Friday



We need actual Canadians in the Canadian Football League. There will always be loopholes, but my suggestion is if you spent 5+ years at a Canadian school (CIS or HS… I guess SFU counts too), you’re Canadian all the way, and if you were 3-4 years of high school in Canada, you’re still Canadian from the NCAA, after one year in the CFL, they would be a national, but if you were 0-2 years in Canadian high school and then went NCAA, I count that as American. If someone say, grew up in America, then all 5 CIS years, they can be a “Canadian”.

I use high school because it’s a less likely way for anyone to cheat the system, but if you play 5 years of CIS, that is enough.

I agree with most of the sentiments here. I think that for a player to be considered a Canadian/national/non-import/whatever they want to call them, that player must have lived here for some significant period of time - long enough, and at an old enough age, to understand what being Canadian means. So just having Canadian citizenship through luck of birth, or worse, luck of one parent’s birth doesn’t cut it. I’m not that worried about Canadians who are good enough to earn a scholarship with an NCAA school, as they learned the game in Canada.

But could I support a foreign player being deemed equivalent to Canadian after spending four or five years at a Canadian university? Not sure. Perhaps they need to add a third category, the nationalized player, that can fill a handful of spots on top of the current minimum number of national players.

I like this idea…maybe call them “designated nationals” or something similar. And I’d include players who have played 4 or 5 consecutive years for the same team in that category.

That “semi-national” works for me, perhaps they’re half a national for ratio purposes? If that happens, only CIS players could qualify, not the career CFL guys like Glenn and Calvillo

Exactly. Foreign players with this to Canada by living here for x years. But not replacing any of the current national roster spots. These would be spots in addition to the current 21 nationals, and the spots could be filled by either a national or a designated national, to use your term. Not sure if want them taking a starting spot though.

It used to be that essentially a non American trained player was a non-import. You would see the odd one sift in that was not Canadian. Bartel is the name that comes to mind that is still grandfathered in that…there are likely others still. It seemed like before they changed this that there were probably a dozen that fell into this. Perhaps they need to re-evaluate that change and do a rollback. When they changed the definition it very intentionally went away from what you are describing.