if Gades fold, Tom Wright is GONE

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If this is the end of the Ottawa Renegades, it may also be the end of CFL commissioner Tom Wright.

Moreover, the CFL's expansion dreams may also go down the tubes if, as is widely feared, the league is forced to pull the plug on the money-losing Gades.

After all, the primary logic of expansion to Atlantic Canada or Quebec City is to get to 10 teams. The loss of the Renegades would make that all but impossible, particularly since it might well kill the CFL in Ottawa for good.

"We should be a 10-team league. An eight-team league is going in the wrong direction," said Hamilton owner Bob Young yesterday. "It makes the league less interesting, it hurts our broadcast deal with our partners and it sends an indication to the country that this is still the Crisis Football League."

The league is waiting for Ottawa owner Bernie Glieberman to declare his future intentions after his much-mocked son Lonie resigned in disgrace, or at least amidst general laughter, two weeks ago.

The elder Glieberman owns 51 per cent of the team, and yesterday reports suggested minority owner Bill Smith isn't committed to continuing his association with the football team until a number of financial matters are clarified.

But with Lonie gone and the team as much or more of a mess as it was the first time the Glieberguys screwed it up, why would Bernie Glieberman stay?

Moreover, other than having somebody to cover the bills of a horrendous, unpopular football team, why would anybody want him to?

If he leaves, however, there's little reason to believe a team expected to lose upwards of $5 million this season would be able to attract new ownership. Already, Ottawa has seen two prominent players, running back Josh Ranek and centre George Hudson, bolt as free agents to Hamilton, which will make selling season-ticket subscriptions above the current level of 2,000-4,000 even more difficult.

"There's no reason why properly run Ottawa couldn't have the same kind of financial success as Hamilton," argued Young yesterday.

But asked to comment on reports that the Tiger-Cats may be willing to lend some of their marketing and ticket personnel to the Renegades, Young was non-committal.

"Nothing's decided," he said. "And who would we be helping?"

Wright, meanwhile, may find himself again in the crosshairs of malcontent owners like B.C.'s David Braley and Bob Wetenhall of the Montreal Alouettes. Wright pushed for the Gliebermans to be allowed back into the CFL fold against Braley's wishes, and the commish doesn't have a contract beyond this year's Grey Cup game.

In January, don't forget, Wright pushed through a new $3.8 million salary cap system, with only Braley and Wetenhall voting against the proposal.

Being out of the country on vacation in the Dominican Republic and allowing CFL executive Brent Scrimshaw to speak on behalf of the league, meanwhile, is simply bad optics for the commissioner.

As it stands, the Renegades are supposed to be the host team for the second Touchdown Atlantic game in Halifax June 3. If the league is reduced to eight teams, a last-minute replacement would have to be found for that game against Montreal, and the entire 2006 schedule would have to be junked and re-done.

That, in itself, would be a logistical challenge, as league schedule-maker Ed Chalupka was dumped by the league in January, a firing that Wetenhall called "incomprehensible."

Winnipeg, most likely, would have to be shifted back to the East again, an awkward move in the same year the Blue Bombers are hosting the Grey Cup.

"I'm not going to comment on something like that," said president Lyle Bauer. "Should something like that manifest itself, we'll deal with it then."

Having to choose between letting the Glieberman family operate the franchise or letting the team go under is a terrible one for the league, and there's little stomach for having the other eight owners underwrite a club in Ottawa.

Unless Eugene Melnyk decides he'd like to own a Canadian pigskin outfit in addition to his highly-rated NHL team, Ottawa may soon be without football.

Again. And for good.

the press is trying to bring the Gades and TW (the best things to happen in the league for years) down, it's official!

Actually I read the article this morning and it is from the very good and recent pro CFL writer, Damien Cox. He is right on.
The league cannot afford to lose this franchise. If it needs to be proped up this year, just like the Argos and Cats of a few years ago, to find a local owner like Equgene Melynk the so be it. If not, then move it to QC at year end.
With all of the great progress the last few years to include huge TV ratings and mega sponsorship $, we cannot have this black eye of losing a franchise, the 2nd time around in Ottawa. From the perception optics and especially Southern Ontario, with the TV ad agencies and often anti-CFL media, this will be a definite steps backward.

To be honest, IMO, Tom Wright hasn't done a damn thing at all. In times of need, he's away on vacation. He's the one who brought back the Gliebs. I'll admit it, i was willing to give them a chance this time around, but due to lack of activity, well positive activity, i've lost all hope on them, so good riddance to those damn bast@rds. Wright doesn't look like he knows what he's doing. I thought Lysko was a much better commish than Wright ever was.

please pull the glue stick away from under your nose..lol

when tom wright left on vacation, it looked like the gades were on the verge of signing tillman, and bringing in nicholson, and everything was gonna get smoothed over...its not toms fault!

isnt tom the one who found the good owners of the ti-cats and argos?... so he has done his share of good.

tom isnt the one who chose to expand to ottawa in the first place ( it was your buddy. Lysko ). he just got stuck cleaning up the mess.

i have faith mr.wright will find ottawa's mr. right!

You are correct DG. TW did not create the mess in Ottawa when the franchise was awarded to the Watters group, who are related to Lysko. In anyevent, that is water under the bridge. It's now up to TW to clean up this mess and unfortunately for this week he has been on vacation. But, I have read how he is in touch with Brenie G on a daily basis. I suspect Tillman and Nicholson are in the wings awaiting for this mess to be cleared up next week when the two partners are to meet at HO. We all agree, it has to be cleared up soon. No matter how it is done, the league I suspect will prop up the franchise this year until a new owner is found or..... QC at the end of the year.

Tom Wright is the best thing to happen to the CFL in many years, anyone who thinks this is his fault is just uninformed........

everytime tom wright leaves for a week, the place falls apart...what would happen if he was gone forever?....not too promising

I don't think Tom Wright has any real power as Commisioner. Th owners of BC and Montreal make sure of that, and the rest of the teams know if those guys were to walk away from the CFL the league would be in trouble. So its a patchwork coalition and Tom's job is like one writer wrote "its like trying to herd cats". I've never tried that but its nigh onto impossible. :smiley:

oh god, another failed franchise? Does ottawa even care about their team? No wonder not many people consider it a pro football league, it can't even keep 9 teams in the league.

AB why don't you go and spew your anti CFL nonsense on a No Fun League site. While you are at it do your homework on what happened to football in Baltimore, Cleveland, LA etc.... Many teams have folded in the NHL, NBA and MLB as well. So cut out the BS.

and tom is doing a great job he made the league more popular and you never know he might be the one that help make a cfl video game

ohh the possibilties

It really is time for people who don't know any better to stop blaming Tom Wright for this. Could you imagine people even thinking about the CFL gettnig a video game a few short years ago? Now it doesn't seem such a far fetched idea. The Rens situation is a blackeye on the league no doubt but this is the fault of the ownership regime in Ottawa, not Wright's.

To look at this latest crisis as a possible plus, it does get rid of the Gleibs once and for all and hopefully find a local Ottawa owner. Eventually it is up to the good people of Ottawa to decide if they truly want a team.

That's just not true - you're making things up!

Since World War II, the only NHL team to "fold" was the Cleveland Barons - and even they didn't completely fold, they amalgamated with the Minnesota North Stars - but let's say the Barons folded - that's ONE.

No MLB team has folded in the last 100 years - many teams have moved, but no franchise has folded.

No NFL team has folded since WW II - Cleveland Browns, Baltimore Colts, and LA Rams moved to Baltimore, Indianapolis, and St Louis respectively, because they got better stadium deals in those cities.

Same with basketball - St Louis Hawks moved to Atlanta, San Diego Clippers to LA, etc etc.....but no team has ever folded.

So your "many teams" that have folded becomes.....the Cleveland Barons of the NHL!

In the CFL, you have the same 9 teams you had in 1954, but in the interim, both Ottawa (1996) and Montreal (1987) have folded.

Please do your research before accusing others of "BS".

Technically moving instead of folding or combining with another city in my books is one and the same. When cities lose their teams for usually non supporting reasons let's not get into semantics. It's happened in every sport and in every league and no doubt will continue into the future. So please do not tell me or try to infer it is a CFL only problem.

i agree

The only reason that CFL teams have had to fold is the total lack of facilities in non-CFL cities. Does anyone believe either the Alouettes or the Rough Riders would have folded had there been stadiums in Halifax and London. The U.S. is a much bigger country which has allowed franchises other places to go when they have failed.

Frankly, I think for a fan that it's better to see your favorite team fold than move, cuz you resent the city and the fans they move to. You know what I'm saying?

Not true Kanga
Most Baseball fans I know follow Washington and all the ex-quebec hockey fans follow Colorado!

I agree with you. The expos folded. Plain and simple