Loophole in ratio?

NOTE: Please don't hijack this thread with a discussion of the pros and cons of the ratio / international rule / import rule. I'm only interested in discussing a possible loophole in the rule. If you want to discuss the merits of the rule, either start a new thread, or go to the existing 40 page thread on the Ticats forum.
Pros and cons of the import rule
I'm more than happy to discuss it, just not in this thread, please.

So, on to the loophole. How I tripped over this was when the Ticats decided to switch Whitlock from DT to FB. Fullback is normally a position filled by a national player, so I wondered how they would work this. Then I thought, perhaps they'll officially list him as starting at DT, but play him on offence. As a starter, he can come into the game at any time without restriction, on either side of the ball. And because he wouldn't be on the field on defence, a designated international could take his spot at DT without causing a ratio problem.

That got me thinking, what would stop teams from doing this with more players, e.g. list a few international receivers as starting DBs, or international DBs as starting receivers. I think that would allow them to play more internationals than the normal 16.

Are the Riders already doing this with Carter? I haven't noticed, but I wasn't looking for it.


There is no loop hole if you understand the ratio and the 44 man roster. If you start only 7 Nationals, means you have 16 import starting and the other 4 imports are Designated imports and can only replace a starting import.
Doesn't matter how the Riders list Carter on offence or defense, he is a starting import and not a designated import. If he wasn't listed as a starter he would be a DI and could only replace an import on offence or defense. All the field judge has to keep track of who are the 4 DI and make sure when they come in the ratio is intact. For teams like Winnipeg that use an import kicker and returner, those are two of the DI.

Let’s say the Riders declare that they’re starting 10 international on defence and 6 on offence (plus the QB), with Carter as one of the unrestricted internationals on offence. When he sits on offence, one of the DIs replaces him, so still 6 internationals on offence.

But because he’s a starter, not a DI, he can enter the game on defence without a starting international having to come off. So on defence, they can now play 11 internationals instead of the declared 10,with Carter replacing one of the two national players.

I don't have too much of a problem in the cases I mentioned, as both Carter and Whitlock do play the positions they are / could be listed as starters. But what if the players aren't even qualified for their depth chart position.

Now let's say a team lists both of their starting their international offensive tackles as starting at defensive tackle. Their regular DTs would be listed as DIs, but as the two "starters" aren't on the field, there's no ratio issue. But then on offence, the two defensive "starters" can come on unrestricted, so no need to take two other international players off. So that means the team could play two extra international players than their declared count on offence.

Is there a rule that would prevent teams from doing this? Do starters need to play at least some of the game at their declared starting position?

Is there a rule that would prevent teams from doing this? Do starters need to play at least some of the game at their declared starting position?
I'm not well versed in all the nuances of the ratio rule but my guess is that whatever starting position internationals play at, declared I guess, doesn't matter in the least for how the ratio rule operates. Move from here to there whatever, just conform to the rule, end of story. To me it's about numbers rather than where's sort of thing. You conform to the numbers regardless of players playing on offence of defence or changing throughout a game, nothing else matters. Just taking this from the CFL.ca site as below with this information and I see nothing that internationals need to play at least some of the game at their declared starting position. Nothing to do with internationals starting at offence or defense. Unless I'm missing something.
Each team may have a maximum of 44 players, including 3 players who shall be identified as quarterbacks and 41 other players, of whom not more than 20 may be international players.

Each team must establish a reserve roster of 2 players. These 2 players may be national or international players.

Roster Breakdown
Nationals Internationals Quarterbacks Reserve Total
Min. 21 Max. 20 3 2 46

Each team may dress a 44-man active roster consisting of:

3 QBs (no designation)
Maximum of 20 international players (4 of which must be identifed as designated internationals)
Minimum of 21 national players

The four designated international players are players who can play on special teams OR replace an international starter (they cannot start).

Of the 24 starters on a team, a minimum of seven starters will be nationals players. When applied to a starting roster of a team it breaks down as follows (when using the minimum number of national players):

1 QB
16 international players
7 starting national players

The following Players shall be classified as National Players (formerly non-import):
(a) Canadian citizens at the time of signing of the Player’s first contract;
(b) A Player classified as a non-import prior to May 31st, 2014; OR
© A Player who was physically resident in Canada for an aggregate period of five (5) years prior to attaining the age of eighteen -18- years.

A Player is classified as an International Player (formerly import) if the Player is one other than one referred to in the definition of a National Player (formerly non-import).

Wow. The import rule is even more complex than I ever could've imagined.

The designated import thing is totally weird. The league should simplify this stuff, how many people even know about all of this who watch the CFL regularly? :-\ :-\ :-\

Teams probably have to hire coaching/gm staff who are better versed and intelligent on this stuff rather than their true abilities of coaching or managing. 8)

Hey, I want to make sure Canadians have roster positions and that the Canadian draft actually means something but please, simplify this thing CFL. Seems a bit wacky tacky the way it is now. :-\

The fans are not required to understand it at all. Only the coaches need to.

And the officials.

And I'm thinking the designated international concept actually makes it a lot easier for the officials to monitor. It means they only have to watch for four players per team. The only thing I can think of that might make it easier would be having something on the uniform to identify the starting internationals, allowing the officials to spot who's off for the incoming DI.

Actually, it's quite simple. Teams identify the 16 unrestricted internationals (aka starters), indicating which ones are on offence vs. defence. Those players can come in on any play on either side of the ball. The other four are the designated internationals, who can come in on any special teams play, and on any other play as long as one of the unrestricted players on that side of the ball is on the bench for each DI on the field. That's it. (OK, there is an additional part to deal with serious injuries, but that's just handled by the officials during the game.)

The loophole is where a team says a player is a starter on the opposite side of the ball to where he actually plays. Teams have probably used it with two-way players in the past, but I'm pretty sure no team has tried the total abuse with one-way players. I suspect the league might squawk if a team did try it, and might force them to change their depth chart submission prior to the game. But technically, it's legal - unless there is a rule somewhere preventing it. I don't see it in the CBA, where the rule is actually defined.

CatsFaninOttawa: You have convinced me that you are onto something. My guess is that there is no loophole, but I cannot justify my guess. Someone smarter will need to explain why your theory is untrue.

The actual wording of the rule from the CBA (when it finally gets past all the definitions and counts):

The designated Internationals shall only be allowed to participate on the special teams; provided however, a designated International may be directly substituted to replace another International Player provided the said International Player being replaced is on the same side (offensive or defensive) that the designated International will be playing on.

The designated International may replace any other International Player during the game on either side of the ball on the understanding that the Player that he replaces may not re-enter that game.

Nothing anywhere in the section about stating where the unrestricted international players have to play.

Sounds like the type of loophole that O’Shea or C. Jones would take advantage of.

At any rate, all teams seem to have this under control as you don't see, if ever, a penalty agains't a team for not complying with the rule, in fact I don't think I've ever seen this happen for as many decades as I've been watching the CFL. Has anybody ever seen an infraction called with the ratio rule? :-\

I've seen it called once that I remember. I know the Riders got away with it a couple of years ago, and were fined a few weeks later after it was pointed out to the league. So yes, teams are managing it as best they can to avoid the penalty.

But what I'm referring to wouldn't be a penalty, as it appears to adhere to the rules, even though it goes against the intent of the rule.