Here is an excerpt from an article written by Dave Naylor regarding making the Negotiation List of CFL teams public:
"As most fans are aware, American CFL players enter the league through a process known as the negotiation list, a list of 35 players whose rights are protected by each CFL team. Teams can move a player on or off their negotiation list as they see fit, he can be a player anywhere in football, from a college freshman to an established NFL star.
So what's the problem? Well, the problem is the fans are shut out when it comes to this process. Neg lists are shared between the teams and registered with the league. But the fans, the people whose interest is what drives the sport, are kept in the dark.
So the question is: why?
It can’t be for competitive reasons because the lists are all shared among the teams.
And yet despite pressure from the media (led by yours truly and supported by others in the profession including such prominent broadcasters as Glenn Suitor), the league and its teams haven’t budged an inch on this issue.
And it’s really too bad for the league because the CFL is missing out on a great opportunity here.
In my own assessment, here’s how the CFL could benefit by making negotiation lists public for fans.
- One of the advantages of a draft is that it creates anticipation about a player arriving in a city. Because there is no draft for American players, the CFL gets none of that. Most teams issue a press release on a player's arrival the same day he shows up at practice for the first time, with little buzz or fanfare accompanying it. If fans knew which players were the CFL property of their teams, they’d have the opportunity to follow them and educate themselves about them before they arrive. A good example is what happened this season in Saskatchewan with former Texas Tech quarterback Graham Harrell. Somehow, word was leaked that Harrell was on Saskatchewan’s negotiation list weeks before he signed. That created some buzz around the league so that when Harrell actually showed up, it created a bit of a stir. Not every new player to the CFL is going to create that kind of attention. But let the fans decide who they should care about and who they shouldn’t."