Please submit your questions for the commissioner in this topic!

Hey folks - as many of you know, we've been doing a weekly live show called #CFLThisWeek on and Twitter. In addition to the existing show, the commissioner has asked the folks at CFL HQ to look into creating a segment in which he directly read and answers questions from the general public - tough questions he can deep dive into.

We're not really sure if this is a segment that'll last 5 minutes or 50 (requiring its one separate live show maybe), if we'll answer 1 question in depth or slam through 20 questions, if we'll be making this a weekly or monthly or ad-hoc scheduled thing. So lots of stuff to work out before we go live with this. But what we would like to do is start gathering questions that you'd like answered by the commissioner. So please start adding your questions to this topic!

Personally, I'd encourage questions that are specific over general. For example, a specific question would be "Why did the league think it was necessary to add defensive pass interference to the list of challengeable calls?" instead of a general "Why are there so many penalties?" though of course if that's truly the question you want to ask, ask it.

After a week or so I'll gather up all of the submitted questions and submit them to the content team here at CFL HQ; they'll have to figure out the logistics of all of this and when it goes live. It should be interesting!

I have a question or 2 or 3...

Is there any chance we could get a game or two on CTV instead of always on TSN?

Since taking the job, has there been anything that shocked you (either good or bad) about the Leagues finances?

Do you expect an increase in TV money, in 2021, when the current contract expires?

I'll echo the sentiment above:

Any push by the league to get a consistent weekly timeslot on CTV for a game of the week?

I'd suggest 4pm saturday, as not to compete with the blue jays saturday afternoon games during the summer or hockey night in canada during the fall. 4pm is also a great time across all the timezones - 1pm for vancouver homegames or 4pm for montreal homegames, thus no problems for whomever is hosting and perfect for tv audiences coast to coast (No falling asleep during Lions home games ).

Also, will the league ever make thanksgiving weekend a showcase for secondary rivalries and thus a REAL classic - Stamps at Saskatchewan, Tiger-Cats at Ottawa, Alouettes at Toronto, Eskimos at Vancouver?

Given that the league wanted to eliminate the fishing challenges, which were mostly looking for illegal contact on a receiver, wouldn’t a better change have been to rule on illegal contact based on what’s in the rulebook? According to the rulebook, the defender is allowed to fend off contact initiated by the receiver, but we’ve seen this called against the defender almost every time. Had these been ruled on correctly, and perhaps even called as a penalty against the offence (illegal block downfield), these fishing challenges probably would have disappeared completely.

Question 1:
Is the eye in the sky still in place, and if so, how many plays have they brought to attention this season and of those, how many have been changed. I recall one or two early in the season, but not much since.

Question 2:
Defensive PI is called pretty liberally, which is fine, but it seems that offensively there are no consequences for contact. Do you feel that this is something that should be explored more?

Question 3:
In the past, you have indicated that a better balanced schedule is key. Are there any specifics you have in mind for that? It is obviously difficult with 9 teams and some who are not the primary tenant, and a team is always going to get the shaft on 3 games in a short span, but the bye weeks are incredibly out of balance.

Question 4:
If there is an influx of SMS (cap increase) in the next CBA do you want to push to have the base increased more instead of the bulk going to the premier players? The increase to those players is nice, but they are still going to go south if the NFL calls, meanwhile, many snub offers to even come to the CFL based on base pay. It is difficult to leave your country for 55 grand a year and then take home 75% of that with exchange no matter how passionate about the game you are.

Secondly on this, it seems that the shorter practice weeks have adversely effected play, especially early in the season. Would it not be a seemingly good idea to try to offer the CFLPA more money now to buy that back? Simply put a tiered structure on it as a condition, so that it goes to the base and the % raise gets gradually smaller the more one already makes so that those making 200+ get little to nothing in a raise. The tiered approach would mean that lower paid players would not leap over others in pay.

Question 5:
I know many want to start the regular season earlier, but there are obvious issues with that.

  • Earlier start means NFL cuts are not going to be as available. This would be felt for one season, really.
  • Competition with the huge draw of the NHL. Really, they are over by mid June. It does put the league's playoffs in contention with a potential late surge Blue Jays.
  • The draft. Obviously, player availability is a huge issue in this one. But could one not think outside of the box on this instead? Start the season before the draft and have the draft early in the season. This gives more time to look at what shifts might happen with the NFL. This means that draft picks would be coming in after camp, but there can be a positive on that. Make the drafted players cap exempt for the first season (with a cap on pay to mitigate shenanigans), so long as they don't end up on the game day. This give the team the remainder of the season to have the player work with the club and get a really good evaluation and potential development. This extended time seems like a route that has potential to nurture a few more Nationals long term. I know this concept would be way outside of the box.

Can we have ex players or coaches making the judgement calls on the challenges. Someone who know and understands the game.

Is there a possibility to make the referees full time employees, in order to train them more, and have them devote more time to doing their jobs properly?

Are there any discussions about ways to more equitably deal with playoff seeding, either with a move to 1 division or moving to an unbalanced schedule if staying with 2 divisions?

Video review has been identified as a problem, is anyone reviewing the calls being made by the people in front of those videos as to whether or not they are capable of carrying out the reviews?

Any chance of reviewing what is reviewable and scaling back to scoring plays and possession? Eliminating all other calls or at least judgement calls? Or bringing in stricter guidelines for reviewing judgement calls of players actions (PI, Roughing The Passer) committed at full speed but reviewed in slo-mo or frame by frame?


Is there any talk of including quarterbacks in the ratio?

I know they were originally excluded because the backup would have to be one of the designated internationals. But what about including them in the roster count while still excluding them from the starter count? Basically, teams would get an extra designated international for every national quarterback they have, and quarterbacks could still be substituted freely.

Are there any plans, talks with potential owners about expansion? Much of the leagues scheduling issues can be resolved with at minimum one more Eastern team. Perfect world would be 12 teams. Expanded to NORTHERN usa if need be to get to 12 teams 6 East 6 West. Potential Cities Maritimes, Quebec City, Windsor/Detroit, London, Portland, Hartford, St. Louis (scorned by NFL usually works aka Baltimore) etc. Please do not expand to Shrevport, Memphis. Also no more using NFL/NCAA stadiums that cant fit a CFL field.

Can we please get rid of the Canadian ratio? At least reduce it so we can bring up the best talent available without limitations. At minimum get rid of the on field ratio please. Have a ratio for practice roster players and let the CIS drafts earn playing time.

is it possible to have the CFL schedule bye weeks so that all teams get their 1st bye before any team gets their 2nd bye ?
with Ottawa receiving their 2 bye's in the last 3 weeks of the regular season, ( weeks 18 and 20 ) IMHO it is not fair to them or the other teams in the CFL.

I know this question won`t make the cut, but I feel a lot better getting it off my chest.

Are you reevaluating the work of Glen Johnson, who now in his 4th year as Vice President of Officiating has failed to establish any consistency in either referee penalty calls or command centre decisions?

Hey Sully,

I’m just asking questions please don’t scrub my post.

Question #1

Will the league look into retaining the referee uniforms(red stripe) introduced for the Canada 150 celebrations? Perhaps altering the 150 sleeve logo w/ a charity logo(Purolator Tackle Hunger or something along those lines).They look sharp and distinctive.

Question #2

Will the league(with the cooperation of U Sports and Football Canada) formulate a response to protect the leagues rules(field size, yard off the ball, 5 yard halo around returner, 20 second clock) from being stolen appropriated by the NFL or NCAA?
Both of those organizations are looking to make their game more appealing to participants and audience for future growth.These are multi-billion dollar global entities that have proven to be disreputable questionable in their day-to-day business practices.What is the strategy to protect the CFL’s intellectual properties from being poached in a Globalist Free Trade World? Does NAFTA protect the league?

Question #3

Will the league look into adding an additional bye week extending the season to 21 weeks in the next
labor negotiations? The additional week off could be very beneficial to players health and the quality of
the game.The players training, nutrition, and physical compositions are changing rapidly leading to more injuries.

Question #4

Will the league look to encourage Bell Media about offering an equity stake to MLSE in the Argonauts sometime this offseason? Perhaps sub-licensing a 20 game package to Sportsnet on Sundays(night games in summer and day games in the fall) to sweeten the pot. Rogers no longer has a broadcast/business relationship with the NFL and this could only be beneficial to all sides to grow the game in Toronto.Let’s end this Cold War once and for all.

Question #5

Will you take a more proactive approach towards expansion? The last ten years has seen four potential markets have fits and starts toward that end(Moncton- TouchDown Atlantic, Halifax - Don Gardiner’s interest in building a stadium in Dartmouth, Quebec City - Marc Bellemare’s group that was scuttled by Laval University, Saskatoon - SaskTel Centre management looked at the potential for a stadium.John Graham’s group, On Ice Events, is currently looking to build a 7000 seat soccer stadium.Why not reach out to the local governments to get a read on the situation? The template to build a stadium that meets several stakeholders(CFL, CPL, Soccer Canada, USPORTS, LiveNation)needs exists in Montreal’s Saputo Stadium.The stadium only cost 45 million to build and works effectively for it’s purpose.If you want to grow, you have to grow.

Question #6

Disney Corporations CEO Bob Iger, announced last week a new dedicated ESPN OTT application that will debut in the U.S market in spring of 2018. He mentioned that this app will allow subscribers to buy dedicated league only passes.Will you continue with the status quo heading into the last year of the broadcast rights contract or will you recommend that they go online only? The current contract
allows for a somewhat inconsistent broadcast schedule, while online only guarantees the metrics info
for the future.What are your thoughts on this matter?

Question #7
The league’s media rights deal with Bell media expires in 2021.What are your thoughts on potential suitors(Amazon, Apple, Disney, Bell, Rogers, Telus) in that timeframe? Would you be open to the idea of selling 5-10% equity stakes in the CFL’s dedicated streaming platform to ensure said such partnerswould have a vested interest in the app and league’s success?

I hope not
1)I don't really don't like them

  1. Its quite annoying to see the refs call a penalty in Ottawa's favour, when they are wearing Red & Black :stuck_out_tongue:

It would only be 21 weeks if you had a week where everyone was off

Can we please increase the number of Canadian players required, both in the roster as a whole and in the number of starters?

(To see what a hot topic this is, and that there is no agreement among fans, you may want to take a look at this thread on the Ticats forum.)

Would the league consider removing the on field ratio of 7 Canadians?

Keeping the team ratio would be an natural constraintand the fear of Canadians not playing would not be substantiated in fact.

It lets the coaches coach and not try to juggle the on field ratio after injury or other.Also changes the draftso the focus will be on the best Canadiansand not the best Lineman.May help in protecting the QB's the stars of the league by placing less qualified players sub to a position they may notbe familiar with.Could also have a positiveaffect on perception in the bigger centersknowing the best players on a team play.

Suggestion alsowith the 2designated imports per team moving them to the active roster.Would let the current Canadian teams to be in a position to compete if US expansion were to ever happen again. Justderiving plans and may never happen but you neverknow.

Some really great questions in here, folks. I won't be doing any filtering/scrubbing of questions - at most I'll combine repeated questions, but it's not for me to decide what the commissioner wants to tackle.

Re: Player ratio, no need to debate it in this thread. I'll include both "increase the ratio" and "remove the ratio" as questions and someone else can decide.

Perfect. That's what I was going for by replying to the original question / recommendation with the opposite.


My apologies because I know that I have mentioned this a few times in the past, but what about the idea of the league offering any city willing to contribute a set amount to constructing a stadium a guaranteed opportunity to host 3 or 4 Grey Cups over a 7 to 10 year span? The taxes generated from the economic activity generated from hosting would help contributing governments recoup their investments. It would help in swaying public opinion on government investment in a stadium. Events like the Olympics and FIFA World Cup generate public support for investment in facilities. The NFL has granted Super Bowls to cities that have built new stadiums. The NHL, MLB, and NBA have given All-Star Games to cities building new facilities.
It would still be good pr for the league even if it didn't lead to any new facilities.