Pros and cons of import rule

Ok, in an effort to avoid having another thread hijacked by the import rule debate, I am starting this thread for that topic. And I am copying the latest posts from the Quinlan thread here to kickstart it.

Personally, as you can probably tell from the sarcastic tone of the post of mine that I copied from the otrher thread, I support the import rule; however, I do think it is something that is worthy of discussion. Just not in every second thread on the forum.

I think you are correct that the top non-imports are making more than they would if there weren't an import rule. But that probably only applies to a few players per team, not to all non-imports. So what is the impact of this on a team's total player salary? Maybe a couple hundred thousand, or around 5% of the total team salary. Not a huge deal, in my opinion.

And of course having to have a specified number of non-imports on the team, and having to have a specified number of non-imports on the field means that a team might have to pass on a few star imports and play a few players of possibly lesser abilities just because they are non-imports. But then those non-imports of lesser abilities probably aren't making as much as those star imports you're talking about, and the salary cap would prevent the team from having them all on the roster anyway.

There is also the draw, the fan interest in the local player. How much more interest is there in a team when some of the players, especially those in the "skill positions", are players who the fans have watched play for the local colleges and/or high schools? How many more tickets were sold because Morreale, Hitchcock, Lumsden, Stala, etc. were on the team? I know you two don't care about this, but a lot of fans do. In fact, I'd like to see a third category introduced to the import rules, where a specified number of players must be not only Canadian, but regional. I think that would increase interest in teams even more.

Lowering the number of imports required on a team, as Mikem recommends for when Ottawa enters the league, would almost eliminate non-imports from all of the "skill positions". As it is now, most teams only start three, maybe four non-imports in these positions; the remainder are on the lines. Drop the non-import starter count, and it's not the linemen that'll be dropped; it'll be the receivers and defensive backs. I know there are some fans who focus on the linemen when they watch a game, but I suspect that most watch the skill players more. So much for cheering on our Canadian boys.

Personally, I find the import rules annoying. I wish we could eliminate them. I wish we could say "Let the best players play" and be done with it. If it were eliminated, though, I don't think there would be very many Canadians left in the game. Some of the current players would be good enough, but I think most wouldn't. Even the ones that could be good if given a shot wouldn't be given a shot, because there would always an import that could be better sooner.

So you'd end up with a game that's played only in Canada, but mostly by people who aren't from Canada and never played our game before, while those who spent years playing the game would only be able to watch them. It doesn't make sense. I'd rather have mandated CanCon than that.

What I wish we could have is more resources and effort put into pre-CFL development so that there is enough Canadian talent that the import rules essentially become irrelevant. Every team could have 9 or 10 NI starters, for example, so that if one goes down due to injury, there would be no need bench a star import in order to satisfy the non-import starter requirement.

The CFL could take some leadership in this regard. In fact, they have already to an extent, with the program that the TiCats have used in the last couple of years where Sinopoli and Quinlan participated in their training camps. I don't think it strained the team's resources too much, and both QBs went on to excel afterwards. Maybe it's just a coincidence, but it makes me wonder how much could be accomplished if more promising CIS players had access to the same opportunities.

I'm not informed enough about the state of amateur football in Canada to know whether or not it's possible to make things significantly better than they are, though.

I am a supporter of the import rules.
IMHO the rules will have to be softened with Ottawa and future expansion to possibly Quebec and probably Moncton or Halifax.
On a 42 man game day roster 20 must be Canadians,19 Imports and 3 QB's.
This means that we must find another 20 Canadians to play for Ottawa when we clearly have trouble getting enough for our
existing rosters now.
A number of Canadians will be announcing their retirement soon.
If we add 2 more teams after Ottawa we will have to field another 40 Canadians.
In my research I cannot find that the CFL financially supports the CIS or pays teams for players drafted from university to help support their football programs.(and please correct me if I am wrong)

Each team may dress a 42-man active roster consisting of:

•3 QBs (no designation)
•19 imports
•20 non-imports
The 19 imports break down as follows:

•16 imports
•3 Designated Imports
The three designated imports are players who can play on special teams OR replace an import starter (they cannot start).

Of the 24 starters on a team, a minimum of seven starters must be non-imports. When applied to a starting roster of a team it breaks down as follows (when using the minimum number of non-import players):

•1 QB
•16 starting imports
•7 starting non-imports

Yes, once all these teams are in the league, there will be 60 more Canadian players required. But only 21 of these will be starters; the other 39 of these will be backups / ST players. Of the 21 starters, I would expect that only 9 of these would be receivers or DBs, with the rest being linemen, LBs, or FBs, with the occasional RB. I don't think teams would have too much problem filling the 51 non-receiver / DB NI positions; the issue is those 9 "skill position" players, IMO.

But I don't see this as a huge problem either. There are quite a few NI free agents out there who got cut from teams at the end of training camp. And a bunch on PRs too. Yes, they got cut or placed on PR because they weren't quite as good as the other NI players on the team. Significantly worse? No. It's not like the players who aren't on a team are horribly bad, but just are maybe half a step slower, a split second behind in reads and cuts. I don't think anyone would even notice the difference.

Its a stupid rule…
Most casual fans who watch the game don’t even know about this rule. If you want to keep Canadians in the league thats fine but they should drop the number required by at least 5 or 6.

Love the rule, not stupid at all if you respect and understand the history of the Canadian game and league. If you don't respect and understand this, well, then time to do some reading and thinking.

Do most casual listeners of the radio and television understand CanCon rules? Probably not but it is because of those rules that our young budding Canadian artists who are darn good get some air play when they wouldn't else otherwise and then never flourish into their potential. Same goes with the Canadian Football Leaugue, it's awesome that this rule allows our budding athletic football stars to reach their potential and vie for the Canadian trophy in a country they grew up in.

On my original post I said that we could keep the total ratio - 8 teams x 20 NIs = 160 total
When Ottawa enters the league each team would start 18 NIs or 162 total, therefore each team could start two more Imports without affecting the present Canadian Content in fact we will have two more. I'm not saying eliminate the quota but let's be resonable, there are just not enough good Canadian players to have another 20 starters when Ottawa enters the league.

Let's not make it too easy for Canadian players, let them play and compete for positions. One of the best QBs ever to play the game Russ jackson a McMaster grad beat out Ron Lancaster in Ottawa, he competed and won the postion without any rules.
He probably could have set all kinds of records in the CFL but left early to concentrate on being a High school principal.
I think it's more of an incentive for Canadian kids to try out and win a position without them thinking i'm only making this team because it's a Canadian position.
I have confidence in my fellow Canadians I think they should be allowed to compete one on one and if they are good enough they should make the team.

I'll simply restate some of the points that have been posted earlier on this subject. First and foremost, teams should not be forced to use inferior football players simply to fill an arbitrary non-import quota. The rule is counter-productive in that it prevents teams from fielding the best available players and, in turn, the quality of the on-field product suffers. Why any league would mandate a roster rule that essentially forces its teams to field a lower quality product than would otherwise be achievable is beyond me. You are trying to sell your product to new generations of fans who have many other sports entertainment options available to them now, especially in Southern Ontario. And, as mentioned in Bruce Dowbiggin's Usual Suspects column in the Globe & Mail earlier this week, these fans feel no obligation whatsoever to support a league or a sport simply because it's Canadian. They demand what they believe to be the best quality product for their entertainment dollar and that's the way it should be.
This is not about being anti-Canadian or not wanting to see Canadian (non-import) players in the CFL. I would have as much pride and respect as any other Canadian when a Canadian player legitimately earns a roster position and is successful against the best available talent. However, I have no reason to be filled with pride when watching obviously under-talented players who are on the team and on the field simply to fill the roster quota. It simply serves no useful purpose to the game IMO.
I'll put it this way: The Queen's Plate is a truly Canadian sporting institution and an event that has been around longer than the CFL or its forerunner, the Canadian Rugby Football Union. To my knowledge, the Queen's Plate does not insist that any of the horses in the race be Canadian-owned, Canadian-bred or of Canadian extraction. They simply wish to showcase the best available, whether Canadian bred or not, and allow the fans to be entertained accordingly. There would be no useful purpose served by forcing plow horses to run against thoroughbreds simply to satisfy an arbitrary Canadian content rule. And so it should be with the CFL. It is the field and the rules which make the CFL brand uniquely Canadian - not the players. Let the best available players play to best showcase the CFL game.

You and me are on different wavelengths seymour. Without a Canadian draft that mean't anything since so few Canadians would be playing, that would be a joke. Just ship in a bunch of Americans for all the roster spots, a true minor league rather than a league running itself. I'd be outta there.

Imagine 95 percent of the players in the league vying for a trophy they never heard of. Another joke. I'll take a slightly inferior talent level with mandating enough Canadians to keep the Canadian in the CFL. Queen's Plate doesn't have that in it's title. And what is the history of it? At one time in the CFL or it's predessor I believe, all players had to be Canadian or were Canadian. That's the way one part of me wishes it to remain. The Vanier Cup wasn't bad for a bunch of crappy Canucks as you allude to what they are talent wise on the gridiron, far from it.

The best players do play now in the CFL under the rules, the best Canadians (other than a spoonful who make the NFL) and the best Americans who don't know what the Grey Cup is growing up in the US.

It is the field and the rules which make the CFL brand uniquely Canadian - not the players.

In your opinion. In mine, the rule of the imports makes the CFL brand what it is, just like the field size, number of downs etc.

But admit this differs for everyone. I can tell you the people that trash the CFL now will continue to do so for the most part IMHO should the league truly become a "parachute in Americans" league on a plane more so than now without any meaningful draft. Without a meaningful draft, the league is a joke for me. I'll go to the CIS game for my Canadian football fix and try and encourage the Grey Cup to follow.

I never expected my opinion to be popular and that doesn't bother me. Diverse opinions get people thinking and sometimes real progress results.
I would rather be right than popular any day and I believe I am right on this issue.

Here is an example of where I think the CFL could be more involved.


Who knows how many of these kids will end up playing pro football somewhere, but there's a better chance that one of them will end up in the CFL than the NFL. So why is the NFL there, but not the CFL? I'm okay with the NFL being there (to an extent), but shouldn't the CFL be part of the event too? Did they get shut out, or did they just fail to show up? Are they involved in high school development in some other way?

Completely agree.
There are all kinds of rules that make the CFL unique and its own brand.

I'm with you, Earl.

I know you believe you are right, Seymour... you wouldn't have posted your opinion unless you felt it was right. And I agree with you that diversity of viewpoints is what makes for progress.

In this case, I believe Earl is right. I think the game of Canadian football is the whole package... the rules AND the ratio, plus the history and tradition. I don't think you can separate them and keep the rest as a coherent whole.

To me, take away the ratio and the way it would go inevitably over time would be something like this:

You'll have virtually all American players in a country they don't know playing a game they don't appreciate and who really just want to showcase themselves for a year or two and then move back home to their NFL dream and make some real money. They'll be coached by American coaches who are wondering why in the heck they should be forced to learn and then teach their American players about this foreign, funny football with things like rouges and no-yards calls and the live ball and all that other weird stuff that doesn't make any sense. No appeals to the heritage of our game will resonate with any of these folks, and why should it? It won't be long before they all get really fed up with this nonsense and clamour to play the good 'ol American variety of "real" football.

Once that happens, universities in Canada will switch to American football too, or more likely will cancel it altogether because there is no football future for their players after graduation so that interest in playing at that level will diminish. So much for the CFL promoting minor football in Canada.

At that point the CFL will become what I have long dreaded... "Triple A" football for the NFL (at least until another upstart American league comes along and relegates us to Double A).

Sound outlandish? Possibly. But I don't think so. I believe it would indeed be the future.

For my part, I'd rather watch Double A calibre Canadian football than Triple A American. In fact, I'd pay to see the former, but I would not watch or follow minor league American football at all. Especially played in my own country. I'd be embarrassed. I'll be like Earl... outa here. It'll be rugby for me then.

Rather than remove the ratio, I'd tighten it. Scrap the special category for QBs, reduce the rosters to 40 and say 21 per team must be Canadians... including Ottawa, and including any other expansion city. If the pool seems too thin, then reduce the rosters further... too hard to remember the names of all those backups anyway, much less their positions and personalities.

Vive la difference!

Why would a university cancel football?
There isn’t a future in Volleyball, basketball, soccer or any women’s sports yet almost all university’s have those.

Take away the ratio then just change to all American rules. And that is what will happen and using seymour's logic, I am right on this. :wink:

Now is that a "good" or "bad" thing to happen to the Canadian Football League? If someone can say either way they are "right" in this being "good" or "bad", then they are very intelligent indeed and can predict the future as well. :wink:

A sort of future or next goal for some university athletics is the Olympics or other international competitions I suppose. :?

I did a poll a while ago asking if the peeps wanted change to the ratio or the status quo.
Last I checked it was 86% in favour of status quo.
I only made it a dual choice, because weasels would figure the figures with anything 3 or more options.
The peeps spoke.
I saw Andrew Grigg flatten DBs at TC repeatedly.
Hitch, Jesse,Stala, and the two Lee's in high school and CIS.
Philbrick with the sword of death.
Rocky, Wally, and Rommel too!
The game is good, hard, exciting,and most importantly, Canadian.
Our rules, our field, our players, our neighbours, and our balls. (teabagin' ya USA )

Why would you want to change our rules to American rules???? What makes our league unique is:

Only professional league with all Canadian cities;
3 Downs;
Wider longer field;
Two extra players on the field;
No fair catch;
Motion in the backfield;

All of the above make the CFL more exciting and more entertaining (in my opinion)
However, the Canadian content rule at 20 starters is the only rule that doesn't make the play on the field any more exciting and hinders the entertainment value.

I don't understand why you would want to bring in American rules if we reduced the Canadian content.
As someone said above, the CIS basketball is quite exciting and we give scholarships to young guys coming out of high school to attend Canadian schools. CIS basketball hasn't collapsed, If they want to play for the Raptors they are going to have to compete for the job. Same with CIS soccer which is fairly huge now, more players and Canadian talent improving - no Canadian content in NASL but CIS has scholarships and does quite nicely.

Not saying I want to bring in American rules, quite the opposite. Just saying for me if 95 percent of the players are American and being flown in left right and center with no draft, and no Canadian draft because that would be a joke, what's the use, just change the game to American rules and make it easier for them. It's a done deal at that point, I know, again using seymours logic, that there will be a huge movement on part of the mainly American coaches as well to fully Americanize the Canadian Football League.

In your opinion it's simply entertainment value the CFL is, you seem to suggest so why waste time then explaining and having the players learn the Canadian game if hardly any of them grew up with it if no import rule and therefore the players are almost all American? sarcasm

Really, get on with it with no import rule, I see no point in keeping any of the rules Canadian after that because it's a done deal anyways.