Football: (Probably not) the final word on CFL and Canadian starters

TSN's Sportscentre ran a piece Tuesday night on the CFL's lead balloon of an idea to reduce the number of required Canadian starters from seven to four per team.

Lalji had reaction from all sides, including a Canadian player with NCAA pedigree (B.C. Lions rush end Brent Johnson), a CIS alumnus (Lions linebacker Javier Glatt), a coach in the pros (Wally Buono), a CIS coach (Calgary's Blake Nill) and a veteran U.S. player (Lions safety Barron Miles).

Naylor also tied this to the league's collective bargaining talks and the prospect of expansion watering down the Canadian talent pool.

Please excuse the bullet points, but here are a few prevailing thoughts.
  1. One angle columnists should take, instead of going for the easy score by making it a motherhood issue, is to compare the CFL's import rules with other domestic leagues throughout the world. I'm working the Google on the Internet machine to try to find up-to-date info.

  2. The reason this angered people is the CFL wraps itself in the flag when it's good for business, then implies it doesn't want as many Canadian starters. Talk about a mixed message.

  3. It's a little rich to see people say Canadians "make this league what it is." It's all a rich tapestry, but that sells the Americans who come here and embrace the league short. Americans have been most of the league's most popular players over past 30 years, thinking of players such as Gizmo Williams, Kent Austin, Matt Dunigan, Bobby Jurasin, Henry Burris, Milt Stegall and Mike Pringle.

  4. Nill noted CIS players are able to develop into starters faster than five, 10 years ago. Saskatchewan wideout Rob Bagg has become a starter in his second season, while other receivers from who preceded at Queen's weren't able to get such a foothold.

  5. The league talking about reducing requirements to start Canadians, but didn't say anything about the import ratio. In that case, Canadians would just have to earn it and teams which develop ratio-busters likely be rewarded. If memory serves the two first-place teams, Montreal and Saskatchewan, are starting more Canadians than required, including traditionally import-dominated positions such as middle linebacker, where UBC alum Shea Emry and St. FX's Mike McCullough have had good seasons..

Report: CFL considering reducing number of Canadian starters
(Farhan Lalji and David Naylor, TSN)
Canadian content a must for CFL (Terry Koshan, Sun Media)
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