In the wake of five positive tests at last year’s CFL Combine, the CFL and the CFLPA have announced changes to eligibility to rules for university, U.S. college and junior players who test positive for performance-enhancing drugs.
Under the new rules, any player who tests positive in the year leading up to being drafted or signed by a CFL team must sit out a year before being eligible to play. CIS players who test positive at the combine will have their draft year deferred a year.
The changes were announced in a joint release issued by the CFL and players’ association.
Last March, five players who attended the 2015 CFL Combine tested positive for banned substances. One of the five, linebacker Jonathan Langa, was drafted by the Ticats and played in 16 games last season. Two others, receivers Melvin Abankwah and Matthew Norzil, were signed by CFL teams but are currently free agents. Linrbacker Marvin Golding and defensive back Kayin Marchand-Wright also tested positive.
News of their positive tests was first reported by 3DownNation.
All five players had CIS eligibility remaining, but were banned from competition for four years by the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (CCES) which handles testing for the CIS and the combine, effectively ending their university careers. Langa did not miss any playing time due his positive test.
While the CFL has announced changes to its drug testing program for players entering the league, it hasn’t tested current CFL players for over eight months after cutting ties with the CCES – only lab in Canada accredited by the World Anti-Doping Agency – after the organization criticized what it said is a lax drug testing policy by the league.