Longtime CFL coach Mike Benevides: ‘money belongs in the players’ pockets’

Photo courtesy: Scott Grant/CFLPhotoArchive.com

Mike Benevides has been coaching in the CFL for 20 years and believes the players deserve to be paid an increased cut of the revenues.

The average pro football career lasts approximately three years, which is a small window for players to earn money. Most of the time playing days in football end abruptly and without notice.

“Certainly the economics have changed. When you talk about the economics, it belongs in the players’ pockets,” Benevides said on The Rod Pedersen Show.

“When the season was cancelled back on August 17, it’s still on my calendar, it still pisses me off. There’s heartbreak, there’s disappointment but it’s the players you feel the worst for and it goes bigger and bigger when you look at the dynamic of where the league is going to go.”

The founder of 3DownNation, Drew Edwards, did some cocktail napkin math in 2018 when the CFL salary cap was $5.2 million; multiply that by nine teams and the total is $46.8 million. That’s 22.3 per cent of the reported $210 million in CFL revenues.

“I’ve always spoken the truth and the way I see it, it belongs in the players’ pockets. They’re the product, they’re the guys that put it on the field, they have a short window to make the money that they can and so it belongs in their pockets,” Benevides, the Ottawa Redblacks’ defensive coordinator, said.

In North American pro sports, player compensation is often tied to league revenue. While formulas for what is and isn’t included can be convoluted, NHL players receive approximately 50 per cent of revenues, NBA players get between 49 and 51 per cent, and NFL players get between 46.5 and 48 per cent. The MLB is also around 50 per cent.

Financial information for CFL teams is hard to come by. While Edmonton, Saskatchewan and Winnipeg are community-owned and produce public financial statements every year, the other six teams are privately held and aren’t required to release any numbers at all.