Opt-out date for 2021 CFL draft prospects set for end of November

Photo courtesy: Lehigh Athletics

The opt-out date for the 2021 CFL draft has officially been set.

The league recently announced a number of changes to next year’s draft due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. One of these changes allows prospects to defer their draft year from 2021 to 2022, using the extra season to extend their U Sports or NCAA eligibility.


What was not outlined in the initial details from the league was the date by which players had to notify the CFL of their decision to opt out.

3DownNation has learned that this date is Monday, November 30 at 11:59 p.m. ET, which has been confirmed by a league spokesperson. This means that prospects have approximately three weeks to make their decision about whether to remain part of the 2021 draft class or defer to 2022.

Photo courtesy: Lehigh Athletics

There are many factors that will go into making this decision.

For some prospects, it makes sense to reach the professional level as quickly as possible. Whether they’re looking to capitalize on a strong 2020 season or are older than most of their draft-eligible peers, these prospects would be wise to remain part of the 2021 CFL draft class.

There’s also the element of competition. If the 2022 draft class is already deep at a particular position, players may want to avoid deferring in order to prevent their stock from falling.

There are also many valid reasons for prospects to defer.


Having another year on scholarship is great for players who want to complete their coursework or pursue graduate programs. There may also be opportunities for prospects to transfer to schools where they are more likely to generate NFL interest after playing against higher levels of competition.

The element of competition also works in reverse. If the 2021 draft class is loaded at a particular position, it makes sense for players to opt out. Deferring to 2022 could raise their stock automatically simply due to being part of a weaker position group.

Prospects have until the end of the month to decide if they’ll remain part of the 2021 draft class or defer by a year to 2022. As always, 3DownNation will be on top of the news regarding which players decide to opt in or opt out of the upcoming CFL draft.

John Hodge is a CFL insider and draft analyst who has been covering the league since 2014.