It’s now more apparent than ever that CFL fans and even the players need more information.
3DownNation‘s Justin Dunk reported recently that the league appears to be trying to help keep costs down in 2021 by trying to collude with each other. According to Dunk, there’s been work happening to try and get the teams to agree to spend only to the salary floor next season.
The league sent a statement to 3DownNation saying that it’s within the team’s rights to spend the minimum if they wish, blah, blah, blah.
Yes, of course, there’s nothing preventing a team from only spending to the league’s collectively negotiated floor. There’s nothing stopping all nine teams from independently coming to that conclusion on their own, but since I trust Dunk to only report the cold hard truth, the league trying to get them to do it is an entirely different issue.
No matter what you might think of Sportsnet’s Arash Madani, he is correct when he told the CKRM Sportscage that this would be collusion.
If the league wants to lower expenses in 2021 — which they will have to — they can start by looking at their own business operations. Once again, though, they seem to have their focus set on taking it out on the players, coaches and scouts — the ones who actually make the revenue possible.
Should everyone, including the players, coaches and scouts have to make some sacrifices to return to play next season? Absolutely. However, the players shouldn’t give in to anything until they are satisfied that the league and the teams have done everything possible on the business end.
Unfortunately, the coaches or scouts don’t have a say and have already seen their cap cut.
Here’s the thing — the CFL can still get away with colluding by making teams spend to the floor and no one would be the wiser.
Unlike the other professional sports leagues, player salaries and team salary cap information is not publicized. If not for Dunk’s report, it’s entirely possible we could have gone the entire season (if not longer) without ever knowing the league did this or attempted to do it.
All they would have to do is issue their usual news release stating that every team was cap compliant in 2021 and move on.
If we knew exactly how much players made or at least how much teams spent on salary then we’d know if something was up or not. If all nine teams all of a sudden decided to spend to the floor at the same time — and we would know about it by seeing the numbers — questions would be raised.
Is it possible that everything was on the up and up? Perhaps. It’s also possible that something nefarious was happening as well. Either way, without access to that information, we might never actually know for sure.
The good news is the history of this league suggests that it will be difficult to get all nine teams to agree to spend to the floor. There is a lot of disparity in the revenue between the league’s wealthiest teams and its neediest teams.
Either way, without all of the information, we’ll probably never know for sure. We’ll just have to take the league at its word.