Monday Mailbag: COVID-19 vaccine requirements, CFL/XFL free agency, status of 2021 season

The 3DownNation Monday Mailbag answers questions from readers across the country every week.

You can submit a question via email ([email protected]) or direct message on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

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We’ve answered a handful of questions below. If your question didn’t get picked, don’t panic — we’ll save it to potentially answer here next week or on the 3DownNation Podcast.

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I run a Riders fan page and have a question. Once people are allowed back into stadiums do you have to have a vaccine to enter? A lot of Rider fans aren’t getting it and are wondering as a lot have said if they have to they won’t be going to any games and canceling their season tickets as well.

-Barrie McCulloch

Thanks for the question, Barrie.

The Riders have said they’ll be ready to host at least their season ticket holders at games this season. It’s likely that Saskatchewan will reach stage three of its re-opening plan by the start of the season, which could even mean we see capacity crowds in the summer.

I’ve yet to hear or read anything regarding a vaccine requirement for CFL games. The Saskatchewan Roughriders did not reply when asked for comment on this specific issue.

For what it’s worth, experts across the country, the Riders, and George Reed have all encouraged Canadians to get vaccinated as soon as possible. Take that for what it’s worth.

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The only way I can see the CFL/XFL merger ever working south of the border is if the U.S. XFL teams move closer to the Canadian border so fans from Canada and the USA could attend the rival games. Teams thrive due to good rivalries. It’s hard for Ottawa, Winnipeg or Hamilton to have a rivalry with teams in Dallas, Sacramento or Florida.

-Kenny Barker

Thanks for the message, Kenny.

One of the reasons a merger is being considered between the CFL and XFL is the gambling and television money that it could generate. Those revenue streams are coveted because they’re not tied to game-day — the money would flow regardless of ticket sales, concessions, and parking fees.

With that said, I see where you’re coming from. I’ve spoken with a number of personnel people who have raised concerns about recruiting and retaining American talent if the leagues merge. If you’re a receiver from Houston, would you rather play in the southern U.S. or spend half the year in Regina, Winnipeg or Edmonton?

There are other benefits to playing in the south where many top American football players are born and raised. Florida, Texas, and Tennessee have no state income tax, which helps players maximize their net income. The weather is nicer in the south as well, though this is less of a factor with the CFL season likely to be moved up.

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It’s only 8 weeks till the CFL kick-off. Are there any updates on fan attendance, training camps and schedule?

-John Kerby

Thanks for the question, John.

The CFLPA recently released a memo to its membership outlining some of these details. Essentially, it informs players that they must quarantine at home for one week starting on June 25 before traveling to their CFL cities. They will then complete another week of quarantine after arriving on July 2.

Training camp would then start on July 10 with the regular season beginning on August 5. It is likely that no preseason games will be played.

A final decision regarding the start of the 2021 season will be delivered by June 14. From what I’ve heard, there’s a good chance that things will go ahead as planned.

The new schedule will be out shortly — likely this week.

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