Wednesday, 2 January 2013

The Neg List and Bowl Games

We know Clemson's Tajh Boyd is on Hamilton's neg list, but some think we should know every player on every team's neg list.
For as long as I can remember, New Year's Day has always been one of my favourite days. Not because it's a day off from work or anything like that, but because I get to sit my butt on the couch and enjoy 12 hours of college football. New Year's Day is easily one of my top five favourite days on the sporting calendar (maybe even my No. 1 favourite).

This year had a little more interest for me, as a Tiger-Cat fan, because Hamilton's 2012 draft pick Courtney Stephen was playing for Northern Illinois in the Orange Bowl. It was kind of neat to know that a future Tiger-Cat was playing on one of the biggest stages in US college football, even if he didn't see the field a lot (I saw him a couple of times on special teams).

I know I'm not alone in my love of college football and Canadian football. There are others out there who love both games as well, and if Twitter is any indication, they wish they could experience what Tiger-Cat fans experienced with Stephen.
While I don't disagree with this, I also don't agree with it either. It would be great to sit down and watch the Outback Bowl or the Chick-fil-A Bowl or Rose Bowl knowing which players might be headed to the CFL. But as we learned with the whole Tim Tebow stuff last month, knowing who's on a neg list isn't always a good thing.

The secrecy of certain aspects of the CFL, like player salaries, is something that has been debated endlessly. Keeping neg lists private has been talked about in the past, but hasn't reached the level of discussion that the secrecy of player salaries.

I used to be among those that thought the league should just make neg lists public, but now I don't think it's necessary. And it was the Tebow stuff that made me realize it. Tebow was once on the Ti-Cats' neg list and that led to people like me talking about Tebow coming to the CFL. Then we found out Tebow was taken off Hamilton's list and put on Montreal's, and that, along with his play in New York with the Jets, led to another round of Tebow-to-the-CFL stuff (I won't link to it all, but just Google "Tim Tebow CFL" and you'll get plenty of results). A lot of time was spent discussing Tebow's CFL future and it was all a waste, especially after it was revealed that Tebow would never consider playing up here anyway.

And I suspect the same thing would happen if all neg lists were made public. We'd end up spending an inordinate amount of time talking about players that may never come to the CFL. Hamilton has already place Heisman trophy winner Johnny Manziel on their neg list and he's not eligible to leave Texas A&M until 2014 at the earliest. And he might be on their now, but could easily be taken off it tomorrow.

I understand fans wanting to know (fans want to know everything) and I understand members of the media wanting to know (they also want to know everything, but it's so they have stuff to talk/write about), but I don't think not knowing is a bad thing and it may even be a good thing. Not knowing might save us all the time of talking about some sophomore player at Temple who may never set foot in the CFL and hasn't even given a first thought, let alone a second one, to playing in Canada.

Those that want to see neg lists released usually say that they haven't seen any compelling evidence to not release them, but I counter by saying I haven't seen any compelling evidence to release them. I doubt either opinion will change; those entrenched on either side will stay right where they are. It doesn't look like the league will be changing their stance any time soon, so this probably won't be the last time this topic will be discussed.


  1. I thought it obvious that the reason salaries are not made public is that CFL players make relatively little money. It is not as though the CFL can ever outbid the NFL for players. Like it or not, the league is for those who cannot make the NFL. So following the Neg Lists is like wishing for players to fail but end up in the CFL because it is their last option.

    So yeah, I do not see a point in naming people who under commitment to play somewhere else. Only names that are interesting are those who currently are or expected to be free agents.

  2. Agree with you. I used to think that the names should also be released but now I feel it should be private with only 1 or 2 names sneaking out.

    For me it's because of 2 reasons. 1 is that the list probably changes all the time. 2 it would actually be a little bit embarassing if you are a guy trying to make an NFL roster and your name is on a cfl neg list, then dropped. I'm sure that guy would never hear the end of it. You can't even stay on the neg list in the CFL? It's just a little bit embarassing.