CFL Pass

CFL gives up on having 2020 season

The Canadian Football League’s 2020 season was supposed to kick off on June 11. That didn’t happen because of the coronavirus pandemic, and now the CFL won’t play at all this year.

On Monday, the league announced it had decided to give up on 2020 and concentrate on being ready for 2021.

“We are absolutely committed to 2021, to the future of our league and the pursuit of our vision of a bigger, stronger, more global CFL,” said Randy Ambrosie, the league’s commissioner.

Unlike the NFL, which gets its biggest slice of income from TV rights, the top money source for CFL teams is attendance, and restrictions put in place to deal with the COVID-19 crisis prevented large gatherings in Canada.

The CFL worked on a plan to play a shortened season with a bubble concept in Winnipeg starting in September, but the CFL was counting on financial support from the federal government, public-health approval and a reworked collective bargaining agreement with its players’ association to make it work.

The league seemed on course for the latter two, but the money never materialized.

Ambrosie had requested up to $150 million from the government for the CFL. Now estimates are that the CFL will lose $100 million without a season.

“Without it, the losses would be so large that they would really hamper our ability to bounce back strongly next year and beyond,” Ambrosie said of playing without federal support. “The most important thing is the future of our league.”

Thirty-nine players from Alabama high schools and colleges are on CFL rosters. The players on CFL rosters with Alabama football roots include:

British Columbia Lions: Defensive end Chris Casher, Faith Academy, Faulkner; defensive back Kurron Ramsey, Alabama State; wide receiver Jamarius Way, South Alabama; defensive lineman Andrew Williams, Auburn.

Calgary Stampeders: Defensive end Cordarro Law, Sumpter County; running back Roc Thomas, Oxford, Jacksonville State; linebacker Darrell Williams, Hoover, Auburn; center Ucambre Williams, Central-Phenix City, South Alabama.

Edmonton Football Team: Running back Brandon Burks, Daleville, Troy; defensive back Jonathan Mincy, Auburn; linebacker Jonathan Walton, Bayside Academy.

Hamilton Tiger-Cats: Defensive end Yurik Bethune, Davidson, Alabama A&M; defensive back Maurice Carnell IV, North Alabama; defensive back Qudarius Ford, South Alabama; quarterback Hayden Moore, Clay-Chalkville; offensive lineman Justice Powers, UAB; defensive tackle Quindarius Thagard, Luverne, UAB.

Montreal Alouettes: Wide receiver Quan Bray, Auburn; offensive lineman Chris Schleuger, UAB.

Ottawa Redblacks: Defensive tackle Johnny Dwight, Alabama; defensive end Darius Jackson, McAdory, Jacksonville State; linebacker Shaheed Salmon, Samford.

Saskatchewan Roughriders: Offensive lineman Lanard Bonner, Shades Valley; defensive back Blace Brown, Troy; defensive back Christian Campbell, Central-Phenix City; linebacker Deshaun Davis, Vigor, Auburn; defensive back Otha Foster, West Alabama; linebacker Gary Johnson Jr., Douglas; offensive tackle Cyrus Kouandjio, Alabama; linebacker Deon Lacey, Hueytown, West Alabama; defensive back Nick Marshall, Auburn; defensive tackle Cory Thomas, McAdory; wide receiver Xaiver Ubosi, UAB.

Toronto Argonauts: Offensive lineman Dontavius Blair, Anniston, West Alabama; defensive back Chris Humes, Spain Park; defensive back Travis Lee, Miles; wide receiver Chandler Worthy, Troy; linebacker Bear Woods, Troy.

Winnipeg Blue Bombers: Wide receiver Darvin Adams, Auburn; wide receiver ArDarius Stewart, Fultondale, Alabama.

“We know people have been longing for certainty,” Ambrosie said. “But we felt we owed it to our fans and our players to do everything we could to find a way to play this year if we could so safely and in a way that was responsible and feasible, as well as prudent and safe.”

Mark Inabinett is a sports reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @AMarkG1.


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