Realty One

Tuesday, June 5, 2018


Randy Ambrosie
TSN's David Naylor dropped a bombshell on the CFL on Tuesday.

Naylor reported that the CFL Board of Governors has approved a salary cap on coaches and football operations personnel as well as a limit on the size of staffs.

Naylor reported at

The new measures will limit teams to a coaching staff of 11 and other football operations staff to 17. The total compensation for those 28 employees is not to exceed $2.738 million. Player salaries are capped at $5.2 million for the upcoming season.

These measures will go into effect for the 2019 season.

The league is also planning to enact measures that would control costs on other non-player football expenses, like mini-camps and scouting budgets.

CFL Commissioner Randy Ambrosie appeared on 620 CKRM's SportsCage on Tuesday evening to explain the move.

"This was a project that we've been working on going back to late last year," Ambrosie said. "The League hadn't traditionaly had a consolidated look at its overall financials and I talked to the Governors, and we brought it all together to understand our business.

"When we did that, there were some of our costs that were out-of-control. Some moreso than others, but one was the non-player football operations costs. Once we could see the data, I had so much support from the Governors and the team Presidents because they realized that we couldn't continue this. We're going to make this league absolutely great and we're going to look after all of our stakeholders: the players, coaches, management and the fans. We had to run our business in a better way.

"No one wants to be capped, but in this case, setting a tight budget, one that's respectful of everybody else, makes sense."

Clearly this news isn't sitting well with CFL coaches and 3DownNation CFL Insider Justin Dunk reported the league's coaches and scouts have already begun talks on forming a union.

“If the league wants to treat us like the players,” a source told Dunk, “we will fight.”

Ambrosie admitted that this move might not be a popular one, but it's not a sign of disrespect.

"Look, this isn't about being against anyone," Ambrosie stated. "In my case, it never is. I want this league to reach its full potential and I think the world of our coaches. I respect each and every one of them, and the work that they do. But I also know this: I can't be a leader for this league without doing the right thing for the business and that means looking after all of the stakeholders."

There's been growing concern amongst CFL players over the past few years, whatwith skyrocketing salaries for Head Coaches and GMs such as Marc Trestman, Chris Jones, Kent Austin, and, as far back as John Hufnagel.

However Ambrosie's comments seemed to pinpoint that this directive comes from team brass, not from the Players Association.

"The players have been frustrated," the Commissioner admitted. "They've watched as their compensation has been capped, they've watched us continue to add bodies and add compensation to the non-player operations. They've told us that was one of their big frustrations going into next (CBA). It doesn't make sense to have an unlevel playing field. We had a bit of an arms race going on. One team adds a coach, then everybody else adds one.

"I'm not against anybody but what I am for is wanting the league to be great and reach its full potential. You have to make some of these tough decisions. Whatever comes our way, we'll deal with it in a respectful fashion."

Ambrosie downplayed Tuesday's announcement telling us it's not "big news", but it sounds like we haven't heard the last of it.



@mrt_man said...



Anonymous said...

Will be interesting to see what the penalties will be for going over.

Anonymous said...

I don’t have a problem with this at all, but I would be wary that the next step could be. , equalization. Where 3 western teams could end up supplying money to the teams who can’t seem to make it. Our league is to small for that, in my opinion. But those are my thoughts about that.

Anonymous said...

This is a great move and one I mentioned here before. We are paying far too much salary for coach's and staff while claiming that we can't afford to pay players more. IT IS PLAYERS WHO BRING IN FANS AND IF THEY PAY PLAYERS MORE THE LEAGUE WILL GET BETTER. Very good move, why do we need so many coach's

Anonymous said...

I don't see a cap on GM pay, unless a GM is "football operations staff". So can they pay Jones $700,000 as the GM, and $50,000 as the head coach?

Anonymous said...

I doubt anyone is over that cap if they all agreed to it. I suspect that odd number of 2.738 million is the highest current off field payroll of [team name] It is interesting that these 28 or less staff are getting paid, on average, the same as the ones actually out there entertaining the fans (do the math). I agree with anon above that profit sharing is the next step.

Anonymous said...

Wasn't this part of what we were crying for in the 80's/90's? Teams were spending huge outrageous dollars on coaches and players, and us small market teams were barely able to pay for 4 coaches and 40 players?

Adding a 10th team is going to be difficult, and I can't see it possible to attract investors without that team being able to have some firm financials regarding costs available.

Add to that any public dollars into facilities, there needs to be some firmness to the money spent.

Removing the ability for some teams to bully others with dollars is not a negative thing, and 30 years ago, we would have really appreciated it!

Anonymous said...

They capped the salaries as they don't want to get into a bidding war with the XFL. Randy Ambrosie is a goof and was from day one. It's because the guy he replaced was so awful he seems better.

This is in the most blatant aspect the stupidest thing I have ever read and Randy Ambrosie is a bag of hot air. I'll give you some insight. CFL Coaches work 24/7 - and have NO guarantee of security and the assistants are on one year contracts, and you've now just gone and told them work as hard as you can, win, and where it used to be the sky is the limit it's now well the sky stops at the third floor. Nobody in a market economy will go for that. As for starting a union - now you know why they exist it's when employers pull arbitrary crap like this.

There is no incentive now to stay in the CFL and develop a career. Do you know why Nick Saban makes $7M and Jimbo Fisher just got $75M or Jon Gruden got $100M? Whether they are worth it or not doesn't matter it's because the market determined that's what they are worth and someone was willing to pay it. That is why Coaches criss cross the country and leagues and sacrifice. It's why their marriages break up, kids get scattered, they are chasing the dream and the dollar.

I have long said that anybody in any business who works for a place out of loyalty or stays for altruism is a complete and utter idiot. These things counts in this world when you work. Making money, paying bills, food in the fridge and any employer that "Caps" you then you are a complete fool and idiot for staying with them.

If I were a CFL coach the applications would be out to the NFL or the NCAA and go develop down there. What is Jim Popp and Marc Trestman worth to the Argo franchise? They start the process late and win a Grey Cup what's that worth and who else can do that?

What's Chris Jones worth as you can see his rebuild shaping up? What's Wally Buono worth?

Wally Buono and Kavis Reed making the same salary? Go jump in a lake, and I'll tell you Randy Ambrosie is a bag of hot air he really is.

What was Jim Hopson worth to the Riders as a CEO? Go tell him he's capped on salary and see what he says.

Anonymous said...

The conversation has been on for more than a year. Nobody in the know is surprised.

Anonymous said...

The definition of socialism

Anonymous said...

Like most pro sports leagues the teams must be protected from themselves. Salary cap for players, seems fair that there should be a cap on administration. Riders have a bloated administration a little downsizing is not a bad thing.

Anonymous said...

Of course you have no issue with wages getting freezed as most people who have never gone after anything in their lives are happy for 2-2-2%. Others go the open market and skills and experience goes to the highest bidder. In what world would Kavis Reed make the same salary as Marc Trestman.

mister winnipeg said...

What do the coaches actually earn these days? HCs and assistants.

Anonymous said...

It seems to me that this is a measure to address a sore spot with the CFLPA in regard to upcoming cba discussions on the player salary cap. Also, if it helps keep ticket prices down for us blue collar folk, and helps pay off stadium debts ..

Anonymous said...

I would agree, this is a step in the wrong direction.

Anonymous said...

Commenter #3 is either young or has a short memory. It wasn't that long ago when places like Toronto and BC were keeping the riders alive back in the telethon days. The year that Rocket Ishmail came was the only game the riders sold out. They were selling tickets for $5 at safeway and still not coming close to filling the stadium. If anything that little history lesson should at least be a warning around here. It wasn't that long ago that BC place was jammed and skydome was packed every week. It could happen here again too.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Scott!

Anonymous said...

The teams want to control themselves. I do not have a problem with that. It begs the question if Reynolds thinks there is too much on the payroll. Has he spoken to Jones about this?

Good on ya for getting Ambrosie on to try and clarify everything. Once again proving there is only one show in this province to listen to when it comes to sports-talk radio. Wish there was more of it.


Anonymous said...

Teams have to be protected from spending them selves out of business. Lose 2 teams and it's lights out for the cfl.

Anonymous said...

In the long run - 8 - 10 years, this will be a very very bad thing for the league.

I see a big drop in the coaching abilities. Lesser coaching, means lesser product on the field = lesser fans showing up, which in turn means lesser money in the pockets of those private owners. Simple Economics of supply and demand.

WOW this is such a bad move. WTF Ambrosie?

Anonymous said...

A lot of union workers commenting here! If you don't control costs, there will be no league. The coach's we have hare can't find work down south right now because they are not good enough!
Look what Trestman did there, had to come back here, what has Buono done lately? You just made my point for me.

Clay Paget. 48 year ticket holder said...

I do not like this move. How the hell are you going to get GOOD COACHES FROM THE U. S.
I do not like the fact Ambrose singles out some coaches, including Jones who has a multi roll.
It is just another way of making the cfl a Mickey Mouse league with no doubt still the high ticket prices!!!!!!
How about dropping the league office salary’s too.

Anonymous said...

Said coaches don't have to live in the U.S.they could choose to live in Canada and not lose any money.

Anonymous said...

Funny no one has mentioned Ambrosie Salary is $1,000,000 and he is making $250,000 more than the last two Commissioner's. Are there teams in trouble financially......oh wait Toronto is, but their problem always has been how they were managed. All this does is punish the Riders. They have an extensive coaching staff and Scouting staff. Now this needs to be rebuilt to fit the limits outlined...….increasing the Players Salary cap only will benefit the Salary paid to your Quarterback and Canadian Linemen....people scouting and management does nothing to develop. I would prefer they increase the Salary Cap maybe by a million or two but at the same time increase the minimum Salary to $75,000. At the end of the day Toronto will have trouble getting fans to their stadium and the Riders will be told they have to bail them out. Putting a cap on operations costs just is not the solution......wonder if Craig Reynolds income is included in Operations costs.

Anonymous said...

A GM would be part of football ops staff.

Anonymous said...

Arbitrary? This is based on financial analysis and a move towards stability.

"In ambrosie we trust"

Anonymous said...

Really??? You think if these coaches could make more money in the US they wouldn't be there?? It's not going to change much as far as getting coaches. Cost control is what it's all about. BTW the Eskimos said when they won the bid for the Grey Cup they were going back to affordable prices for fans & are spending a ton on Grey Cup festivities thus not putting it all in the bank. Ambrosie this week met with the Esks & Stamps personnel & going forward, starting with this year, the host team will not keep all the proceeds from Grey Cup but a portion will be allotted to all the other clubs in the league. In the past, especially when Braley was keeping the Lions & Argos afloat, he was awarded the Grey Cup in those cities to offset some of those losses. Things are changing so all clubs can benefit. Calgary, hosting the Cup next year, is on board with what is happening in Edmonton. And for those who think the Riders need to be in the Cup to be successful, the success of the Cup belongs to the organizers in the host city. Last time it was hosted in Edmonton, the event was sold out in 6 days. They are 5,000 short of a sellout 5 days in this year. In no other cities has the Grey Cup game ever been sold out before Labor Day. So, whether or not the Riders are in the Grey Cup has absolutely nothing to do with the success of the event in June. And if you look at TV audiences for the event over the last 10 years, the ratings don't spike with the Riders. This, as well as fair distribution of GC proceeds to all clubs, is all part of a larger plan to make everyone successful. This is not about the poor Riders being hard done by. Every time something changes it's a conspiracy theory. The reason you have ended up in 4th & 5th the past 2 years isn't because the league is plotting against you. You weren't a very good team. If you end up winning in future, it will be because you put together a better team, not because the league is ganging up on you. You're a community owned team & SHOULD have cost control over expenses & when teams can't patrol themselves, this is what happens. Give your heads a shake.

Anonymous said...

Hilarious comments that are against this move. This is absolutely the right move - if you are okay with a cap on players salaries then you should be okay with this. Its all about an even playing field and financial stability for the league. The idea that this will hurt the quality of coaching in the leauge is laughable. The sky isnt the limit for player salaries or rosters so the same should apply to the coaching staff.

Anonymous said...

Coaches arent coming here because of the money. They come here because, like the players this is where there is an opportunity for them to make a career in pro football. The CFL aint stealing any coaches from the US based on money.

You guys are funny though.

Anonymous said...

"In Ambrosie We Trust"

Anonymous said...

I agree, this is definitely the right way to control spending, otherwise the costs will simply spin out of control.

Tim said...

I think this is a very good move..

Anonymous said...

" Control spending - Spiralling costd -good idea - get it under control"

Totally stupid comments from the Commies still around in this previous Socialist Province. The life blood of any franchise is the coaches, scouts, managers etc. If the commies like this union stuff so much, then let the coaches and scouts have it. There was no equalization back in the day and that's why BC and Toronto could buy any player they wanted and won Grey Cups. They didn't keep the Riders alive and on the contrary they damned near folded a couple time. Know you facts morons.

This is just a few managers whining because the Eastern Conference doesn't draw fans or money from their operations. Instead of reaching to a higher level, they want to bring all successful franchises down to theirs.

Great coaches and not great players determine who wins or loses. Ask the New England Patriots about
that. ARE THEY going to not include, dismiss, or otherwise overlook financial obligations of coaches who are fired or let go for any reason?

Ambrosie had no problem taking more money than his counterparts but now says great coaches will need to be cut and underpaid.

This is just a pure commie mentality. Why not give them all the same color uniform and play for participation trophies? The great coaches in the league wont stay and worse yet all you swill get are the dregs of the coaching world. Ambrosie pushed this no doubt with the Ottawa's, Montreal and Toronto's right behind him pushing... oh wait; that is the CFL Eastern Conference.

The CFL should move to Smallville because every time they they try to grow, we have a socialist dictator trying to give everybody a guaranteed annual income no matter how little they work or do. A BS move by a BS Commissioner,.

Anonymous said...

This is Bush League…the CFL continues to be more and more irrelevant..