Published on April 13, 2013 10:00 PM by dbo.
I have made it no secret that a large amount of the traffic at CFLdb ends up on the Compensation FAQ. Examining the traffic to this section I can see the primary audience is US players evaluating the CFL as an option, especially in the first half of the year when graduating college players are evaluating their options. Next in number are Canadians running the gamut of naiveté, curiosity, looking for proof to settle an argument and any other reason you can think of.
Player compensation accounts for probably over 80-90% of inquiries, with coaches and officials making up the rest. Proving that the expectation is for the Internet to provide any and all information, we also receive traffic from people searching for salary information on everyone from general managers to front office staff, trainers, equipment managers and league staff even though we do not address any of these positions. Those seeking Individual player salaries are also more numerous that I would like, with the general attitude of most under 30 that everyone’s salary should be published on the Internet, especially athletes.
The FAQ compensation questions receive a lot of feedback on what is written and how it is presented. There are comments of disbelief, claims that the answer oversells the compensation available, accusations that it minimizes the salaries in the CFL and other demands that I provide individual salaries. This often makes me regret my decision to present the facts on compensation as known to offset the unsourced misinformation cavalierly posted on forums and elsewhere.
The information provided is for general use. It was never intended to help players with negotiations or determine if they should consider the CFL or sign a contract with a CFL team. That sort of counselling should come from a knowledge of the exact contract offer and all other considerations such moving to another country, supporting yourself alone — perhaps for the first time, other earning potential and playing a different game. A future article will address the many factors that face import players thinking of coming to the CFL. It is a complex decision and while the information here may validate that, yes, the team has offered you the league minimum salary, players need to understand the risks and rewards of signing a contract and that cannot be done here.
The Compensation FAQ is based on facts available. I won’t publish speculation and rumours on individual salaries. The summary of the salary situation is accurate based on the facts available. It is neutral in nature, neither claiming salaries are high or low. It also does not get into the question of why. Why questions are best answered by an individual after examining the facts. Providing an answer here to why things are the way they are would only present one viewpoint and that may not be the correct and factual answer. The facts presented are sufficient enough for American players to understand the compensation structure enough to decide if they are interested enough to proceed and for curious Canadians to clear up misconceptions on salaries based on the facts. For others simply looking at the salary cap value and stating it is too low, needs to be doubled or other such edicts, your proclamation is hollow without an examination of the expenses and revenues of CFL clubs. I must remind you the CFLPA has agreed to all stipulations set out in the CBA, including minimum salary. A future article will examine the upcoming CBA negotiations and the potential give and take on both sides.
In the interest of looking at the complete compensation a player receives, CFLdb has developed a Total Financial Rewards statement. This document tries to present the total compensation and benefits available to CFL players at various salary points. This document is for entertainment purposes only, it is not 100% accurate and complete in the facts available. In addition to compensation and benefits beyond the base salary, the document presents the total compensation on an annualized basis to satisfy those who believe the salaries quoted are not put into the context of a six month season. It is true that players receive their salary over approximately six months of the football season, but it is also true that there is nothing stopping the players from earning an income for the other six months of the year. Any one who wants seasonal work has no right to complain about their six month salary not being enough to stretch through the year.
This is a sticking point with most prospective players. The belief of entitlement based on their training as football players is that they deserve a substantial six-figure salary coming out of school. There will be no consideration of developing another career outside of football. What the CFL provides is a blessing. Smart players will work outside of football, preparing themselves for when their career is over. Maximizing their earnings, whether earning $50,000 or $500,000, during their prime young years will provide increased retirement funds (if they are saved) and hopefully an earlier retirement. It also makes the transition into post-football life much easier. The young and foolish that decide they don’t need to do anything but football (still counting on that football windfall) will be that much further behind at the end of their careers and faced with the task of finding another career when all your experience is as a football player.
Will player compensation increase in the future? The answer to this is a certain yes. How much and how fast compensation will grow is a question that can’t really be answered. Time will tell, with the next CBA the first indication of the answers to those questions. The new broadcast agreement and its effect on the next CBA is discussed in an another article on CFLdb. Until then, the current agreement is in effect, but the timing of the next negotiation couldn’t have been arranged more perfectly for the players.