Corey Chamblin's decision to close two practices a week to fans seems like an overreaction.
One of the big stories in the CFL season's first week has been secrecy, with the Saskatchewan Roughriders electing to close two practices a week to fans and the Calgary Stampeders electing to bar both fans and media from a 40-minute segment of Thursday's practice. From this corner, Saskatchewan's move seems particularly unnecessary and heavy-handed, while Calgary's is more understandable, but still debatable. However, these are just the latest secrecy-related issues in the CFL, and they're minor compared to some of the other ones out there. Teams blocking fans from practices is annoying, but it would be much easier to overlook if the league would take a few other steps to reduce its overall veil of secrecy. That would provide extra ways to engage fans across the league and level the playing field for all teams, a desirable outcome.
On this week's specific practice issues, it's Saskatchewan's decision that's particularly concerning. The Riders have long been famed for their accessibility, and that's a huge part of why they have such a tremendous fanbase. They also tend to have more fans come out to practice than most teams, and that's a valued connection for many of those fans; don't underestimate the impact letting fans watch the team practice and personally connect with players afterwards has on the team's bottom line, from merchandise sales to ticket sales. How do they justify it? Well, take a look at the statement head coach Corey Chamblin released (via Rod Pedersen):Read More »from Why so secretive, CFL?