CFL promotes Michael Copeland to president as well as chief operating officer

It looks like the CFL's top leadership is going to be in place for a while longer. Commissioner Mark Cohon signed a three-year contract extension last February, and the league announced Tuesday that chief operating officer Michael Copeland has been promoted to league president as well as COO. Copeland has been with the league since 2006, a year before Cohon was hired, and he's done a strong job overseeing areas from CBA negotiations to television contracts to the league's return to Ottawa. Here's what Cohon had to say about Copeland in a release:

"During his first seven years with the CFL, Mike's dedication, business acumen and leadership have had a large influence on the success our league has experienced," said CFL Commissioner Mark Cohon. "Now, with the strongest foundation the league has had in decades, and with this continuity in leadership, we are strongly positioned to take full advantage of the opportunities that lie ahead."

The continuity may be the key element to highlight there. The CFL's recent run of success from a business standpoint has been remarkable, from the lucrative new TV deal to new stadiums in several markets to the return to Ottawa to serious discussion of further expansion. There are still key challenges ahead, though, including revitalizing the Southern Ontario franchises from a business standpoint, signing a new and fair CBA with the players (the current one expires after this season, and with the TV revenues shooting up so dramatically, you can bet the players will want more money) and landing strong national sponsors. The need for a new home for the Argos could also potentially be a major problem. While the league's in a much stronger spot than it's been in decades, it certainly isn't all clear sailing from here.

That's why retaining a guy like Copeland who's found success in a critical position is important. When CFL teams win, many of their players often wind up departing in free agency, as we saw with the Grey Cup champion Argos' offseason losses this year; success tends to increase outside valuations of your personnel and makes it harder to keep them around. It's exactly the same in the boardroom; when your company does well, the headhunters tend to start flocking around to see who they can poach. Copeland's been a critical part of this league's rise over the last seven years and has been the point man on many of its most pressing issues, and he seems to work well with Cohon and the rest of the senior leadership. Giving him a promotion and more direct responsibility for strategic and business operations seems like a good move in terms of what he can accomplish, but it also may help the CFL keep him around longer. This league's top leadership has found a lot of success, and they've enjoyed a remarkable amount of stability and continuity by CFL standards. Keeping a key part of that team in place seems like a strong move.