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Dave Naylor

TSN Football Insider

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The Canadian Football League has made changes to next spring’s college draft to deal with some of the ramifications of the current COVID-19 pandemic.

As the CFL did not play games in 2020, the order of the 2021 draft will be established by random selection, with clubs selecting one through nine and then nine through one in a “snake” format.

The draft will also be cut down from eight rounds to six and have no territorial exemption selections, where teams are given priority on players from their backyards.

With U Sports not playing football this fall and the NCAA a patchwork of conferences playing adjusted schedules, colleges on both sides of the border have allowed players an extra year of eligibility if they so desire.

The reduced number of selections is due to the fact that 2021 will include the 2020 draft class, plus all those players who chose not to defer their draft by 12 months. As such, the CFL will allow any player to defer his draft year from 2021 to 2022.

The CFL has expressed its desire to return to play in 2021 but has made no formal commitment or determined what format a season might take. The exact date of the draft has yet to be determined.

“These changes have the support of our clubs and we are confident they will ensure fairness while giving a group of excellent and promising Canadian athletes a path to pursue their CFL dreams,” said Greg Dick, head of football operations for the CFL, in a statement.

“I know our commissioner Randy Ambrosie appreciates the spirit of collaboration shown by our league’s football and business leaders as we navigate the challenges created by the pandemic and look forward to getting back to football.”