CIS National Interlock: Dream or future reality?

This fall, the CIS football scene could have a remarkably different look.

Over the Christmas break, news broke of a working proposal called the “Northern Football 8 Series”.  This is a national interlock that would at least involve a minimum of eight CIS teams from different conferences.

In recent years, the RSEQ and AUS have taken part in a CIS Interlock which has counted towards the regular season standings. With this working proposal, an OUA – Canada West Interlock could also come into fruition.

The series itself has four key objectives: the creation of a national football game of the week that would be televised, the creation of a travel system for teams involved in the interlock which evenly distributes the costs, creating a national schedule with the goal of reducing the number of blowout games and having the actual games count towards conference standings.

David Dube


Since September, Saskatchewan businessman David Dube and Krown Countdown U’s Executive Producer Jim Mullin have been working on this proposal. Last month, they presented the idea to CIS coaches in Toronto.

“It is fair to say that the Conferences and Athletic Directors were not aware of the work we were doing to develop this proposal until they were actually presented with it,” commented Dube, Project Partner of the Northern Football 8 Series.   “We hope to engage in discussions that can in fact propel the proposal forward to grow the exposure of the sport but right now we need to respect the process and allow for thoughtful consideration.”

“Proposals like this don’t come along every day.”

Jim Mullin

At this point it is still in a working stage.  The next step is that all involved parties, which include all four conference, the CIS, the project partners and Athletic Directors are trying to arrange a meeting at the end of the month to further discuss the proposal that has been put forth.

“This is a proposal that we believe we have carefully considered the future development of the game,” said Mullin, a Project Partner.  “We look forward to engaging with the stakeholders on broadening that discussion.”

“We are in the stage of reaching out to have one-on-one discussions with stakeholders. They have a lot of questions and we will be there in the process to attempt to provide them with answers.”

Richard MacLean

One of the main supporters of this working proposal is Football Canada President, Richard MacLean.

“When I first saw the proposal for a CIS interlock, I immediately saw this as a very positive step for the league and more importantly for the sport,” explained MacLean of his support behind the Northern Football 8 Series.  “One of the biggest draw backs for CIS players to play at the next level is lack of competition those two or three games in the schedule where no real competition takes place.”

“It simply does not help the player improve their skills in fact lack of competition at this stage of athlete development has detrimental effects.”

MacLean not only views the proposed interlock as an opportunity for growth in the CIS, but also for the sport on a national level and increased exposure the in the television market.

“We have more Canadians than even playing in the CFL and the NFL and with the growth of the sport here in Canada and the increased focus on creating top ranked programs at the CIS level it has certainly helped get more athletes into the professional ranks,” added the Football Canada President.  “Most other CIS sports already have opportunities for a team to travel and play in tournaments out of their conference.”

“Interlock is the same thing it is just being formalized, marketed and with a national TV audience promoted better.”

As for seeking public opinion on the proposal, Dube said it’s too soon as the project partners are still in the consultation process with all involved parties.  Moreover, the conferences and schools that it will impact need more time to review the working proposal.

“”It is early in the engagement process and we need to be respectful of the conferences and schools processes. This is not the time for us to begin a public dialogue as the stakeholders have not had an adequate opportunity to engage with us on the proposal.”

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