It has been 20 years since a quarterback from the Canadian University (CIS) ranks has suited up and started a game for a CFL team. The last CIS quarterback to start a CFL game was Gino Caravatta. Caravatta, who played football at Simon Frasier University, made one of his few CFL starts for the B.C. Lions against Toronto Argonauts on October 27, 1996. In that game he tossed a touchdown, becoming the last CIS quarterback to throw a touchdown pass in the big league. Since then, the amount of CIS quarterbacks in the CFL has been abysmal.
Is There a Place for Canadian Quarterbacks?
In the past few years, I have spoken to numerous people, including CFL scouts, about the issue of why there has not been a CIS quarterback breakthrough. The number one reason is a lack of development in Canada for CIS QBs to succeed. Import quarterbacks start their development at an early age in the United States. These kids also have strong NFL aspirations. In Canada, football is not ingrained into kids’ minds at young age.
The CFL has acknowledged the issue of lack of CIS quarterbacks in the league and in 2012, they created a development program with the CIS. The program allows quarterbacks from each of the four conferences in the CIS to attend training camps of all nine CFL clubs. The program is the first step in the right direction to see a CIS quarterback start a CFL game.
TAMPA, FL – APRIL 13: Quarterback Trenton Miller #18 of the white team of the South Florida Bulls directs the offense during the annual Spring Game at Raymond James Stadium on April 13, 2013 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by J. Meric/South Florida/Getty Images)