'Gades not dead yet

KIRK PENTON -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 10:26 AM ET

Don't start doing up those mock dispersal drafts just yet.

While it appears the Ottawa Renegades are well on their way to oblivion, the Winnipeg Football Club chairman believes the process of deciding what to do with the struggling CFL franchise is just getting started.

"You don't want the situation to drag on, but we don't want to make a hasty decision," WFC chairman Ken Hildahl said last night. "We want to make sure that we explore all the options.

"I would be very surprised if there's a decision (today)."

The CFL will conduct a conference call with team governors today to begin discussions about what to do with the Renegades and the costs associated with each potential conclusion.

It has been reported that Ottawa majority owner Bernie Glieberman is willing to fund some of the team's projected $5 million in operating losses this season, which means the other eight CFL squads would have to fork over several hundred thousand dollars each to keep the Renegades afloat.

That is one option sure to meet some objection today if there are no signs of a white knight owner on the horizon.

It's believed the only other possibilities are suspending operations for a year or folding the franchise altogether.

"We want to see football in Ottawa," said Hildahl, who will be Winnipeg's representative for today's conference call. "It's a great fan base and has some fabulous potential. But having said that, there's also reality."

CAMPS IN TWO MONTHS

The reality is training camps are scheduled to begin in two months, the 2006 schedule has been drawn up, and teams have made their travel plans.

Considering two of the three potential resolutions include no football in Ottawa this season, there could be some major headaches ahead.

And let's not forget what the impact would be on the CFL itself.

"It's critical," Hildahl said. "... The league, other than this turmoil in Ottawa, probably hasn't been this stable in years.

"So the real need here is to get back to a position of stability as quickly as possible. Part of that is to explore all the options and come up with a plan and implement that plan quickly."

Hildahl wouldn't discuss specific scenarios last night, but he noted he had not yet received an e-mail from the league office outlining what will be discussed today.

Should the Renegades fold, a dispersal draft would follow, likely starting in reverse order of last year's final standing. That would mean the Blue Bombers would get the second pick after Hamilton.

And don't think for one minute that the league's general managers haven't been thinking about that.


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