OLA Amends Regulation for non-sanctioned league play, impacting the TLL

After the announcement came for the cancellation of the Tewaaraton Lacrosse League (TLL) on August 17, the revelation for “why” was explained in a press release on the TLL website.

“Due to the continued threat and uncertainty placed on the young players with just one week before the planned TLL/NLL Showcase event, the Tewaaraton Lacrosse League in conjunction with the NLL, regretfully announce that the planned showcase/combine event that was to take place in St. Catharines over the August 21-22, 2021, weekend has been cancelled,” reads the release.

“‘The TLL was fully committed to making this showcase event happen to give the NLL teams a chance to see some talented young lacrosse players show-off their skills just one week before the 2021 NLL draft in Buffalo, NY” said TLL President Lewis Staats, who explained that many of the logistics were already set.

“However, even with all this preparation the TLL was not able to overcome the obstacle that the Ontario Lacrosse Association (OLA) had put in place with their announcement of June 3, 2021, stating that any players who sign or play in non-OLA sanctioned league (i.e. TLL) including combines or other in-person events will be suspended from playing in the OLA for two years, the current year and the following year.’”

This statement was reinforced with an amended version dated from August 13, indicating that all league Commissioners (Jr C, Jr B, Jr A, Sr C, Sr B and Sr A) unanimously supported enforcing rule 6.07 and that they would uphold suspending any player who would have signed up to participate in the Showcase for the 2022 season.

“‘With this threat of suspension by the OLA hanging over their heads, we had players that verbally stated they wanted to sign-up for the showcase event but were afraid to and also had players who had signed up but then withdrew their registration for fear of being suspended by the OLA and its leagues,’” explained the TLL release.

The TLL has since filed a complaint to the Competition Bureau of Canada regarding the OLA’s position so that “the players who get to freely decide which lacrosse team or league they want to play for and can do so without any threats of suspension as they make that choice.”

The OLA amendment mentioned form August 13, reads that the R6.07 is not a new policy, but has been amended in the OLA Rules and Regulations and the changes are currently in effect.

“The Ontario Lacrosse Association Board of Directors have reviewed the Ontario Lacrosse Association’s Rules and Regulations in light of a non-sanctioned league publicly claiming to protect members in good standing of the OLA who participate in the junior series,” following with: “(a) Players who have been registered, protected, or rostered with any team in the Corporation shall not play or sign with any other team or in any other league without the written permission of the League Commissioner. R6.07 (b) Players who sign or play in another league or association without the authorization of the League Commissioner shall be suspended for the balance of that season and for the entire season following and are deemed to not be in good standing with the Corporation. Players who intend to return to Ontario Lacrosse participation during that period must submit a Reinstatement Application to the League Commissioner and may not return to participation until membership approval has been granted,” reads the update.

The OLA acknowledged that every player has an individual right to opportunities outside of the OLA, but iterated that any player who makes the choice to participate in a non-sanctioned league directly competing with the OLA’s league calendar must understand the ramifications of that choice including, but not limited to, being ineligible to participate with the leagues governed by the Ontario Lacrosse Association, Team Ontario and/or Team Canada (Lacrosse Canada National Team Program Policy and Guidelines, 1.1.4).

Under the amended policy, any players that choose to play in a non-sanctioned league will be ineligible to participate in any Ontario Lacrosse sanctioned league for the balance of that season and for the entire season following. This includes: Ontario Junior “A” Lacrosse League, Ontario Junior “B” Lacrosse League, Ontario Junior “C” Lacrosse League, Major Series Lacrosse, Ontario Series Lacrosse, Senior Series Lacrosse and Ontario Women’s Box Lacrosse League.

Participation in a non-sanctioned league is defined as “involvement in tryouts, combines, training, tournaments, league games, playoff games or other in-person events. This does not include academic, intramural or school-based leagues, winter recreation leagues, or professional lacrosse leagues as recognized by the Ontario Lacrosse Association.

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