The Edmonton Elks have brought on American receiver Arland Bruce IV, a new addition with a familiar last name in the Canadian Football League (CFL). The young athlete, sharing a name with his father, a former CFL all-star, joins the team amid a personal setback following a legal issue.
Bruce’s tenure at the University of Iowa was cut short after 25 games over two seasons when he became entangled in a gambling scandal. In August 2023, prosecutors charged five student-athletes from Iowa institutions, including Bruce, with betting on their own games. The receiver, then 21, entered a guilty plea to a modified charge of underage gambling and received a $645 fine.
Documents reveal that Bruce, in collaboration with an of-age individual named Vincent Bruce, allegedly used a DraftKings account to place bets. The authorities accused him of making a total of 132 bets amounting to over $4,342. This included 19 bets on games where Bruce participated during the 2021 and 2022 seasons. In one instance, he allegedly wagered on the total points going under in a game where he ultimately contributed to a score that exceeded the bet’s threshold.
Despite transferring to Oklahoma State for the 2023 season, Bruce faced ineligibility from the NCAA due to the charges and opted to forego his collegiate career. His college stats closed with 44 receptions for 396 yards and two touchdowns, along with 22 carries leading to 122 yards and four touchdowns.
The CFL has recently addressed match manipulation, unveiling a policy in May that includes mandatory education for all players and staff through the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (CCES). While specifics on disciplinary actions for betting violations are pending from the CFLPA, the discretion for suspensions currently lies with the league’s commissioner.
Arland Bruce III, Arland IV’s father, is remembered not just for his remarkable 14-season CFL career, where he snagged 767 passes for 11,609 yards and 94 touchdowns. He also won Grey Cups with the Argonauts (2004) and Lions (2011). He is also known for his legal confrontation with the CFL.
His litigation focused on the underreported risks of head trauma and concussions during his football career. Although the case was not favored in the B.C. provincial courts, and the Supreme Court of Canada declined to review it, Bruce III’s legacy in the CFL remains notable with three all-star designations and two Grey Cup victories.
With the Elks signing Arland Bruce IV, the team looks forward to the contributions the young receiver may bring to the field, while the wider CFL community watches closely to understand how the league will navigate the evolving challenges of player behavior and integrity within the sport.
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