Hearing to be held Saturday for judicial review of Loney Bowl cancellation
A hearing will be held Saturday at 3 p.m. to determine whether the Loney Bowl cancellation should be dealt with on an urgent basis and whether relief should be granted right away.
AUS announced Thursday that it has cancelled Saturday’s Loney Bowl between Saint Mary’s and Acadia over an alleged eligibility violation involving Saint Mary’s.
Saint Mary’s University says the Ontario Superior Court Judge has granted SMU an interlocutory motion against U Sports, the national governing body of university sport. The judge ruled U Sports breached the agreement they made with the university on Oct. 30.
“We're very pleased. It bolsters and supports our position that we have a binding agreement with U Sports,” says Murphy.
"It is our position that the Loney Bowl should be played this weekend to decide the AUS conference champion properly."
Murphy says there is “ample” time for AUS to change its decision on the Loney Bowl and the team will continue to practice in preparation.
“Their decision to call off the game is only 24 hours old, there's plenty of time to reverse it,” Murphy says.
A CTV News investigation revealed Archelaus Jack of Saint Mary’s may be ineligible. Jack was listed on the practice roster for the Saskatchewan Roughriders last year. According to eligibility rules from U Sports, the national governing body of university sport, a player with CFL opportunities can return to the university level if they are no longer listed on the player roster after Aug. 15. Otherwise, they can't play for 365 days.
The CFL confirmed with CTV News on Nov. 3 that Jack was released Oct. 11, 2016, bringing into question his eligibility for the five games he played for SMU between Aug. 25 and Sept. 30 this season.
U Sports said Friday they expect to go back to court over this next week, and they both respect and understand the decision made by the AUS.
"The AUS made the decision it believes to be the best to protect the integrity and fairness of its football season,” said Graham Brown, president and CEO of U Sports.
“U Sports respects this decision and understands it. We also wish to acknowledge all of the players, coaches and programs that competed fairly all season long. To those competitors who played fairly, and the universities and fans who support them, we know this is an unfortunate ending."
Eligibility dispute timeline
Oct. 23: U Sports heard from a whistle blower about a possible eligibility issue
Oct. 24: U Sports assessed the situation and sent out a memo to SMU
Oct. 26: SMU lawyer responded to u sports and provided their interpretation of the 365 day sit-out period
Oct. 27: SMU and U Sports talked via conference call
Oct. 30: U Sports responded to SMU
Oct. 31: U Sports decided it would not pursue the complaint, but left it open to members to pursue
Nov. 2: AUS put forth a formal complaint
Nov. 3: U Sports tells CTV News they are investigating the complaint
Nov. 6: U Sports notified of legal action
Reaction across the AUS
Both St. Francis Xavier University and Mount Allison University have released statements following the Loney Bowl cancellation.
St. FX fell to Saint Mary’s 16-15 in the Atlantic University Sport semifinal on Saturday, ending their season.
"It is unfortunate that our AUS season is concluding the way, however, we respect the decision and realize it was a difficult one to make,” said St. FX director of athletics and recreation Leo MacPherson in a statement. “We are confident Acadia will represent the conference well and wish the best of luck to our AUS colleagues."
Mount Allison University finished fourth in the AUS football standings with a 4-4 record, eliminating the team from playoff contention.
"We are very proud of the way our student athletes and coaches have competed throughout this entire season. We recognize that this is a difficult and ongoing situation and we respect and accept the direction that the AUS has taken on this matter," said Mount Allison University director of athletics and recreation Pierre Arsenault in a statement.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Laura Brown.