SMU, Acadia make last-minute preparations ahead of reinstated Loney Bowl
Published Monday, November 13, 2017 6:56PM AST
The Saint Mary’s Huskies and Acadia Axemen football teams hit the field Monday ahead of an Atlantic University Sport championship game that already has many at the edge of their seats.
After two court challenges, Nova Scotia Supreme Court Associate Justice Deborah Smith ruled Sunday that the Loney Bowl will go ahead no later than Tuesday.
Despite the logistical issues, players and staff at both universities say they’re ready to hit the field.
“We've been off for 24 days. It's been a long time since we've actually played a game, so we've had enough practice and we're ready to play,” says Acadia head coach Jeff Cummins.
“All of our players are eligible to play. It's really up to our coach to determine who he deploys and in what order he does so,” says Saint Mary’s associate vice-president Margaret Murphy.
AUS cancelled the game and handled the title to Acadia after a complaint was filed by the four other member universities of AUS, challenging the eligibility of one of Saint Mary’s players. Justice Smith ordered the game be reinstated and played within 48 hours.
Lawyers for Acadia argued it would be nearly impossible to host the game in such a short timeframe, but now the university is scrambling to make sure the game goes according to plan. With staffing, some of the people running the concessions, ball boys, and other smaller jobs around the stadium are students. And with the game taking place Tuesday afternoon, not everyone can make it.
Acadia representatives say referees and security personnel are all taken care of.
Former president of Football Nova Scotia and Football Canada Richard MacLean isn't impressed with what's happened, saying after the game policies need to be "nailed down."
“This is just an all-around bad situation,” says MacLean. “It's just one of those things that you never want to see happen and it has happened and now we have to move forward and deal with it properly.”
Maclean's not alone. Both Acadia and St. Francis Xavier University have stated their frustration with the ruling.
"(Sunday) evening, a court of law decided upon issues of due process, but did not address the issue of student-athlete ineligibility,” said St. FX Athletics and Recreation director Leo MacPherson in a statement. “What remains to be determined is whether Saint Mary's University, a fellow member of the AUS football conference, broke the rules and fielded an ineligible student-athlete, a position unanimously supported by all other AUS football conference members."
Acadia Athletics executive director Kevin Dickie says the university is “disappointed by the series of events.”
“These are matters that will be dealt with at a later date in a much more substantive manner," the statement reads.
AUS president Phil Currie declined an interview Monday with CTV News, saying he wanted to spend the day with family. Currie said Sunday night their time in court isn’t over.
“AUS still believes very strongly in the decision that we made was the right one,” Currie said Sunday. “We really believe the court at that time will favour and respect our decision.”
The AUS says tickets to Saturday’s game need to be physically returned to Acadia’s box office for reimbursement. They say you can either exchange it for Tuesday's game or have your money refunded.
No matter which team ends up prevailing, they will have a short turnaround time before the Uteck Bowl on Saturday against the Western University Mustangs.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Laura Brown and Emily Baron Cadloff.