SMU to face Acadia after judge rules Loney Bowl should proceed
Published Sunday, November 12, 2017 5:10PM AST
Last Updated Monday, November 13, 2017 1:38PM AST
Following two days of arguments, the Nova Scotia Supreme Court has ruled that the injunction filed by Saint Mary’s University on Friday will go ahead.
Chief Justice Deborah Smith was in a Halifax courtroom on Sunday and decided the SMU Huskies and Acadia Axemen will play this week for the Atlantic University Sport's semifinal football game, the Loney Bowl.
The game was called into question when a complaint was filed by the four other member universities of the AUS, challenging the eligibility of one of Saint Mary’s players. Wide Receiver Archelous Jack was revealed to be on the Saskatchewan Roughriders' practice roster up until October 2016. University sport bylaws say a player can’t compete within one year of playing for the CFL.
This is the second time this season the Saint Mary's football team has been investigated for fielding an ineligible player. Last month, U Sports stripped the Huskies of one regular season win and one preseason win after determining an ineligible player had been on the roster for those games. SMU was also fined by U Sports and placed on probation for 18 months.
In a statement, the associate vice-president of Saint Mary’s University, Margaret Murphy, said the university is looking forward to the game.
“Saint Mary's reaffirms our position that the player eligibility question was put to rest and there isn’t, and hasn’t been, any impediment to Saint Mary’s position to play in the Loney Ball,” said Murphy.
Acadia University had said in court that putting a game on with 48 hours of notice would not be possible. In response, representatives from Saint Mary’s University had offered to host the game.
However, Acadia issued a statement late Sunday, saying the university will abide by the court’s decision, and is preparing for Tuesday’s Loney Bowl.
“We were disappointed by the series of events beyond our control both here and elsewhere that led to the cancellation of Saturday’s championship game. These are matters that will be dealt with at a later date in a much more substantive manner, but right now we are focused on the immediate future – preparing for Tuesday’s Loney Bowl and winning the right to host the Uteck Bowl in Wolfville,” said Kevin Dickie, the executive director of Acadia Athletics in a statement.
“The next few days represent a significant opportunity for our players, coaching staff, alumni and loyal fans, and we are going to push these external distractions aside in order to concentrate entirely on what will be happening on the field.”
As for Jack, Saint Mary’s says he is eligible to play this week, and could take the field during the upcoming game.
“It’s entirely up to the coach to deploy the players, but all of our players are eligible and ready to take the field,” said Murphy.
Meanwhile, AUS says it wishes both teams well in the upcoming game, but it isn’t giving up the fight yet. President Phil Currie says the organization will keep up the court battle moving forward.
“AUS still believes very strongly in the decision that we made was the right one, and we’ll have our time in court again, and we really believe the court at that time will favour and respect our decision,” said Currie.
The Loney Bowl will take place 2 p.m. Tuesday at Acadia University.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Emily Baron Cadloff.