After a marathon court hearing in Halifax, the question of whether a controversial Canadian university championship football game goes ahead will be decided this evening.
The game between the Saint Mary’s Huskies and Acadia Axemen that was slated for this weekend was abruptly cancelled Thursday by Atlantic University Sport, the league’s governing body, due to eligibility concerns about one of Saint Mary’s players.
If the game goes ahead, there is a chance for Saint Mary’s Huskies to win and play Western, the Ontario champion from London, in the Uteck Bowl. If it does not go ahead, Acadia takes the Atlantic title by default and will advance to the Uteck Bowl on Nov. 18.
Lawyers from Saint Mary’s, Acadia University and AUS were back in Nova Scotia Supreme Court on Sunday morning after a 5½-hour hearing on Remembrance Day.
The last-minute hearing was held to deal with a motion from Saint Mary’s to have the game reinstated. The university also asked that the case be dealt with on an urgent basis.
Court adjourned Sunday afternoon, and Associate Chief Justice Deborah Smith said she’ll release her decision at 5 p.m. AT.
CBC will be livestreaming the decision online.
SMU ‘geared up and ready’ to play
Margaret Murphy, vice-president of external affairs at SMU, said the university is pleased with the attention the courts in Ontario and Nova Scotia are giving this case.
“The court system seems to recognize the need for a speedy decision,” Murphy said Sunday.
“Now we have an indication that a decision will come down at 5 p.m. today, so certainly that speaks to the court’s sense of timeliness here and the appropriateness of moving ahead, recognizing the importance of this football season to players, to coaches, to alumni, to staff, to universities both here in the Atlantic region and across Canada.”
Murphy said Saint Mary’s University is “geared up and ready” for both the Uteck Bowl and the Loney Bowl.
“I think you can see from the demeanour of our coaches and players who have been present that we’re ready to play,” said Murphy.
Murphy said other teams involved “would also have had ample reasons to prepare” to play too.
“We know everyone has been practising. Our team has continued to practise throughout this and we expect that’s the same of the other teams involved as well,” said Murphy.
Game could be Tuesday
All sides decided Saturday that if a game is ordered, it will happen Tuesday.
But the lawyer for Acadia…