Saint Mary’s University will resume its legal efforts Saturday to try and get its football team back on the field for a championship game against the Acadia Axemen that was cancelled two days ago.
The Huskies were scheduled to play in the Loney Bowl today, which is the Atlantic conference championship, but Atlantic University Sport (AUS) cancelled the game over concerns about the eligibility of a Saint Mary’s player, wide receiver Archelaus Jack.
Today’s hearing in Halifax will hear arguments on Saint Mary’s motion to have the game reinstated, as well as whether the matter should be dealt with on an urgent basis.
Player eligibility rules
The controvery stems from a league participation rule that dictates any former CFL player, or anyone who remains on a CFL team’s practice roster after Aug. 15, has to wait one year before playing for a university team.
Jack played in every Saint Mary’s game this season. He was released from the CFL’s Saskatchewan Roughriders practice roster on Oct. 11, 2016.
SMU said it reached an agreement on Oct. 27 with the national governing body for university sports, U Sports, after concerns arose about Jack’s eligibility to play.
Officials from Saint Mary’s University have been pushing for the game to take place after an Ontario judge sided with the school on Friday.
The university filed court documents with the Ontario Superior Court earlier this week to have the U Sports agreement enforced, as Ontario is where U Sports is based.
According to a written decision by Ontario Superior Court Judge Todd Archibald released on Friday, U Sports agreed not to investigate the eligibility issue in exchange for SMU not pursuing legal action against it.
The decision also states that SMU said its understanding of the one-year CFL rule was that it was one academic year, not a calendar year, meaning Jack was only ineligible for the 2016-2017 school year.
Why AUS cancelled the game
Phil Currie, AUS executive director, told CBC on Thursday that the organization got involved because it wasn’t clear when the court would make a decision. He also said there were legitimate concerns around Jack’s eligibility.
Archibald’s decision also noted that SMU is concerned about the harm this incident will cause the university’s reputation, which he agreed with.