COURT RULES GAME ON

SMU and Aca­dia to take ield Tues­day for At­lantic ti­tle fol­low­ing court­room drama

Metro Canada (Halifax) - - FRONT PAGE -

A Nova Sco­tia judge has ruled that the At­lantic univer­sity foot­ball cham­pi­onship game will be played on Tues­day, giv­ing Saint Mary’s Univer­sity a chance to take on the Aca­dia Ax­e­men in the Loney Bowl.

Saint Mary’s foot­ball play­ers and fans shook hands in the Hal­i­fax court­room af­ter the de­ci­sion was handed down on Sun­day evening.

“(We’re) ex­tremely ex­cited to have the op­por­tu­nity to play,” Huskies coach James Colzie said out­side the court­room. “We’ve been ready for the past 48 hours.”

The teams were sched­uled to face off on Satur­day, but the Saint Mary’s Huskies were side­lined af­ter the el­i­gi­bil­ity of one of the Hal­i­fax univer­sity’s play­ers came un­der scru­tiny.

Days be­fore the matchup, the gov­ern­ing body for univer­sity ath­let­ics in the re­gion, At­lantic Univer­sity Sport, de­cided to can­cel the game over the el­i­gi­bil­ity is­sue and awarded the ti­tle to Aca­dia.

Saint Mary’s went to court and lawyers for the par­ties spent the week­end ar­gu­ing the mat­ter be­fore Nova Sco- tia Supreme Court as­so­ciate jus­tice Deb­o­rah Smith.

The play­ers said they were ea­ger to get back on the field on Tues­day in the game that will de­ter­mine which At­lantic con­tender will take on Western at the Uteck Bowl next Satur­day.

AUS ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Phil Cur­rie told re­porters that the or­ga­ni­za­tion will re­spect the rul­ing, but said the or­ga­ni­za­tion stands by its de­ci­sion to call off the game, and will con­tinue to pur­sue the mat­ter in court.

Aca­dia lawyer John Keith de­clined to com­ment on the de­ci­sion, but dur­ing ar­gu­ments, he re­peat­edly de­scribed the mat­ter as a “mess.”

In hand­ing down her de­ci­sion, Smith said she was in­clined to agree with Keith’s assess­ment.

“Foot­ball is a game. Some would sug­gest it is only a game. For a tal­ented few, how­ever, it can be­come a pro­fes­sion,” Smith told the court.

“I hope that my rul­ing in this mat­ter is clear. I want this game to take place by this Tues­day.”

Smith did not elab­o­rate on the le­gal rea­son­ing be­hind her de­ci­sion, cit­ing the case’s break­neck pace.

She said the game will take place on Aca­dia’s cam­pus in Wolfville, N.S., as planned, pro­vided that the school is will­ing and able to do so. If not, Saint Mary’s will host the game.

At the cen­tre of the com­plex le­gal bat­tle, which spans two prov­inces, is Huskies wide re­ceiver Archelaus Jack’s el­i­gi­bil­ity to com­pete in a univer­sity foot­ball league due to al­le­ga­tions that he vi­o­lated a league rule.

Ac­cord­ing to doc­u­ments filed with the On­tario Su­pe­rior Court, the na­tional body gov­ern­ing Cana­dian univer­sity sports re­quires play­ers who have been listed on a CFL team’s prac­tice ros­ter af­ter Aug. 15 to wait one year be­fore they can join a univer­sity foot­ball team.

Jack was re­leased from the CFL’S Saskatchewan Roughrid­ers prac­tice squad in Oc­to­ber, ac­cord­ing to the doc­u­ments.

I hope that my rul­ing in this mat­ter is clear. I want this game to take place by this Tues­day. Deb­o­rah Smith

ZANE WOOD­FORD METRO

The Saint Mary’s Huskies foot­ball team is seen prac­tis­ing from the top of Loy­ola Res­i­dence on Aug. 16.

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