Ineligibility issues arise in AUS football league

Loney bowl cancelled and rescheduled by AUS in light of Saint Mary Huskies scandal

The AUS football season has faced several complications near its end due to player ineligibility on the Saint Mary’s Huskies football team. With already two forfeited games on record from the start of the season, the Huskies were in boiling water when a second ineligibility violation came up when playoffs began. The violation complicated the final few weeks of the season for all teams in the league.

Star wide receiver for the Huskies, Archelaus Jack, was released from the Saskatchewan Roughriders on Oct. 11, 2016 after failing to make the team’s final roster. By U Sports eligibility rules, he should not have been eligible to play an entire calendar year. However, Jack had played five games between Aug. 25 and Sept. 30 this season for the Saint Mary’s Huskies.

The Mounties did not make the playoffs due to a tiebreaker with St. FX in the standings. If Saint Mary’s had an ineligible player for most of the season, it can be argued that the Mounties should have earned a playoff spot. This quickly became a frustrating complication for the entire league as the ineligibility debate rose.

The Mount Allison football team’s coaches and players were unable to comment on the situation. Mounties Athletics agreed to have program director Pierre Arsenault as the sole spokesperson. Arsenault met with The Argosy to discuss details regarding the event.

“Saint Mary’s was approached by U Sports for an eligibility violation. The AUS originally cancelled the Loney bowl, but legal action required the rescheduling of it,” Arsenault said.

The Loney bowl was rescheduled in the matter of three days. The final game was played on a Tuesday afternoon on Nov. 14. The rescheduled game was won by the Acadia Axemen, but the timing gave them the disadvantage of having limited time to rest before going into the national semifinal. The Axemen were obligated to play in the national semifinal only four days later against the powerhouse Mustangs of Western University.

Despite these complications having a large impact on the league standings, the Mounties kept their heads high in regard to the issue. “I’m very proud of our group and how they’ve handled it,” Arsenault said. “Our program has been built around doing your job and doing the things that you control; our guys have continued to show that.”

Despite Acadia winning the Loney Bowl and becoming the AUS champs, the ineligibility issue is not over. Arsenault explained, “Us and our counterparts in the AUS certainly see this as an unresolved issue in terms of allowing U Sports to finish their eligibility review process. We think that it’s important that it [the review process] still happens.”

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