The race for an answer
Throughout the season there have been questions of eligibility when it came to players from the Saint Mary’s Huskies football team.
It started back in September when there was an allegation of ineligible players on the SMU Huskies football team. Saint Mary’s did investigate this, and sent a disclosure to U Sports, it was then determined that these players were in fact ineligible, and the games in which these players partook were forfeited. This included one game against StFX, and the X-Men subsequently received an additional win.
Fast forward to late October, when an anonymous tip was sent to AUS of another potential player being ineligible for the SMU Huskies football team. The U sports organization then gave the SMU Huskies a chance to respond, and they did, however they responded with legal action. This player was a wide receiver that earned SMU crucial points in their 16-15 AUS semi-final win over our very own X-Men.
Throughout the course of this back and forth conversation and legal action between U Sports and the SMU Huskies, it left the AUS in the dark regarding how to proceed with the Loney Bowl Championship, which would expectedly comprise of the SMU Huskies facing the Acadia Axemen.
With all the ambiguity of not having an answer from U sports officials regarding how to proceed with these allegations, the AUS made the decision to cancel the Loney Bowl Championship game.
The AUS felt as if they could not go on with a game. In an interview with CBC, executive director of AUS Phil Currie said, “we can't go into a championship with all this uncertainty.”
Leo MacPherson is the Director of Athletics & Recreation at StFX. He released the following statement regarding how the school and the athletics department felt about AUS handling this situation. “As a member of AUS, we are proud to support a conference that is built on fair competition and integrity. We applaud the efforts of the AUS to ensure that these standards of fair play are kept at the forefront, including in the court of law when necessary.”
After a week of much deliberation and confusion, the green light was given on November 12 for the Loney Bowl Championship game to proceed. This ruling finally marked a clear ending to the X-Men football season. With regards to this ruling, fourth year entrepreneurship co-op student and football player, Sam Gan expressed his acceptance despite disappointment. “From a senior player’s perspective, it's unfortunate that the whole situation happened at all. But in the end, it's impossible to put a lost opportunity to play in the Loney Bowl on one event. The season takes place over 10 weeks, and we put ourselves in a situation where the ruling made on November 12 meant more to us than it should have.”
Gan continued to explain the importance of the X-Men’s values and work ethic. “Losing a semi-final game 16-15 is heartbreaking, but knowing that every player on our roster left everything they had on the field assures me that the culture we've created here at X is here to stay. We plan to create sustainable success through integrity and positivity, and I think we have done so over my past 4 years.”
The Acadia Axemen and SMU Huskies took to the turf for a much-anticipated game. It was a tough game, but the Acadia Axe-Men won in overtime against the SMU Huskies, 45-38.
The StFX X-Men had a good run this season, and it will be exciting to watch the players get even better during their off season training so that they can rule the turf next year.