Loney Bowl now scheduled to take place Tuesday at 2 p.m. at Acadia University
The Saint Mary’s Huskies and the Acadia Axemen will face off Tuesday at 2 p.m. in Wolfville for the 2017 Loney Bowl.
On Sunday, a Nova Scotia Supreme Court judge sided with Saint Mary’s and granted the university an interim injunction, which allows the game to be reinstated.
“It is appropriate to grant an interim injunction requiring that the AUS sanction the AUS men’s football championship game forthwith and that it shall direct that Acadia shall play Saint Mary’s University no later than Tuesday, November 14, 2017,” Associate Chief Justice Deborah Smith said when rendering her decision shortly before 5:30 p.m. Sunday.
WATCH: A judge ruled on Sunday that the Loney Bowl championship game will be played between Saint Mary’s and Acadia after the AUS cancelled the game due to an ineligibility issue.
Saint Mary’s was originally disqualified by Atlantic University Sport (AUS) following concerns over player eligibility.
This prevented the Huskies from playing the Loney Bowl — the championship game in the AUS football division — which was supposed to take place on Saturday.
The player in question is Archelaus Jack, a wide receiver for the Huskies. Jack was previously on the roster for the Saskatchewan Roughriders but is now a student at Saint Mary’s University.
Four of the five universities in the AUS filed a complaint over Jack’s eligibility. That’s because a player affiliated with a professional team is supposed to wait 365 days from their release to play at the university level.
However, Saint Mary’s says they have a binding agreement with U Sports — which governs university sport in Canada — and allows Jack to play.
Following their disqualification, Saint Mary’s launched a motion to have the game reinstated which is why lawyers, coaching staff and players have been in court all weekend.
With the game now going ahead, Saint Mary’s says all players, including Jack, could be taking part in the Loney Bowl. “It’s entirely up to the coach to deploy the players but all of our players are eligible and ready to take the field,” said Margaret Murphy, the associate vice-president, external affairs at Saint Mary’s University.
“I’m just excited to play. I’m just really excited how things went in there. I’m just ready to play,” said Huskies centre Nicholas Bartolacci following the judge’s ruling.
“It’s been some stressful days for us but we’ve just been patient and obviously we’re very pleased and ready to play,” added kicker Brian Hope.
The injunction granted on Sunday evening is temporary.
The AUS says they still feel there is an eligibility question that needs to be answered and stand behind their original decision to cancel the Loney Bowl.
“We respect, obviously, the decision of the court,” said AUS Executive Director Phil Currie. “We know there’s going to be a game played and we wish both teams in that game, the Loney Bowl, a very successful and safe game on Tuesday.”
“AUS still believes very strongly the decision that we made was the right one and we’ll have our time in court again and we really believe the court at that time will favour in respect to our decision,” said Currie.
Lawyers for Acadia University did not speak to media following the judge’s ruling Sunday evening.
Kevin Dickie, executive director of Acadia athletics, said in a statement on Monday that their team will be abiding by the court’s decision.
“We were disappointed by the series of events beyond our control both here and elsewhere that led to the cancellation of Saturday’s championship game. These are matters that will be dealt with at a later date in a much more substantive manner, but right now we are focused on the immediate future – preparing for Tuesday’s Loney Bowl and winning the right to host the Uteck Bowl in Wolfville,” Dickie said in the statement.
“The next few days represent a significant opportunity for our players, coaching staff, alumni and loyal fans, and we are going to push these external distractions aside in order to concentrate entirely on what will be happening on the field.”
Spectators who plan to attend the re-scheduled Loney Bowl are asked to contact Acadia’s box office at 1-800-542-8425 or 902-542-5500.
The winner of Tuesday’s Loney Bowl at Acadia University will move on to play in the Uteck Bowl against Western on Saturday.
In the last 17 years, Saint Mary’s has played in the AUS final 13 times, walking away with nine titles. Meanwhile, Acadia has made eight appearances in the finals and has four AUS titles.
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