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U Sports allows 1-year eligibility exception for football players affected by COVID-19

Canadian university football's governing body will make an exception to its age rule amid the COVID-19 pandemic after receiving pushback from players and coaches.
Canadian university football's governing body will make an exception to its age rule amid the COVID-19 pandemic after receiving pushback from players and coaches. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

Canadian university football’s governing body will make an exception to its age rule amid the COVID-19 pandemic after receiving pushback from players and coaches.

Read more: U Sports will revisit controversial football eligibility ruling after players, staff fight back

The rule prevents players turning 25 before Sept. 1 from competing, in an effort to maintain parity in U Sports football across the country.

With the 2020 season cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic, as many as 315 players — including four University of Calgary Dinos — would have lost their last year of eligibility.

U Sports has now granted those players a one-time exception to play out the remainder of their careers in 2021, and will also consult with member school to review eligibility policies.

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“After discussions with our membership, we have determined that it’s an appropriate time to explore ways to improve the current safety and participation policies in football with an anticipated completion date of February 2021,” U Sports interim CEO Dick White said in a statement Monday.

“Although there are many negative impacts of the COVID pandemic, there are also opportunities to make some changes.”

More to come…