“The first thing I thought of was just how excited I am for those fifth-year guys,” said Rams head coach Mark McConkey.
After cancelling its championships due to the coronavirus pandemic, U Sports had deemed players would not lose a year of eligibility, however, the national governing body did say the age cap would still be implemented. The rule prevents players who turn 25 before Sept. 1 from playing for a university program, which meant six members of the Rams would have been over the age cap.
However, Monday’s decision means those six players can play in 2021.
“I know I talked to a lot of them and their parents and they were very disappointed, as we all were, with the decision and I told them we’re going to try to do everything we can to get it turned around,” McConkey said.
“For U Sports to turn it around so quickly, I’m glad. I know it’s the right decision and again, just excited for those fifth-year guys.
“We’re still not sure what’s going to be happening in the future but the main thing right now is those fifth-year athletes have the option to come play their last year in 2021.”
U Sports announced it’s beginning a consultation process with member universities and stakeholders to review its football eligibility policies, with an expected completion date of February 2021.
“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,” Dick White, U Sports interim chief executive officer, said in a release.
“Although there are many negative impacts of the COVID pandemic, there are also opportunities to make some changes.”