‘Special advisor’ to review SFU football’s future, but team won’t play next year

Click to play video: '‘It’s devastating’: SFU athletes react to end of football program'
‘It’s devastating’: SFU athletes react to end of football program
WATCH: Jim Mullen from Football Canada and SFU football players KeyShaun Dorsey and Ryan Barthelson speak from the BC Supreme Courthouse steps on Thursday about the impact the cancellation of the football program has had. They are asking for an injunction that would force the school to keep football operating at least for the 2023-2024 season – Apr 13, 2023

Simon Fraser University says it’s bringing in a special advisor to look at the future of its football program, but added that varsity players won’t take the field next year.

The move comes as the school faces a lawsuit and injunction application from five players, claiming SFU breached its contract with them when it announced it was cancelling the program earlier this month.

SFU is the only Canadian school to participate in the U.S.-based NCAA. The football team had been playing in the NCAA Division II Lone Star Conference, which recently announced it would not renew its contract with the school for the 2024 season.

Click to play video: 'SFU players sue university to keep football program operating'
SFU players sue university to keep football program operating

In its statement Thursday, the university said all parties agreed that there was no longer a path forward for the team to play varsity football in the NCAA.

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“Since our announcement, we have heard suggestions about establishing non-varsity football or seeking an exemption with other Canadian varsity football programs,” the statement reads.

“We also have heard from individuals that support the decision to end the football program.”

The university says it is supporting players who want to try and switch schools to continue with football, and will honour academic scholarships for those who choose to remain.

It is also engaging a special advisor who will meet with students, athletes, faculty, staff and alumni and report to the provost “to review and make recommendations regarding potential sustainable opportunities for football.”

The advisor is slated to report back by the end of the year.

Players, alumni and Football Canada have all spoken out about the decision to cancel the program since it was announced earlier this month.

Many players said they had come to SFU specifically to play football.

On Wednesday, BC Lions owner Amar Doman pledged with other community leaders to match donations up to $500,000 to keep the team at SFU.


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