Acadia, SMU get ready to play, but at what cost?

After much turmoil that has surrounded the 2017 Loney Bowl, the Acadia Axemen and the St. Mary’s Huskies will finally be playing today as ordered by the court.

As many of us don’t live in the world of legal technicalities and have had trouble following all the rabbit trails and circles that the court proceedings took this past week, we tend to understand the x’s and o’s and prefer to stay there.

We reached out to one of CFC’s analysts, Clint Uttley, who was a head coach in U Sports and is also an Acadia Alumni. We asked him how does the short lead up to the Loney Bowl affect both teams?

“It’s unfortunate that this game will be played on such short notice. I think this was a complete disadvantage for Acadia who has been off for close to three weeks and has potentially prepped three different game plans. Along with, at one point, telling them they weren’t even going to play.”

Traditionally, a football team will compete once every seven days. This will not be the case for the AUS champion this year as which ever team prevails on Tuesday will have three days to get ready, making a difficult task of beating the University of Western Ontario, who are the Yates Cup Champions, even tougher.

Uttley said, “Only once in my coaching career have I seen this quick of a turnaround which was during my time at UBC where we played cross-town rivals, SFU, in the Shrum Bowl on a Tuesday then had to prep for Calgary, fly there, and play the game on Saturday afternoon. Those timelines are extremely difficult from a prep standpoint and from a health and safety standpoint.”

“During the second game at Calgary, we lost nine players to injury and had 18 penalties as a team. There was a point where we ran out of players at two positions and had to play players out of position, which at the university level, is extremely difficult.”

In the current concussion era, four days in between games is “completely unacceptable” states Uttley. Aside from the issues that have surrounded the game (ie. eligibility complaint etc.), we would like to know who will be held accountable if there is a serious injury on the field. Would it be the judge who ordered the game to be played, the lawyers from both sides, the governing bodies (U Sports and the AUS), or the two schools playing in the game?

According to head coach Jeff Cummins in a interview with CBC, he also has his concerns on the safety of his players. He said that while some would argue that they do it at the professional level, those athletes have all the resources surrounding them in order to get back on the field and ready for the next day. At U Sports, you don’t have that and it is up to the university to do the best they can with what they have.

“Seems like they argued about everything except player safety,” said Uttley. “So now you have forced two coaching staffs into extremely difficult circumstances where they were long shots at the national semifinal level, but now you have hurt their chances even more.”

“I don’t get how there wasn’t a single word or discussion about player safety other then what Coach Cummins addressed in his comments with the media,” finished Uttley.

Disadvantage for the ASU champ, massive advantage for the Western in the Uteck Bowl. The AUS has struggled the last few years in the National semifinal game and because of this situation, it will make the task of beating Western that much more difficult. Hopefully the game goes off with no serious injury and the AUS champion can head into the National semifinal healthy and able to represent their conference at a high level.


Statement from MTA

Statement from StFX

Statement from U Sports


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