SMU spend 447K on legal battles

The season ended six months ago, but the SMU Huskies have continued their legal battle with U Sports spending 447k in fees since the Loney Bowl debacle of 2017 as reported by the CBC.

The court case stems from a formal complaint filed to U Sports on behalf of Mount Allison, St. FX, Bishop’s and Acadia about the eligibility of Archelaus Jack, who was reported on the Saskatchewan Roughrider’s practice roster in October, 2016. Rules state that any player reported on a CFL practice roster past August 15th must wait a full year before becoming eligible again, but SMU interpreted it as one academic year instead of one full calendar year. Jack played in four games for the Huskies last season, and his ineligibility would’ve resulted in them forfeiting all four games, dropping their record from 5-3 to 1-7 and out of the playoffs.

The complaint led to a run of confusion, where initially on November 9th the AUS decided the Loney Bowl would be cancelled due to the uncertainty, but then three days later the Nova Scotia Supreme Court reversed the decision and ordered that Acadia and SMU play the game no later than November 14th. Acadia went on to defeat SMU 45-38 in overtime, and there’s an agreement in place not to disclose whether Jack was ever deemed ineligible while U Sports attempts to reword the rule to prevent future problems.

That’s when most of Canada stopped caring about the story, but SMU has racked up 447K in ongoing legal fees since then, and it’s only going to escalate further with separate litigation ongoing with the AUS over whether cancelling the game was appropriate. SMU received 36.25 million dollars in funding from the province this past fiscal year, and the government says they have complete trust in how the university spends their money.

The question at this point is how far will they go? The university says they stand firm in their decision to defend one of their student-athletes, but to the other AUS programs it seems like a cut and dry violation of the rules they should’ve been punished for by the AUS and U Sports. This story has been messy from day one, and we haven’t hit rock bottom yet with each side firmly entrenched in their interpretation of the rules – which is only going to end up costing more no matter the outcome.

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