The fight to revive Simon Fraser University’s football program has turned into a legal battle.
The Simon Fraser Soccer Alumni Association will seek an injunction against the Burnaby, British Columbia, school to resume its football program. The lawsuit, which is scheduled to be filed in British Columbia Supreme Court on Wednesday, was filed by the alumni association on behalf of seven players on the team.
“Normally, you would seek an injunction before taking action,” said Glen Orris, a Vancouver attorney, former SFU football player and director of the SFU Football Alumni Association. “The lawsuit will be for breach of contract.
“We mean terminate the program, they violated the contract with the student-athletes.”
The move comes a week after the school’s principal, Joy Johnston, announced that Simon Fraser had stopped his football program, effective immediately. Johnston added that the decision was not based on money, but the Texas-based Lone Star League’s announcement that it would not renew Simon Frazier after the 2023 campaign.
Simon Fraser had a 1-9 record last year. But in March, the football team promoted Eric Taylor to offensive coordinator and hired Samuel Richard as special teams coordinator.
SFU is the only Canadian school in the NCAA that has had a football team since 1965.
“I hope this gets resolved quickly without having to deal with the legal issues,” said Orris, a former catcher for Simon Fraser who also spent time with the CFL’s Winnipeg Blue Bombers. three seasons. “My view as a lawyer is that when all else fails, going to court is your last resort.
“But the difficulty we got to this point was that we didn’t get any feedback from the university. We asked the question: ‘Is this about money? ” They said, ‘No, no, it’s not about the money. The problem is we can’t find a meeting. Our position is, ‘Well, you can find a meeting. We can find you one, we have one. Canada West No commitment has been made, but they have made it very clear that they will appreciate your application and will give it a good review.”
The school’s decision has come under fire as the football team has a playing field this season. Additionally, from 2002 to 2009, Simon Fraser fielded a football team with U Sports, Canada’s collegiate sports governing body, recording a record of 16-47-2.
Now, there is an obstacle to returning to U Sports because the organization’s charter does not allow members to belong to other conferences. SFU reportedly held talks with Western Canada officials late last month, but does not appear to have applied to join.
Less than a week later, the school announced it was canceling its football program. Simon Fraser moves to the Lone Star Conference in 2022.
Since 2010-11, Simon Fraser’s varsity teams have been competing against NCAA Division II schools south of the border. While the football program has ceased, Johnson said SFU will continue to field 18 NCAA Division II sports teams.
Simon Fraser’s football team competes in the Division II Greater Northwest Atlantic Conference (GNAC) from 2010-2021. Before that, it competed in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) from 1965 to 2001.
SFU football has had a lot of support since the school made its decision.
Last week, CFL Commissioner Randy Ambrosie sent letters to U Sports CEO Pierre Arsenault, Western Canada Managing Director Rocky Olfert ), as well as all Canadian collegiate athletic directors and head coaches, request that SFU’s programs be allowed to continue in Canada.
The Canadian Football Association and the CFL Players Association followed suit Tuesday, sending similar letters condemning the school’s decision and calling for the program to be reinstated.
“It’s just devastating that the program came to an end so abruptly, without any outreach or calls for support,” CFLPA executive director Brian Ramsay wrote in an email to Johnston. ’” “In effect, you’re not only ending the program, you’re ending the career of an aspiring athlete going to a professional team.
“Worse still, you allow spring practice knowing you have decided to cancel the program. I was told during these practices; players were also seriously injured. There is massive untapped public support for not canceling the SFU football program. CFLPA is happy Working with you to build a league, find a new conference for the SFU Red Leafs, save the season and get athletes back on the field where they can fulfill their potential and aspire to be on the professional teams. You owe your students so much.”
In a letter to U Sports schools, Canadian Football Association president Jim Mullin asked them to find a way to keep Simon Fraser playing in Canada.
“SFU has been one of the innovators in college football in our country since 1965,” Mullin said. “Whether playing Canadian Football or American Football, they have made significant contributions to the culture and growth of our game.
“Unfortunately, Simon Fraser’s current government does not view this contribution through the same lens as Canadian football. Please find a way to welcome Simon Fraser football back to the Canadian game, back to Canadian football 162 years tradition, which was started by Canadian universities and is currently led by Canadian universities.”
—Dan Ralph, Canadian Press
Soccer Universities and Academies