Football: OUA pushes start of season up five days to save schedule

John Bower of the Streaming Sports Network ( has a bead on the OUA schedule, ahead of the press release.

Ontario University Athletics' football schedule will begin on Wednesday, Sept. 1, five days ahead of schedule, to accommodate the University of Waterloo's suspension of its team.

The OUA will play a balanced eight-game schedule over a nine-week period, with each team having one bye week. The current six-team playoff OUA format will be retained.

The four games on Sept. 1 will involve teams which were not scheduled to play under the original, unbalanced 10-team slate.

(Updated, 11 a.m. June 21.) Opening Day on Sept. 1 will including the following matchups, with game times still needing to be finalized, save for a 7 p.m. Laurier-Western kickoff:
Ottawa at Windsor
Toronto at Guelph
Laurier at Western
Queen's at McMaster.
Bye: York (which was not scheduled to play Waterloo in 2010)
The McMaster Marauders will receive the bye in the final week of the regular season. Windsor, Western and Ottawa will also play five games in a 25-day span in September, but have benefit of late-season rest.

The regular season will resume Monday, Sept. 6 with the annual Labour Day classics across the province.

The rest of the OUA schedule remains as was originally released with the exception that all games against Waterloo will now result in a bye.

The biggest loser in the new schedule are the Windsor Lancers, who have had to cancel their 2010 homecoming game, as a result of the bye they have receive on October 2. Athletics and Recreation Services are rumoured to be considering moving the scheduled soccer doubleheader against Waterloo from the afternoon to the evening to replace the football game. The 25th University of Windsor Sports Hall of Fame induction ceremony will go ahead as planned on October 3.

The top six teams in the OUA standings at the end of the regular season will qualify for the playoffs with the third-, fourth-, fifth- and sixth-place teams playing in the quarter-final round on Oct. 30, followed by the conference semifinals on Nov. 6 and the 103rd Yates Cup championship game on Nov. 13.
2010 OUA bye rotation:
Week 2 (Monday, Sept. 6) - Queen's
Week 3 (Sept. 11) – Guelph
Week 4 (Sept. 18) – Laurier
Week 5 (Sept. 25) – Toronto
Week 6 (Oct. 2) – Windsor
Week 7 (Oct. 9) – Western
Week 8 (Oct. 16) – Ottawa
Week 9 (Oct. 23) – McMaster
In a sense, it was a stroke of luck for all concerned Labour Day falls on Sept. 6. It meant there was enough time to move the season ahead without starting the schedule in August. Who knows what bind would have been created if Labour Day was Sept. 1?

For anyone wondering, OUA rules state, "The opening game of the season can be played on the Saturday, Sunday or Monday of the Labour Day Weekend as determined by the host." That does not mean they cannot go earlier if needed (Josh Bell-Webster from OUA points out the sports year is defined as beginning Aug. 15.), but a season has never started in August since the current OUA football league took form in 2001. Teams needs time to hold camp. Common sense evidently prevailed.
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  1. So there was a news embargo until 12:01am on Monday. No kudos for publishing early!

  2. VCVet, I had already circulated the story to media by the time the release came out. It was posted to the blog, shared with a pair of SIDs, and several other senior managers within OUA schools and a member of the Toronto Star staff with my latest e-mail going out at 9:38 pm ET while the OUA release came out at 9:50 pm.

    Sorry but this story is a legit scoop put together before the release. If the release had have come out before I circulated it to SIDs, talked to ADs and cocahes this evening, I would never have sent it to the Blog or other media members.

    Thanks for your comment!

  3. For anyone who does wonder (and it is fair question);

    I have an e-mail from John (JB3) time-stamped 9:41 p.m. ET with the text of this post, saying "take this to the bank."

    The OUA release is time-stamped 9:46 p.m. ET.

  4. "In a sense, it was a stroke of luck Labour Day falls on Sept. 6. Under OUA rules, the earliest the regular season can begin is Sept. 1, so who knows what would have happened with a different calendar?"

    To clarify, there is nothing that states in OUA rules and regulations that a football season cannot begin before Sept. 1. In fact, August 15 is the earliest date a regular season can start for all of our sports. The original mock of our schedule had the opening games scheduled for Sunday, August 29, but because there are three schools (Ottawa, Western and McMaster) scheduled to travel out-of-province for exhibition games, the decision was made to play Week 1 games on Sept. 1 to allow these three schools to honour their commitments.


    Josh Bell-Webster
    OUA Communications & Media Relations

  5. Mr. Bell-Webster,

    You're misconstruing the point. It's a simple statement that it would have been more difficult to solve this if Labour Day fell on Sept. 1 (or 2). What is wrong with us saying that?

    Also, section 5.2.1 of the football rules posted on says you can have an opener on the Saturday of Labour Day weekend. It doesn't mention Aug. 15.

    Everyone who pitched in to work this out deserves high praise for finding a solution that didn't cost the league any of its competitive integrity. In a matter of days, they worked out a way to preserve the eight-game reg. season and six-team post-season despite having an unprecedented situation thrust upon them by the University of Waterloo (not one and the same as its athletic dept., since no one believes Bob Copeland made the call).

    Kudos to OUA for getting this close to 100 per cent right.

  6. Big winner here i think is TV ratings, a prime-time Laurier-Western game to kick off the season will draw a big audience and should be a terrific game.

    I'm going into my 4th year and im praying that i will finally be able to see my Hawks beat the Mustangs before i graduate!

  7. One would hope that game is aired. The Score typically has not started its University Rush slate until the first Saturday, but I could see it airing this one.

  8. Just as a follow-up to Josh's point about starting football on Aug. 15. Here is the exact language of the OUA rules, from the 2009 manual:

    "1.2 Starting Dates
    Official training camp/practice to commence 14 days prior to Labour Day Monday.

    "Fall Term Sports (September – December)
    Practices and exhibition play can commence August 15 (exception Football)
    Football can commence training camp on August 24, 2009 [Amended August 2009]
    League play can commence the Saturday of Labour Day weekend."

    I'll say no more. The OUA did a good job getting this worked out on very short notice. Not sure how Ottawa would feel about going all way to Windsor on a Wednesday and peeling back to host Western on Monday, but someone was bound to be put in a tight spot thanks to University of Waterloo's selfish decision.

  9. I agree with Mr. Sager on this, the OUA got it right and there is the possibility of Ottawa and Windsor moving their opening game up a day to the Tuesday to allow Ottawa the time to return home and have the same preparation time as the other teams in the conference.

    I'll stand by our story and here's why:

    Since the OUA went to it's schedule whereby games are played on the Labour Day weekend in 2003, it has only been possible to start the season prior to September 1, ONCE in 2008.

    There has never been a regular season OUA football game played in the month of August and therefore we chose to use the September 1st date as one that was easy to explain instead of citing parts of OUA regulations.

    I trust that this clears the air on this point that is really small apples when you consider the actual story which is it's a great schedule and a great solution to an unenviable position.