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 WindsorThe 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.
Toronto at Guelph
Laurier at Western
Queen's at McMaster.
Bye: York (which was not scheduled to play Waterloo in 2010)
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: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?
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
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.