Football: Rulings

With any luck annual eligibility concerns do not become a tradition in CIS football. But for the second straight year a football program stands on the verge of forfeiting a win due to an eligibility miscue.

Wilfird Laurier lost their appeal to keep David Montoya on their football team, and while they're appealing the final decision they stand a good chance to lose that one as well. The University of Toronto will jump up the standings by reversing their loss to Laurier to a victory thanks to the use of an ineligible player and the Golden Hawks will be placed in an unenviable position of fighting for their playoff lives.

It does appear the Golden Hawks were mistaken when doing their eligibility homework. Whether their compassionate appeal makes sense or not may become irrelevant should the CIS stand by its policy; the rules are the rules and they are set in place for a reason.

And the rule was changed to ensure people didn't hold on to their last year of eligibility for too long, which does make perfect sense. There were years of precursors and fans yelling for change leading up to the CIS capping the age limit of when football players can join teams. And while the governing body was unable to snag every loophole they are in the process of doing just that right now.

While every above is hard to dispute one thing is potentially worthy of discussion - how long before a season starts should a rule be amended?

Rule changes are generally positive; they reflect an issue that demands investigation. But making a rule change after a recruiting season is complete is more complicated for sports programs. Making a rule change and saying that "any sport starting within the next three months is exempt from this rule until the following season" would save from some of these recent football eligibility issues taking place.

The Golden Hawks' football program should find themselves stripped of a win over Toronto because of their failure to comply with this newly amended eligibility rule. While their plea will be based in a positive light and on compassionate grounds rule violations do come with consequences, and those may be felt once the appeals process is done. The method in which rule changes are implemented however might also be an avenue worth exploring in the future.
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  1. Good stuff; although the rule was voted on in June so it was on each school athletic dept. to get the point across to the football teams.

    Hilarious that Baxter is saying it's "ambiguous" when Saint Mary's understood it clearly. So he is basically conceding that Saint Mary's is a smarter school than Laurier, hah-hah.

  2. I agree entirely but it still happened within what, 60 days or so of the start of the football season? And it took place after the recruiting season was done as well. Teams following the rules by the letter as they gathered recruits and transfers had little time to fill those sudden gaps now created. And as such teams tried their best to get around those gaps.

    A window of time upon implementing new policy changes might be a good idea to further explore.

    The Laurier case is pretty open and shut from my point of view, if they already lost one compassionate plea the odds are stacked rather high against them winning the appeal. But we shall see.

  3. Laval also understood clearly the new rule (Francis Claude case) but I agree its application should have been delayed for a year because of the timing (after recruiting over).

  4. The recruiting argument does not wash. Did David Montoya have to be recruited to come play for Laurier? After all, he was doing this to fast-track his teaching career.

    In not all cases, but many, these older transfers who are doing post-grad degrees (Ryan at SMU is taking a MBA, good for him) contact the coaches about coming out for the team. There was plenty of time in July to ascertain whether the guy could, in fact, suit up.

    There is a valid argument in re: timing so long as you don't use that to argue Laurier should be off the hook.

  5. I agree with Sager, the fact that Montoya was being heralded as a recruit doesn't diminish the fact that he's not eligible.

    I'm also not sure why the points haven't been transferred to Toronto leaving the onus on Laurier to get the appeal completed on a timely basis.