Women's Volleyball: York disqualified, Final Four moved

In what's becoming a regular occurrence in CIS sports, history has been rewritten again. It turns out the York Lions' women's volleyball team did not, in fact, win in three sets against the RMC Paladins Saturday, and they will not, in fact, be hosting the OUA Final Four this week. York apparently used an ineligible player, middle blocker Michelle Pierce, who transferred from Windsor and sat out the mandated 365 days, but didn't play in a regular-season game (so was ineligible for the playoffs). The rule isn't all bad, but it's remarkable that York didn't pick up on this; these kinds of eligibility situations should be intensively studied by every coach and athletic department given the consequences. Instead, we now have a tournament rescheduled and relocated on short notice (it's now set for Ottawa), an #8 seed in it instead of the favoured #1 seed (which might have been the OUA's best hope at nationals), and egg once again over the collective face of CIS.
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  1. Why is egg on the face of the CIS? The blame is all on York, isn't it? Schools are responsible for ensuring eligibility in Canada; the CIS does not have a "national clearing house" like the NCAA. There's not that many pages in the CIS regulations to learn - 29 including introduction for the indexed eligibility chapter. And anyone can read it on the CIS website: Eligibility for Conference Championship
    An athlete may not participate in conference, regional or National Championships unless the athlete was eligible to participate prior to the conclusion of the last regular season game or event or equivalent in the sport conference or equivalent within which they would compete.

  2. Why not explore why York was willing to use a young student athlete's eligibility over the possibilty of playing max 5 matches. The decision smacks of selfishness and greed as the program made a decision to dismiss the contributions of three other middle blockers on the roster that helped them get to a record of 16-2 in the first place. It's hard to have sympathy for York when it took me all of 30 seconds to find the rule on the CIS website.

    You are also dismissing the abilities of the other teams in the Final Four - if York had played there was no guarantee they would have won. In the last three seasons the #1 seed and host institution has lost the Gold medal match in the OUA. So historically there is no indication that York would have in fact made it out of the OUA.

  3. I'll let the "egg on the collective face of CIS" slide since it was evidently a throwaway line and not clear what it refers to ... but David and vbdiva8 each hit the nail on the head. This was all on York for misreading the rules. Perhaps they just got it in their heads that Pierce could play after 365 days expired. We've all done that.

    However, as vbdiva8 correctly points out, that's still a terrible way to treat the young women who played all season and a poor way to burn a year of Pierce's eligibility. That's the irony: even if it had been legal, it was still a poor decision.

  4. OK folks get your eggs lined up properly before you make assumptions. While I agree it is ultimately up to the schools to ensure compliance, York did not misread the rules, they just read one set, the OUA's, and assumed it was consistent with the CIS.

    Actually, this have could have been any school in the OUA that could have made this mistake because the conference regulations only stipulated the 365 days but omitted the CIS clause requiring the player to play a regular season game. There are many instances of conflicts and inconsistencies between OUA and CIS regulations and that doesn't help.

  5. So shouldn't the throwaway line then read 'OUA' instead of 'CIS'? At the end of the day, the regional authorities need to conform to the CIS rules if they want to enter the national championships.

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  7. OUA rules are very clear: Article 2.4.6 of the constitution:

    CIS Student-Athlete Eligibility Requirements
    Student-athletes who participate in a CIS sport must meet all of the CIS eligibility requirements for participation in that sport. (For CIS eligibility requirements, see the CIS Constitution and By-Laws.) Further requirements may be placed on such athletes in accordance with OUA principles. In declaring and appealing eligibility, all due process and judicial requirements of the OUA and CIS must be met by member institutions, institutions with playing privileges, and their student-athletes.

    No regional association can have eligibility rules that are less strict than those of the CIS - they can have rules that are more strict, but not less. It comes down to a school doing its job.

    1. Sorry, that ws article 2.1 of the OUA constitution and not 2.4.6 - you can read the document here: http://oua.ca/documents/2012/1/10/CONSTITUTION_Jan2012.pdf?id=51

  8. Thanks ... shouldn't believe everything I read!