|Yol Piok heads downfield after a big catch for the Huskies.|
When the dust settled, it was good cooler heads prevail in the U Sports ranks with regards to the age cap rule for football.
Under the age cap rule, players who turn 25 before Sept. 1 age out of U Sports football. Football players have seven years to complete their five years of eligibility in U Sports upon graduating from high school.
On Monday, U Sports announced a review had been launched with regards to the eligibility policies relating to football. The anticipated completion of the review is slated for February of 2021.
U Sports stated that due to the time frame of the review, it will provide a one-time exception to Policy 126.96.36.199.1.1 permitting all currently eligible student-athletes to participate in the 2021 football season even if they exceed the current policy before the start of the 2021 campaign.
To put it in simple terms, any athlete that turns 25-years-old before Sept. 1, 2021 will be eligible to play in the 2021 U Sports football campaign.
|Colton Klassen piles up the yards after the catch for the Huskies.|
The football cancellation included the Vanier Cup national title game and the semifinal contests in the Mitchell Bowl and Uteck Bowl. The Vanier Cup had been contested in every year starting with 1965.
The Canada West Conference, Atlantic University Sport and Ontario University Athletics have all nixed plans to play regular seasons in 2020-21.
The Reseau du sport etudiant du Quebec (RSEQ) is the only conference under the U Sports umbrella holding out hope of having a regular season in football in the 2020-21 campaign.
Back on June 8, U Sports said student-athletes without U Sports national championships this season will not be charged eligibility and will remain eligible for athletic scholarships. At the time, there was no word regarding the age cap for football.
That all changed on July 9, when TSN broadcaster Farhan Lalji reported over Twitter that U Sports had voted against extending the age cap rule for football by a year due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
That initial tweet caused
a surge of stories to come out of various media outlets in the mainstream and
non-mainstream that were almost all of the uproar variety.
|Kyler Mosley (#85) secures a catch for the Rams.|
University of Alberta Golden Bears head coach Chris Morris stepped down as the head of both a university football coaches’ committee and a technical subcommittee over the initial decision regarding the age cap.
With U Sports announcing its review of football eligibility and giving a one-time exception to the current age cap policy, it allows around 300 athletes to know their U Sports football careers won’t come to a sudden end due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
On the University of Saskatchewan Huskies front, that means star utility offensive player Colton Klassen, running back Jace Peters, receiver Yol Piok, offensive right tackle Nick Summach and receiver Joseph Trumpy will all be eligible to play in 2021.
On the University of Regina Rams front, that means linebackers Robbie Lowes and Cody Peters, defensive lineman Cameron Cross, fullback Colton Hippe and receivers Sam Mike and Kyler Mosley can suit up in 2021.
|Nick Summach (#62) leads a running play downfield for the Huskies.|
At this moment, it is a waste of time to get emotionally worked up with regards to the political speak.
Ultimately, U Sports made the right decision. Those that couldn’t play their final season of U Sports football due to the 2020 campaign being cancelled will be able to hit the field in 2021. That is the big thing right now.
The overall work in progress debate of eligibility for football in U Sports is something that can be worked on over the next seven or so months.
When the COVID-19 pandemic ends, it will be a huge benefit to U Sports to return as many veteran players as possible in every sports league under its umbrella. The familiarity will be needed in an attempt to bring back fans.
Bubble visit will be short for some NHL teams, other notes
On Saturday, the NHL begins its 2020 playoffs with a 24-team tournament playing in the bubble cities of Edmonton and Toronto. The Western Conference teams play in Edmonton, while the Eastern Conference teams skate in Toronto.
The first round features eight play-in series that are best of five in length and will feature 16 out of the 24 teams in the post-season. The other eight teams will be playing round robin games against each other for playoff seeding for what is termed the official first round, where the 16 remaining teams will play in eight series that are best of seven in length.
At the moment, the final day for the qualifying round of games is Aug. 9. That means eight teams will have left or be leaving their bubble cities on Aug. 10 to head into the off-season.
Those clubs will have been back together for the period of a month considering training camps began for the 24 NHL teams taking part in post-season play in July 10.
The NHL paused its 2019-20 campaign on March 12 due to the world falling in the grips of the COVID-19 pandemic. During the pause, it was decided the circuit would try to finish the 2019-20 campaign with a 24-team playoff tournament starting on Aug. 1.
For the teams that will be eliminate in the play-in series round, the modified playoffs provided a month reprieve for what is an extend off-season. Those players went four months without being together, got together for a month and then resumed off-season activities until possibly going to training camp for the 2020-21 campaign.
|A Jonathan Toews card.|
Actually, the 24-team tournament is going to go by very rapidly reducing the number of teams that are staying in the bubble cities.
After the play-in series wrap up, the 16 remaining teams begin the official first round of the playoffs on Aug. 11 and action in that round is expected to be wrapped up by Aug. 24 eliminating another eight teams. Those eight clubs will have been together for a month and a half.
For the clubs that advance to the quarter-final round, the conference finals and the Stanley Cup final, the post-season will feel like more of a marathon grind.
For the teams that are eliminated in the play-in round and the official first round, the post-season provides just a quick reprieve away from off-season activities.
Even a hub city will be eliminated as the playoffs progress. The conference finals are slated to open on Sept. 8, and all action in that round and the Stanley Cup final will be played in Edmonton.
Of course, only four teams will still be in action when the conference finals round takes place.
For most players in the NHL, the playoffs will end seemingly as quickly as they began. For a lot of fans, they might find the post-season will go by in the blink of an eye assuming there are no complications from the COVID-19 pandemic.
- If you haven’t seen it, this story from CBC Saskatchewan raised a tonne of uproar this week. On Tuesday, Fiona Odlum and Bonnie Allen from CBC released a story that said five hockey teams from Saskatchewan with players aged seven to 12 traveled to Winnipeg for a tournament that ran July 16 to 19. The Government of Saskatchewan has said there is to be no interprovincial travel for sports teams. A number of the Saskatchewan hockey teams that attended the Winnipeg tournament changed their name, concealed the identity of players and told parents not to post anything on social media. One team coach that was contacted said he was on a fishing trip at the time of the tournament, but the CBC story stated there was a photo that showed that team coach was indeed in Winnipeg. The CBC story can be found by clicking right here.
- On Thursday, CBC’s Alex Soloducha wrote a story about how Saskatoon attorney David Samuel trained to get into the best shape of his life, when COVID-19 cases began popping up in Canada. After someone infected with the virus passed through his law office, Samuel is now battling the COVID-19 virus. The CBC piece on Samuel can be found by clicking right here.
- In the MLB, the Miami Marlins and Philadelphia Phillies haven’t return to action since completing a three-game series against each other this past Sunday in Philadelphia. That series opened the respective regular seasons of both clubs. The season was stopped for both clubs after a COVID-19 breakout on the Marlins roster. As of Thursday, 17 players and two coaches from the Marlins had tested positive for COVID-19. The Phillies have had one coach and one clubhouse staffer test positive for COVID-19 as of Thursday. Both teams aren’t slated to play again until this coming Tuesday, when they are scheduled to face each other in Miami.
- On Thursday, Patrick Johnston of the Vancouver Province reported the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks gave a written termination notice to 49 people employed on a full-time basis in its business operations staff on Wednesday. It is estimated roughly 200 people work in the Canucks business office. Johnston’s story can be found by clicking right here.
- On Tuesday, Gregg Drinnan put together another round up about how the COVID-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc on the sports world in his Taking Note blog. As usual, Drinnan provides a sobering reality check. His piece can be found by clicking right here.
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