HALIFAX, N.S. – Atlantic University Sport (AUS) announced yesterday that, due to an eligibility issue that has arisen involving the Saint Mary's University football program, the 2017 AUS Loney Bowl football championship game has been cancelled.
In a release issued Thursday, the AUS stated: “Atlantic University Sport is the governing body for university athletics in Atlantic Canada. Its mission is to enrich the educational experience of student-athletes through a regional sport program that fosters excellence—including integrity, fair play, trust and mutual respect.
“It is incumbent upon AUS to act in a manner which reflects the spirit of the rules and is focused on principled behaviour.
“An eligibility issue has arisen involving the football program at Saint Mary's University. This issue has resulted in ongoing controversy and discord in reference to which team has earned its rightful place as a participant in the AUS football championship final game.
“Certainty on eligibility issues is central to fair play in the conference. Without that certainty, there cannot be the equal playing field essential to the value system of the AUS as set out in its Mission Statement and Constitutional Objectives.
“AUS is confident this matter will ultimately reach a conclusion that is fair to all parties. Unfortunately, with the championship game scheduled for this Saturday, time does not permit for a fair resolution to be reached prior to the playing of this game.
“AUS has therefore determined that a conference championship final will not be played this season.”
As a result, the first-place finisher from the 2017 AUS regular season, the Acadia Axemen, will advance to represent the conference in the national semi-final game.
Acadia University will host the Ontario University Athletics conference champion Saturday, Nov. 18, in the 2017 U SPORTS Uteck Bowl.
"We are disappointed a final resolution to this situation could not be reached in time," said AUS executive director Phil Currie. "Cancelling the AUS Loney Bowl is unfortunately the only avenue we feel we can take, as a conference, at this time. However, we believe this decision protects the integrity and fairness of the 2017 AUS football season."