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Wheat King
2008-07-14, 13:43
Six Sask. players deemed ineligible, wins stripped

Tim Switzer
The Leader-Post


Monday, July 14, 2008


Saskatchewan coaches are upset over a ruling that left the provincial under-19 team out of the final of Saturday's Football Canada Cup in Sherbrooke, Que.

After winning its first two games at the tournament, Saskatchewan was to play in the final before six players were found to be ineligible because of their participation in CIS or junior football in 2007. Saskatchewan's victories were stripped away, preventing it from competing in the final.

"It was a tough, emotional ride," said Len Antonini, Team Saskatchewan offensive co-ordinator and a member of the Football Saskatchewan board of directors. "We put a lot of time into all of this -- all the guys do -- and it was pretty disappointing."

Four players who spent the 2007 season with the Regina Thunder were deemed ineligible as was one from the University of Saskatchewan Huskies and one from the Saskatoon Hilltops. Those six players were suspended for the remainder of the tournament as was Saskatchewan head coach Ryan Hall. Football Saskatchewan was also fined $1,000.

The team could have played in the bronze-medal game, but did not have enough players to compete because of the suspensions and injuries.

Antonini said the road to Saskatchewan's misfortune began five years ago when, he claims, the team was given permission to use CIS and junior football players on its roster -- a practice they have followed ever since. The official rules state teams from Manitoba and the Maritimes may use a maximum of four players from post-secondary leagues in the tournament.

"We haven't hidden this in five years," said Antonini.

But that doesn't make it right, said Football Canada president Barry Gunther.

"If you're doing something contrary to the law and you don't know it and say, 'Well I did it last year,' the police are still going to say it's wrong and 'We caught you this year,' -- that's the essence of it," said Gunther, a Moose Jaw resident and the past president of Football Sask. "We agreed that they made an honest mistake but there were 11 teams that competed (in the under-19 and under-17 divisions) last week and 10 of them complied with the rules and Saskatchewan didn't."

Antonini and others place part of the blame for the mix up on the national body. Football Saskatchewan sent the roster to Football Canada three weeks prior to the event and each player was approved to compete in the tournament.

"You tell me one thing and you're a partner of mine, I'm going to trust you," argued Gunther. "They just misunderstood the rules of the game and weren't trying to abuse them. They just didn't know them."

The six players in question also played the first two games of the tournament wearing their Huskies, Thunder and Hilltops helmets, something Antonini said should have made obvious the teams with which the players regularly competed. But Gunther pointed out that Manitoba, for example, listed players from the Winnipeg Rifles as being from the Winnipeg Rifles. Saskatchewan's official roster lists the players in question with their high school teams.

Antonini said there is also confusion with the wording of eligibility rules. While it is clear the Manitoba and the Maritimes can use four post-secondary players, there is no mention that those are the only two teams that can use such players and there is no limit set on other teams.

"It doesn't say what anybody else can or can't use," said Antonini.

Gunther pointed to the fact that other teams read it the way the board did, but admitted that the rule needs to be rewritten to prevent future confusion.

"In the end it was one of those traumatic, devastating decisions that was tough on everybody," said Gunther.

http://www.canada.com/reginaleaderpost/news/sports/story.html?id=cac48fdc-9301-42ab-a1e5-068304ddce92

professor x
2008-07-16, 03:54
Antonini said there is also confusion with the wording of eligibility rules. While it is clear the Manitoba and the Maritimes can use four post-secondary players, there is no mention that those are the only two teams that can use such players and there is no limit set on other teams.

"It doesn't say what anybody else can or can't use," said Antonini.

Gunther pointed to the fact that other teams read it the way the board did, but admitted that the rule needs to be rewritten to prevent future confusion.

"In the end it was one of those traumatic, devastating decisions that was tough on everybody," said Gunther.

http://www.canada.com/reginaleaderpost/news/sports/story.html?id=cac48fdc-9301-42ab-a1e5-068304ddce92

I was exactly right. The rule does not explicity state team's can't use players with CIS or Junior experience. It doesn't matter how many other teams "read it the same way". No matter how you read it, the players are not ineligible by the rules set out by the FCC. That's the FCC's fault. :mad: :mad: :mad:

You can't punish a team for a rule that doesn't exist in writing (!!!). Sask would win in any court room in the country if they took this to court.

I feel really sorry for the Sask players who had their tournament ruined by this decision. Being kicked out while Manitoba Juniors and Quebec CEGEPs remain, based on a rule that doesn't actually state they're ineligible :eek: