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U Sports reverses decision, making over-age athletes eligible for 2021

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REGINA —
U Sports student athletes who are currently 24 years of age will be eligible to play university level football in 2021, following a period of uncertainty due to COVID-19.

Two weeks ago, U Sports, the board that oversees university sports in Canada, made a controversial decision, saying it would not allow 25 year-old players in 2021. However they reversed their decision, granting those players a one year exemption.

“I tempered down my expectations when I first read the release. I read it probably three or four times, could it be true?” Rams linebacker Robbie Lowes said.

Lowes was one of the hundreds of players impacted by the decision.

Days ago, the Regina product believed his student athlete, and possibly football career was over. Lowes was upset that U Sports would maintain an eligibility rule despite cancelling this upcoming season due to the pandemic.

“It just felt unfair, there were a lot of questions, not a lot of answers, really just a rollercoaster ride,” Lowes said.

Eight Rams, including Lowes, received the good news on Monday, that U-Sports had revisited the topic.

“It’s us again,” said Lowes. “It’s not just ‘hey I want you guys to do well, I want you guys to win a Vanier,’ it’s let’s accomplish these goals together.”

The U Sports interim CEO says he received a handful of letters from athletes across Canada, expressing their frustration with the original ruling. The former University of Regina athletic director says the U-Sports board faced mounting pressure to deal with the issue.

“We had a lot of push back from members, we do listen to our membership that is very important to us,” Dick White said.

Most U Sports competition, including football, will be cancelled until January. U-Sports is taking this opportunity to review it’s football eligibility policies in light of the recent debacle.

“The current age cap policy is far from perfect,” said White. “We’re going to take the time to make sure we get it right and make it one that is less likely to be challenged in the long term.”

White admits their original decision was controversial, however the U Sports board feared it could face legal repercussions if a younger football player was injured because they were playing against 25 year olds. Coaches and athletic directors expressed their ability to manage a roster with a large age gap.

“If you happen to be an 18 or 19 year old that is good enough to start, you’re probably physically ready for it,” said White. “That’s something that they’ve come back and really educated us on our full time professional coaches know how to have a large roster.”

White says a current issue with football eligibility is having a specific age as part of the cap.

“Part of the age cap was there to move people through the system, that we want you to come in, get your degree, and go on and be great leaders and professionals in the community. We’re not trying to create an alternative to being a professional football player,” he said.

U-Sports says the upcoming review of football eligibility will involve discussions with NCAA members, who don’t use an age cap, but rather an “eligibility time clock” which is based on player circumstances rather than a specific age.

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Colorado Schools select sports moving to the fall

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COLORADO — The Governor’s office is giving schools the option to move football, field hockey, and sideline spirit to the fall, which was originally slated to start in the springs due to COVID-19.

The Colorado High School Activities Association (CHSAA) requested variances for remaining fall sports but they are still being considered by the Governor’s response team.

“I think they looked at the numbers and they looked at what can be done to safely put students back on the field,” Bert Borgmann, Assistant Commissioner with CHSAA.

Originally, the athletic schedule put in place for this school year was for football, field hockey and cheer to kick off in the spring. Schools like Harrison School District Two are sticking to that format.

“The original plan gave our athletes the opportunity to get on a field and participate, “said Dave Hogan. “There were state championships there and there were there for everyone.”

But others like D11 are bringing Friday night football back this fall. D11’s Athletic Director, Chris Noll says it’s partly due to the lessening of current restrictions.

“We just felt like we need to get the kids back to some normalcy,” said Noll. “We feel we can return safely.”

Regardless of what each school choses to do, CHSAA has a schedule for both seasons.

“A champion will be crowned in both A and C seasons and if there are some limited teams in C there will be some different types of scheduling that will be created,” said Borgmann.

Prior to the decision, several students and parents voicing their concern on there not being football in the fall.

“The reality of recruiting is, if you are high school senior at this point and don’t have a Division One offer, you’re not getting a Division One offer,” said Borgmann.

As for other fall sports who didn’t get lumped in with this current variance like boys soccer and girls volleyball, CHSAA says the governor’s office has yet to approve.

“We were disappointed we wanted our volleyballers to have an opportunity, they will compete till just be in season C,” said Noll.

As of Thursday, Harrison, Sierra, Canon City and the Classical Academy have decided to not move to the fall.

Response from the Governor’s Office:

“CDPHE responded to the requests that were submitted to the agency on Saturday of this past week, which included requests for football, field hockey, cheer and dance and volleyball. CDPHE provided conditional approval for the increased rosters for all of the outdoor sports that were listed in the letter, but denied the request for variances related to indoor sports. Soccer was not one of the sports included in Saturday’s letter.”

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Coronavirus: Big White Ski Club cancels annual ski, board and sport swap – Okanagan

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The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has waylaid yet another popular event: Big White Ski Club’s annual ski, board and sport swap.

The popular event was scheduled to take place Oct. 23-24 at New Life Church along Harvey Avenue in Kelowna.

This week, though, organizers said this year’s gathering has been cancelled because of coronavirus guidelines and concerns.

Read more:
Coronavirus: Big White Ski Resort seeking Canadians for winter workforce

“This was a difficult decision to cancel our 50th annual ski, board and sport swap, but Covid-19 restrictions on group sizes and safety protocols would make it impossible to operate our largest fundraiser of the year,” said club president Dave Willoughby.

Funds raised by the swap help support around 150 youth athletes, says Willoughby. But this year’s cancellation is expected to have a significant impact on the non-profit club’s finances.

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COVID-19: Face masks to be mandatory at Sunshine Village for ski season


COVID-19: Face masks to be mandatory at Sunshine Village for ski season

Willoughby, however, is hopeful the swap will take place next year.

For more information about the Big White Ski Club, including how to donate, click here and here.




© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.



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Metro Schools’ sports to begin playing games next week

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Football at high schools within Metro Nashville Public Schools will be allowed to resume on September 25.

Dr. Adrienne Battle, director of MNPS made the announcement during Mayor John Cooper’s weekly news conference.

Dr. Battle also announced girl’s soccer can return September 23.

“I’m proud to be able to say that high school students will be able to participate in sports and other extracurricular activities in person, whether they attend school in person or remain in the virtual environment,” she said.

Fans won’t be able to attend games yet, but Dr. Battle said they are working on ways to add to the school spirit.

“We will allow cheerleaders and marching bands to be at games in a way that will provide for both social distancing and a bit of game time atmosphere.”

Live streaming technology is being added to stadiums for home games as well.

Football coaches in the district were given approval to start contact practice last Friday.

Previously, district leaders said contact practice was on hold until COVID-19 conditions improved for the city.

“We will continue to monitor the COVID-19 metrics to make further determinations regarding starting games and competitions,” MNPS Spokesperson Sean Braisted said in a statement.

He added that all extracurricular social distancing guidelines and precautions have to be followed, and the district will begin to phase in extracurricular activities as conditions allow. That goes with the district’s phase-in approach to in-person learning.

Stay with News 2 for continuing coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

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