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What you need to know about COVID-19: September 25, 2020
Université de Montréal football coach Marco Iadeluca said the decision to cancel the 2020 Quebec university football season wasn’t a surprise, but it was a disappointment.
“When you look at what was happening elsewhere in the country and with the NCAA and the CFL, you knew there was a possibility we wouldn’t be playing,” Iadeluca said Tuesday. “We were holding out hope because we expected to have a good team and, after losing (to Calgary) in the Vanier Cup last year, we had a lot of players who were hungry to get back there.”
RSEQ, Quebec’s governing body for school sports, announced the cancellation of all university sports for the fall season Monday. The decision was made after a weekend meeting of athletic directors from 12 universities. The decision was made by a secret ballot and no results were released, but it’s believed that some of the five schools that play football were opposed to cancelling what would have been an abbreviated season beginning on Sept. 26.
The Quebec decision brings the province in line with the four other conferences across Canada that announced the cancellation of fall sports in June. The Quebec universities will make a decision on winter sports in mid-October, but there will be no competition before Jan. 1.
Schools will be permitted to have limited informal competition in soccer, golf and cross-country, while football and rugby teams will be allowed to train, but not play games.
“Our guys have been lifting weights and doing conditioning drills since Aug. 1 and we planned to begin practices this week,” said Concordia football coach Brad Collinson, who noted that CEGEPs and high schools will be allowed to play.
“That’s a bitter pill to swallow,” Collinson said.
“It’s hard and there is a little frustration to see the inconsistency between the college and university networks,” Laval coach Glen Constantin told Journal de Québec. “I didn’t think COVID discriminated between college and school players, who will be able to play, and university players. At the very least, I expected that we could play exhibition games or joint training with other teams, which teams in the rest of the country will be able to do. We would have held three training sessions per week. (Our players) are not weightlifters and should be given a certain pleasure by allowing them to play football.”
Players will be given an extra year of eligibility and the universities are expected to honour academic and scholarship commitments, but the cancellation could mean some athletes have played their last games.
“The student-athletes will have that extra year of eligibility, but there will be those who graduate and decide they want to get on with their careers,” said McGill coach Ron Hilaire. “There are others who might take more courses because they want to get a shot at the CFL or because they want to play one more season. Those are decisions the athlete will have to make.”
One such athlete is McGill wide-receiver Mathieu Soucy, who will graduate with an economics degree in December. He said football motivated him to get through CEGEP Garneau in his native Quebec City.
“Football helped me get to McGill where I had to study hard because it’s such a great school,” said Soucy. “I want to play my final season and I’ll probably come back and finish a certificate in finance, which I stated before I switched to economics.”
“It’s disappointing that we won’t be playing football this year, but the health and safety of our students has to be in the forefront and we respect the decision,” added Hilaire.
Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2020