2020 Vanier Cup a casualty of COVID-19, U Sports cancels championships

2020 Vanier Cup a casualty of COVID-19, U Sports cancels championships

2020 Vanier Cup a casualty of COVID-19, U Sports cancels championships

Canadian university sport has ground to a virtual halt because of the COVID-19 pandemic that also wiped out this year’s Vanier Cup.

U Sports cancelled six fall championships, including the Nov. 28 annual football title game in a city that had yet to be announced.

The women’s field hockey and rugby, men’s and women’s cross-country and soccer championships all scheduled for later this year were also cancelled.

The Vanier semifinal Mitchell and Uteck Bowls were called off.

Quarterback Josiah Joseph of the defending-champion University of Calgary Dinos hopes Monday’s announcement doesn’t spell the end of his collegiate career.

Joseph, 23, has one year of eligibility remaining, but needs U Sports to alter its football age-out rule for him to play in 2020-21.

“As of the rule, personally I would age out,” Joseph told The Canadian Press. “That was pretty devastating to hear.

“I believe the rule states players born on or after Sept. 1, 1996 are still eligible, but I was born July 10.”

The Atlantic and Ontario conferences announced Monday all varsity sport is shut down to the end of 2020.

Canada West, which encompasses the four western provinces, will not operate any team sports for the rest of the calendar year, but has yet to make a decision on golf, cross-country and swimming.

Decisions also await on whether winter sports can resume in 2021.

“Frankly, if there’s no vaccine and the physical-distancing requirements have not changed across our four provinces, it’s going to be hard to envision us playing a January to March season,” Canada West president Clint Hamilton said.

The RSEQ has yet to declare its plans for Quebec.

U Sports said in its statement athletes whose championships are cancelled in the 2020-21 season will not lose a year of eligibility.

Joseph, however, represents a cohort of football players caught up in rule designed to limit the age of players in Canadian university football to under 25. Players have seven years after graduating from high school to complete their five-year eligibility.

“They encourage players to play a couple years of junior before U Sports,” Joseph said. ”I think with the amount of players in that situation, it would be a shame not to bump that age date.

“I’m really hopeful and will be advocating for that.”

Canadian university sport includes roughly 20,000 students at 56 schools and employs approximately 900 coaches.

Schools can continue offering athletic financial awards — known as AFAs — which are generally tuition and fees.

“I’m hopeful we’re still able to offer the robust financial aid to our student-athletes again,” Dinos athletic director Jason Kerswill said. “If our athletes are training and doing what they need to do to make sure they’re ready to compete when possible, we want to support them as best we can.”

Canadian university athletics is largely funded by student fees, ticket sales, sponsorships, facility rentals and summer camps. All face reductions because of the pandemic.

Canada West announced in May a reduced football schedule from eight regular-season games to five, as well as schedule changes to other sports.

Hamilton said Monday’s announcement was more about preventing the spread of a virus that has killed almost 8,000 Canadians than money.

“Of course, in Canada West, we did do a scope of work understanding institutions were facing financial challenges,” he said. “Finances are always part of the equation, but … this decision was being made in the health interests of our student-athletes, coaches, fans and the public.”

While much of the 2019-20 season was complete before COVID-19 shut sport down mid-March, the national men’s and women’s hockey and volleyball championship were cancelled.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 8, 2020.

Donna Spencer, The Canadian Press

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A nurse gets a swab ready at a temporary COVID-19 test clinic in Montreal, on Friday, May 15, 2020. Health Canada has reversed course on home test kits for COVID-19, saying it will now review applications for such devices. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Employee at Bethany CollegeSide in Red Deer tests positive for COVID-19

An employee at a Red Deer continuing care facility has tested positive… Continue reading

The Government of Alberta has identified 1,828 new cases and 15 new COVID-19-related deaths, which brings the provincial death toll to 590. (File photo)
Alberta identifies 1,828 new COVID-19 cases on Friday

Central zone has 1,251 active cases

Higher sales of cannabis helped Canadian farmers come out in the green. (Black Press Media File)
Drumheller RCMP lay charge for unlawfully distributing cannabis

A joint forces investigation involving the AGLC investigation team partnered with Drumheller… Continue reading

Three weapons have been seized and four people are facing charges following a police operation in central Alberta. (Photo contributed by RCMP)
RCMP, Lacombe Police seize loaded guns, arrest four people

Four people have been arrested and multiple prohibited firearms are off the… Continue reading

The Salvation Army's 2020 Christmas Kettle Campaign includes a new $5 tap feature for pandemic-friendly donations. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Salvation Army officers safe, touchless options for Kettle donation this year

The Salvation Army in Red Deer needs help. Kettle donations are needed… Continue reading

Dan Cochrane, senior pastor at CrossRoads Church. Contributed photo
CrossRoads Church closes its doors for two weeks after staff member tests positive for COVID-19

CrossRoads Church made the decision to cancel in-house services for two weeks… Continue reading

Montreal Alouettes' Michael Sam is set to make his pro football debut as he warms up before the first half of a CFL game against the Ottawa Redblacks in Ottawa on Friday, Aug. 7, 2015. Sam became the first publicly gay player to be drafted in the NFL. He signed with the Montreal Alouettes after being released by St. Louis, but abruptly left after playing one game. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Study finds Canada a “laggard” on homophobia in sports

Study finds Canada a “laggard” on homophobia in sports

Canada's Kadeisha Buchanan (3) and Mexico's Jacqueline Ovalle (11) battle for the ball during a CONCACAF women's Olympic qualifying soccer match Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020, in Edinburg, Texas. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Delcia Lopez
Lyon defender Kadeisha Buchanan named Canadian Women’s Player of the Year

Lyon defender Kadeisha Buchanan named Canadian Women’s Player of the Year

Winnipeg Blue Bombers' Andrew Harris celebrates his touchdown against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats during the first half of the 107th Grey Cup in Calgary, Alta., Sunday, Nov. 24, 2019. Running back Andrew Harris, who was instrumental in the Winnipeg Blue Bombers ending their Grey Cup drought in 2019, tops the CFL team's list of potential free agents. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Grey Cup MVP, top Canadian Harris among Winnipeg Blue Bombers potential free agents

Grey Cup MVP, top Canadian Harris among Winnipeg Blue Bombers potential free agents

24Toronto Raptors' Fred VanVleet (23) goes up for a shot agains the Boston Celtics during the first half of an NBA conference semifinal playoff basketball game in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., Friday, Sept. 11, 2020.. Watching Connor McDavid let a slapshot fly or Fred VanVleet sink a deep three can be a salve to the soul of a sports fan run down by the difficult realities of the COVID-19 pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Mark J. Terrill
Bubbles are best: experts say return of sports risky as COVID-19 pandemic continues

Bubbles are best: experts say return of sports risky as COVID-19 pandemic continues

Coastal Carolina's Grayson McCall (10) scrambles past Texas State's Nico Ezidore (95) during the first half of an NCAA college football game in San Marcos, Texas, Saturday, Nov. 28, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Chuck Burton
BYU presents tough challenge for Chanticleers, Canadian Makonzo this weekend

BYU presents tough challenge for Chanticleers, Canadian Makonzo this weekend

Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Huawei, arrives at B.C. Supreme Court to attend a hearing, in Vancouver, on Friday, November 27, 2020. The U.S. Department of Justice is refusing to comment on media reports that its lawyers are seeking a plea deal of sorts with Chinese tech executive Meng Wanzhou. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
PM won’t confirm reports U.S. Justice Department seeking plea deal with Meng Wanzhou

PM won’t confirm reports U.S. Justice Department seeking plea deal with Meng Wanzhou

Alek Minassian is shown in a handout photo from his LinkedIn page. A psychiatrist retained by the defence will testify for a fifth consecutive day today at the trial for the man behind Toronto's van attack. Dr. Alexander Westphal says Alek Minassian does not truly understand the moral wrongfulness of killing 10 people, but says criminal responsibility is a legal opinion, not a psychiatric one. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO
‘I know what I did was morally wrong,’ Alek Minassian told psychiatrist, court hears

‘I know what I did was morally wrong,’ Alek Minassian told psychiatrist, court hears

A look at what provinces and territories have said about COVID-19 vaccine plans

A look at what provinces and territories have said about COVID-19 vaccine plans

Most Read