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SFU confirms football team is canceling 2023 season and hiring a special advisor

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Simon Fraser University football alumni hope Thursday morning’s meeting with SFU President Joy Johnson and other school officials will be a step toward the football team’s return.

But in the afternoon, an SFU A statement was released reaffirming that the team would not play the 2023 season.

“We’re not going to play college football this fall,” she said.

The statement adds that a “special advisor” will be appointed to “review and make recommendations on potential sustainable opportunities for football”.

We are committed to an open and transparent process. The final decision will be made by the university. This process will take time for everyone to be heard and options made. »

Johnson announced the abandonment of the team on April 4, citing “ongoing uncertainty” caused by the NCAA’s Lone Star Conference dropping SFU football from 2024.

On the same day, Teresa Hanson, SFU’s director of player athletics, said the decision to disqualify the team was not financially motivated and called the process of joining another conference “extremely complicated”.

Players and alumni said they were surprised by the announcement and wondered why the school had not applied to play in other conferences such as Canada West or the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics.

On Thursday evening, the Saudi Football Association Alumni Association issued a statement on its Twitter account saying that they “do not agree” with the university’s decision.

The statement quoted attorney and former player Glenn Orris as saying that with the special counsel appointed to review, the university should reinstate the football program “immediately.”

“Without it, there is no football program to evaluate,” Uris said.

Alumni Association President Mark Bailey was also quoted as saying that the university’s process “does not take into account the future of current student-athletes at SFU.”

“SFU should bring the program back for 2023 to make this process work through to completion,” Bailey said.

Last week, the Alumni Association filed an injunction with the Supreme Court of British Columbia on behalf of five scholarship recipients alleging that the school breached contract.

If successful, the courts can order SFU to continue the program. SFU has three weeks to file a response. A restraining order hearing is scheduled for May 3.

News of the 57-year-old’s canceled soccer program sparked an outpouring of support from the Canadian soccer community and beyond.

On Wednesday, BC Lions owner Amar Duman said he and his friends will match donations to SFU Football of $500,000 annually for the next five years.

“We are doing everything we can to support SFU football, not just for the upcoming 2023 season, but for the future and decades to come,” he said on social media. Doman called for the donation on April 25, which he called “Save SFU Football Day”.

Uris told CBC Thursday morning that the amount of support bodes well for the program.

“I think if we can bring the program back, it will come back better and stronger than it ever was,” Uris said.

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