ANTIGONISH, NS – St. Francis Xavier University has released the following statement from the Director of Athletics & Recreation Mr. Leo MacPherson with regards to the ongoing AUS football proceedings:
St. Francis Xavier University believes in academic excellence and the integrity of university athletics. Unfortunately, over the past couple of weeks, integrity for student-athlete eligibility rules have taken centre stage. Beyond obvious ethical and educational considerations, St. Francis Xavier University contends that without integrity in university sport, there can be no fair play and competition.
Last evening, a court of law decided upon issues of due process, but did not address the issue of student-athlete ineligibility. What remains to be determined is whether Saint Mary's University, a fellow member of the AUS football conference, broke the rules and fielded an ineligible student-athlete, a position unanimously supported by all other AUS football conference members.
Last week, U SPORTS convened a tribunal to resolve the issue. It was disappointing to read comments in the media by U SPORTS President and CEO, Graham Brown, reporting that U SPORTS is "unable to move forward with our internal processes to determine the eligibility of the player in question because Saint Mary's have in fact proceeded with legal action, which have taken away that ability to assess the eligibility." We encourage Saint Mary's University to remove any impediments that may prevent U SPORTS from making a ruling on the student-athlete eligibility and to release that ruling to the public.
As a member of AUS, we are proud to support a conference that is built on fair competition and integrity. We applaud the efforts of the AUS to ensure that these standards of fair play are kept at the forefront, including in the court of law when necessary.