CIS still undecided on potential Laurier forfeit

Homecoming weekend has never been this stressful.

After sweating it out for the better part of this past week, the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks men’s football team will now have to wait an extra two days to find out whether or not their Sept. 11 win over the University of Toronto will become a forfeit.

“Obviously we’re disappointed, we were hoping that this would get resolved quickly and we could move on,” said Laurier athletics director Peter Baxter. “But we have to respect the process that the committee members are going through to reach their decision.”

A committee of Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) officials have yet to reach a decision regarding the eligibility of fifth-year defensive end Dave Montoya, who returned to Laurier this season after a five-year absence. Montoya’s eligibility was called into question earlier this week due to a rule new to the CIS this summer that stipulated that players must complete their five years of eligibility within seven years of graduating high school.

Montoya first played at Laurier from 2002-2006, only using four years of eligibility with ’02 being a red-shirt year in which he didn’t dress for a regular season game. He then re-enrolled at WLU in January for his fifth year of eligibility under the old rules, which had no restrictions regarding gaps in playing time.

“They had a hearing on Wednesday where the committee identified that there was some additional information needed,” said CIS chief executive officer Marg McGregor. “There is a committee of five people who will make a ruling, and we had hoped it would happen today but with the unusual circumstances, it probably will not at this stage.”

The unusual circumstances McGregor referred to was the technical difficulties on Laurier’s network that occurred yesterday, causing the internet to be down for the better part of the day. Due to the network problems, the CIS didn’t receive the information McGregor alluded to and that delayed the committee’s process.

Montoya didn’t dress for Laurier’s win over York last week, making that win safe from becoming a potential loss.

For the Hawks, this means that they will have to play their Homecoming game versus Guelph tomorrow, not knowing if a win can bring them up to 3-2 or 2-3.

“We were hopeful that this would get resolved and Dave would be playing tomorrow, so obviously we’re extremely disappointed,” said Laurier manager of football operations and head coach Gary Jeffries. “But this can’t have any effect on how we play tomorrow. We just have to go into it like any other game.”

Despite the circumstances that have befallen his team, Jeffries sees this as a chance for the Hawks to prove their mental toughness.

“It’s another opportunity to show the character of the group that we have,” he said. “I fully expect that we’re going to show how we deal with adversity.”