Decision on potential Laurier forfeit to come Wednesday

It may not be the news they wanted or expected, but the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks football team has finally heard something from a Canadian Interuniveristy Sport (CIS) eligibility committee regarding the ruling on defensive end Dave Montoya. The Hawks will find out whether or not their Sept. 11 win over the University of Toronto Varsity Blues will become a loss at a hearing on Wednesday.

“We just have to wait, there’s nothing more we can do now,” said Laurier athletics director Peter Baxter. “[The CIS] has to organize the meeting, I can appreciate that and we’ll just have to be available… Wednesday is the normal time when [the CIS committee] meets and since there’s no game between no and then I guess they’ve decided to wait until Wednesday.”

Montoya’s eligibility came under scrutiny early last week, due to the fact that the Burlington native returned to Laurier this season for his fifth and final year after a five-year absence, having last played on the 2005 Vanier Cup winning team.

A new rule came into effect this past summer declaring that CIS football players must use all five years of eligibility within seven years of graduating high school, which would declare the 27-year-old Montoya ineligible. However, that rule was to apply to players starting their first-year of CIS competition in 2010, and Montoya initially played at Laurier from 2002-2005, only using four years of eligibility before re-enrolling at WLU in 2005.

“CIS athletes have the right to request eligibility exemptions under special or unique circumstances and that is what Mr. Montoya is pursuing at this time,” said CIS director of operations and development Tom Huisman. “The eligibility committee is in the process of rendering a decision on his request for relief of the regulation that is otherwise making him ineligible.”

Due to CIS policy regarding cases still under review, Huisman was unable to go into further detail, adding only that the decision was still “in the process.”

Should Montoya’s appeal be denied on Wednesday, the Hawks will be forced to forfeit their win over Toronto as a punishment for playing with an ineligible player. Montoya didn’t dress in the Hawks’ wins over the York Lions and the Guelph Gryphons in order to avoid potential forfeits.

A forfeit would vault the Blues ahead of the Hawks in the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) standings after Toronto’s shocking 40-35 win over the conference-leading Ottawa Gee-Gees improved their record to 2-3 on Saturday.

The Hawks, meanwhile crushed Guelph 36-2 on the weekend, moving (for the time being) to 3-2. A Laurier forfeit would see the teams exchange records and move the Blues into a tie for fourth in the OUA.

“We can’t control stuff like that so we just have to focus on what we can [control],” said Laurier quarterback Evan Pawliuk. “You can’t sit there and wait for a decision because that’s not going to do you any good in the long run.”

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