Alouettes GM Danny Maciocia ‘appalled’ by U Sports decision to stick with age cap

Danny Maciocia wants U Sports to rethink it’s age cap decision which will cause 24-year-old players to miss their final year of eligibility due to COVID-19.

The board of directors voted against the one-year exception despite the Football Technical Committee, made up of affected head coaches and athletic directors, voting unanimously in favour of the fifth-year athletes.

Interim U Sports chief operating officer Dick White defended the controversial decision to not extend the 25-year-old age cap because of the coronavirus pandemic cancelled season, ending the careers of student-athletes.

The current Montreal Alouettes general manager responded on Twitter: Were players, coaches and athletic directors consulted U Sports? Clearly not as football community is appalled by this decision. Not all decisions must have a legal attachment, sometimes common sense must prevail. Still have time to do the right thing!

The decision was delayed a full week and turned on the pages of a 13-page legal memorandum requested by the organization to examine the possible long term effects of an exception. It turned even supporters of COVID-19 amnesty, like White, against that possible path.

The 52-year-old Maciocia was the head coach at the University of Montreal from 2011 through the 2019 season. He guided the Carabins to their first Vanier Cup championship in program history on home turf in 2014. Maciocia has lots of experience in Canadian university football and wants the athletes to be able to play out their time.

The age cap was originally instituted as a clarification of the previous five years of eligibility in seven years after high school graduation policy, designed to prevent athletes in their late twenties competing against 18-year-olds fresh out of high school.

U Sports cancelled its football season and 2020 Vanier Cup in June due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 24-year-old student-athletes who were planning to play their final season on the gridiron won’t be able to do so through no fault of their own.