Canada’s only NCAA football team, Simon Fraser, to be dropped by Lone Star Conference

Screenshot courtesy: Simon Fraser University Athletics

Canada’s only NCAA football program is in search of a new league to play in 2024.

On Thursday, Simon Fraser University announced that their affiliate membership in the Texas-based Lone Star Conference would not be renewed following this season. The Red Leafs finished last place in the LSC in 2022, posting a 1-8 record.

SFU has played NCAA Division II football since 2010, competing in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference. However, the GNAC dropped football ahead of last season, leaving their three remaining members — SFU, Central Washington, and Western Oregon — to partner with the Lone Star.

“The NCAA DII landscape has changed over the last several years, which has resulted in only three NCAA Division II football programs remaining in Division II west of Colorado,” SFU head coach Mike Rigell said as part of the program’s official statement.

“Over the past few years, we have been working diligently to find a conference for football, and while we were pleased to find a place to compete, participating in the LSC has resulted in a challenging situation for athletes, largely due to extensive travel required and the need to cross the border.”

In 12 NCAA seasons, the Red Leafs have posted an 18-99 record. They previously competed in the U.S.-based National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) from 1965 to 2001, before briefly competing in Canada from 2002 to 2009 as part of U Sports –then called CIS.

Simon Fraser will play the 2023 season as scheduled, beginning on Saturday, September 2 against Linfield University. The school is expected to provide an update on its conference search later in the year.