The Simon Fraser University Football Alumni Society (SFUFAS) held a successful pledge drive on Tuesday, raising over $700,000 to help reinstate the school’s recently-eliminated football program.
The SFUFAS partnered with B.C. Lions’ owner Amar Doman and other community leaders who agreed to match pledges as the drive reached certain thresholds. In total, 800 pledges were made and funds will be collected when and if the football program is reinstated. The money will be used as financial aid for SFU football student-athletes, many of whom could not pursue a postsecondary eduction without financial support.
Doman has publicly supported the efforts of the SFUFAS to overturn the school’s decision and encouraged the public to sign the petition to reinstate the program.
SFU president Dr. Joy Johnson met with the SFU Football Alumni Society (SFUFAS) last week regarding the football team’s dissolution. The school later released a statement indicating that they will appoint a special advisor to investigate potential opportunities for the future of the program while reiterating that SFU will not be playing football in 2023.
The SFUFAS responded soon afterwards criticizing the school’s review process for being “opaque.” The organization remains committed to engaging with the administration to develop a sustainable path for football in 2023 and beyond.
As per 3DownNation reporter John Hodge, SFU’s alumni and coaching staff have informally secured agreements with nine other teams in Canada and the United States to form a schedule for 2023. There is also optimism that the program could join U Sports in 2024.
Back when the football program was cancelled on April 4, SFU claimed the decision was made primarily due to the Lone Star Conference’s (LSC) decision not to renew its membership beyond the 2023 season, leaving them without a home for 2024.
Athletic director Theresa Hanson admitted that the school did not formally request to join U Sports prior to the cancellation due to what she described as an “incredibly complex” application process. She also claimed to have met with “key alumni” of the football program before its cancellation was announced.
Five SFU football players filed an injunction last week in B.C. Supreme Court to reinstate the football program, claiming the decision violated a verbal contract stemming from their recruitment. They are seeking a court order reinstating the 2023 season and expect to be in court on May 1.
A number of notable SFU alumni left the school’s Sports Hall of Fame on Wednesday in protest SFU’s decision to eliminate the football program. They indicated that they are willing to rejoin the Sports Hall of Fame if and when the football program is reinstated.
Among those who have publicly condemned SFU’s decision are the alumni group, CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie, the CFL Players’ Association, Winnipeg Blue Bombers’ president and CEO Wade Miller, former Toronto Raptors’ head coach and SFU alumnus Jay Triano, and the newly-formed SFU Football Mom Squad.