Simon Fraser alumni leave SFU Sports Hall of Fame in protest of football cancellation

Photo courtesy: Scott Grant/

In a show of solidarity with the players who were affected by Simon Fraser University’s recent elimination of its football program, some of the school’s most notable alumni are choosing to leave the SFU Sports Hall of Fame.

“I don’t wish to be affiliated with or have my prior football career ‘bring excellence’ to a university that no longer recognizes collegiate football as a worthwhile entity or endeavour for young amateur athletes throughout British Columbia,” said SFU alumnus and Canadian Football Hall of Fame inductee Lui Passaglia in a statement.

The individuals who have chosen to leave the Hall of Fame include Passaglia, Sean Millington, Glen Jackson, Terry Bailey, Doug Brown, Dave Cutler, Wayne Holm, Rick House, Neil McKinlay, Rob McLaren, and Orville Lee. This group does not include those who were inducted as teams, multi-sport athletes or those who have passed away.

These individuals have indicated that they would be willing to return as members of the Hall of Fame if and when SFU’s football program.

Photo courtesy: Scott Grant/

“My experience at SFU was formative and something I cherished. It was a very special time and because of that I can’t support the administration’s decision to take this opportunity away from the next generation,” said Millington.

The primary reason SFU cited for the cancellation of its football program was the lack of a conference in which to play beyond the upcoming season. Per source, 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.

SFU president Dr. Joy Johnson met with the SFU Football Alumni Society (SFUFAS) last week regarding the cancellation of the football program. The school later released a statement indicating that they will appoint a special advisor to investigate potential opportunities for the future of the football program while reiterating that SFU will not be playing football in 2023.

The SFUFAS responded soon afterward 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.

Photo courtesy: Scott Grant/

“The administration has eliminated half of the university football opportunities for our players in B.C. We all stand united in saying this is unacceptable and not representative of the Simon Fraser program we represented,” said Brown.

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 fundraising drive was held on Tuesday, which raised over $700,000 in support of SFU’s football program. Over 800 pledges were made and their funds were matched by B.C. Lions’ owner Amar Doman and other community leaders. The funds will only be collected when and if the program is reinstated.

John Hodge is a Canadian football reporter based in Winnipeg.