April 14, 2023

Sign the Simon Fraser University petition

Photo courtesy: SFU Athletics

Count Wade Miller among the growing number of voices who are standing up in support of the football program at Simon Fraser University.

And the Winnipeg Blue Bombers President and CEO – a proud student athlete and graduate of the University of Manitoba who starred on the Bisons football and wrestling teams – is asking football fans in this province and beyond to do the same.

“This decision by SFU is just brutal and awful and the lack of effort to try and find a place for the team to play in a different league is appalling,” Miller told on Friday. “To do this, to pull the rug out from student athletes who have committed to a program, shows a shameful lack of leadership.

“So, the Winnipeg Football Club is fully behind the SFU alumni in their efforts to get this team reinstated and get them playing this year, whether it’s in Canada West or in a different league in the U.S. We ask all of our fans to show their support to the alumni and sign this petition.”

The petition is here.

Just to recap; earlier this month, SFU announced the school’s football program, which began in 1965, would be shut down. SFU had been playing its schedule against NCAA Division II opponents in the United States, first in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference and most recently in the Lone Star Conference in the southern U.S.

The Lone Star Conference voted not to renew its affiliate agreement with SFU, and the school’s administrators then opted not to examine the possibility of joining the Canada West Conference, or another option in the U.S., leaving the players and coaches suddenly in limbo when most programs are already in spring training camps.

On Thursday, five members of the SFU football team filed suit against the university, seeking an injunction from the B.C. Supreme Court to stop the move. SFU sophomore quarterback Keyshaun Dorsey spoke to the media outside the courthouse and framed the school’s decision as ‘devastating.’

“It’s had quite an effect on my mental health, just the (exams) and everything this week,” Dorsey said. “It’s been a lot to process, but with the amount of support we’ve had, it’s making it a little bit easier to handle.”

The SFU’s football alumni, including Doug Brown – the Blue Bombers and Canadian Football Hall of Famer – have been very vocal in their fight to save the program.

Miller, along with Canadian Football League commissioner Randy Ambrosie and other prominent football leaders across the country, are imploring SFU administrators to not just listen to the growing support to save the football program, but to change their decision.

“As leaders, sometimes we make mistakes,” said Miller. “But here’s an opportunity for the SFU president and athletic director to show some real leadership, take a step back, take a breath and realize there’s a different path forward. Now’s the time to truly show your leadership by first admitting the mistake and then working to fix it.

“Football is an inclusive sport. There’s a spot for everybody in football. Look at the leaders that have come out of that program – and it’s the same with athletes in other sports at other schools – whether it’s Doug Brown, Obby Khan, Glen Suitor, Farhan Lalji of TSN who is helping this fight… there have a lot of successful people.

“This is why you have student athletes and football gives an opportunity for large impact because the rosters are so big. And this is why we have to save SFU football.”