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SFU football players file for injunction to prevent discontinuation of the program


Five Simon Fraser University football players have filed for an injunction in B.C. Supreme Court aimed at stopping the discontinuation of the school's football program.

The court filing, submitted by Gideone Kremler, Kimo Hiu, Andrew Lirag, Ryan Barthelson and Dayton Ingenhaag, alleges breach of contract.

The move is the boldest yet made by those opposed to the school's decision to ditch its football program, which it announced earlier this month

According to the lawsuit, all five players chose to attend SFU because of their desire to play competitive or professional football, believing that the university would afford them the opportunity to play at a high, intercollegiate level.

The players claim that promises made by SFU coaches during the recruitment process constituted a contract that the university has failed to uphold by choosing to discontinue the program.

"These players all came to SFU based on promises, commitments from SFU, its athletic department, that they would play football and get a great education,” said Peter Gall, one of the lawyers representing the players, outside the courthouse in downtown Vancouver on Thursday.

One of the terms of the contract, according to the court documents, was that players would be able to play on the SFU football team and compete in the NCAA – the main governing body for intercollegiate athletics in the United States – throughout their collegiate careers.

"Obviously, none of us signed up to play for two years and then have the program be completely cut; we all thought we would finish our careers out here,” said one of the plaintiffs, Andrew Lirag.

The lawsuit also alleges that one of the terms of the contract was that SFU would give the players "reasonable notice" if it would not be able to provide a varsity football team on which the players could play.

The players allege no such notice was given before the decision to cancel the program.

The allegations against SFU have not been proven in court, and the university has not yet filed a response to the players' claims.

Asked for comment on Thursday, the university provided the following brief statement:

"We are aware that an injunction is filed. We will be reviewing and considering next steps."

SFU's football program has been competing in the Lone Star Conference since 2021, but the conference opted not to continue its affiliation with the university after the 2023 season.

While this means SFU has no conference to play in for the 2024 season, the players' lawsuit argues that there is nothing preventing the school from continuing to play in the Lone Star Conference in 2023, and seeks the injunction to compel the school to field a team for the coming season.

Gall says they’re hoping they can reach an understanding with the school and avoid a legal battle.

“The claim is a safety valve,” he said. “We’re hoping it doesn’t get to the need of appearing in court for an injunction.”

"We hope, now, that the university realizes the consequences of its decision, that we'll be able to resolve this so that the team can play as planned,” he added. Top Stories

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