BC Lions owner Amar Doman is putting his money where his mouth is, in an effort to save Simon Fraser University’s varsity football program.
SFU announced on April 4 that its football team would cease to exist.
The university’s president Joy Johnson said SFU “carefully considered all available options” and “concluded that football is no longer a feasible sport for SFU.”
Those claims have been called into question by many former SFU football players, as well Doman, who called the decision a “complete shock” in a recent interview with Gloria Macarenko on CBC Radio.
“There was no real work from what we can see done on preserving the situation going forward, into another league or to help these athletes,” said Doman.
“The announcement comes out right after they confirmed the season. A $20 million stadium was built a few years ago, $5 million student building, and then this gets pulled. The poor athletes, I feel for them. We’re not just going to stand by and let this happen the way it is… I’m willing to put my money where my mouth is. So are a lot of other business leaders in Vancouver.”
SFU’s new outdoor stadium on its Burnaby campus was completed less than two years ago.
Doman announced today that he’s prepared to donate up to $500,000 to help save SFU football, and is encouraging others to pitch in on April 25, which he’s dubbing “Save SFU football day.”
Love these young men. They want to be here. They want to play at @SFU. These kids and the next generation are who @sfufbalumni is fighting for. #SaveSFUfootball 🇨🇦🏈
Sign the petition:https://t.co/SfzTh46K16 pic.twitter.com/JVFhzdD8LX
— Farhan Lalji (@FarhanLaljiTSN) April 13, 2023
Breaks my heart to see all these @SFUFootball players publicly trying to now find a home for next season. These young athletes 100% committed themselves to @sfu_athletics – can @sfu_athletics say they have equally 100% committed back to them and what’s best for them? I say no.
— Angus Reid (@angusreid64) April 5, 2023
“We are doing everything we can to save SFU football, not only for the 2023 season that’s upcoming but certainly for the future and for the decades to come,” Doman said in a video posted to the Lions’ social media accounts today. “For all the great athletes that come through such an exceptional program that has been producing fantastic athletes, camaraderie, everything else that comes along with football for many years.
“I need your help. On April 25, we’re going to have ‘Save SFU football day.’ So for every 100 donors, we will match, myself and my team… We look forward to everybody participating.”
The SFU Football Alumni Society has started a petition, which now has thousands of signatures, says Doman. Multiple players are now suing the university for breaching their contract.
Sign the petitionhttps://t.co/G7ZYI2vUkW#SaveSFUFOOTBALL @NCAADII @SFU @sfu_athletics @USPORTSca @FootballCanada @CFL @BCLions @BCLionsDen @CFL_Alumni @CFLPA @TSN_Sports @NCAAFootball @BCHSFB @officialBCPFA @BCFC_Media pic.twitter.com/EffElk0a5R
— SFU Football Alumni (@sfufbalumni) April 6, 2023
“We need as many signatures as we can. This is a very serious matter. We must get this taken care of.”
Doman noted that SFU pulled the plug on their football program one year earlier than necessary. He’s calling for the university to salvage the 2023 season while they find a new league to play in for the 2024 season — perhaps in U Sports against other Canadian universities.
“We’re coming to the table with all the tools to put Humpty Dumpty back together again,” Doman told CBC Radio.
“We’re closing out the options of why this season should not be put back on. If it’s money, I’ve got it. If it’s support, we’ve got it. The petition is in the thousands now. The alumni are so mad they want to take their name off the building. This is big.”
“We’re going to bring everything to them for a solution. So SFU can be the heroes here and fix this. Allow them to play in 2023, and let us work through options, let U Sports work with them. Let’s figure out what 2024 looks like.”
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