Canada West rules on game complaints

After investigating two complaints originating from the University of Calgary football team’s season opener against the University of Saskatchewan Huskies, the Canada West Complaints Committee has issued a suspension to the Dinos head football coach.

Following the Sept. 4 game, Saskatchewan filed a complaint against Dinos head coach Blake Nill who vocalized his dissatisfaction with Huskies safety Bryce McCall’s concussion-inducing head hit on Dinos receiver Anthony Woodson. It was alleged that Nill threatened a Saskatchewan player.

After reviewing game footage and official’s reports, the committee ruled that Nill’s actions constituted a violation of an article in Canada West’s Code of Conduct governing Coach’s Conduct.

“Blake doesn’t deny that his reaction to the situation on the field crossed the line. He’s taking responsibility for his actions,” said U of C director of athletics Kevin Boyles. “We don’t really have any dispute with that suspension.”

Nill was handed a one-game suspension to be served at the Dinos next game.

However, Boyles does take issue with the committee’s decision regarding the Dinos’ complaint about the hit itself, which was ruled as not warranting any sanctions.

“More than anything I have a great deal of concern for the message that might be sent to the athletes that play football in Canada West,” said Boyles. “You’ve got a situation here where, in the eyes of many people, you have this helmet-to-helmet hit, for the league to rule on that and deem the hit to be clean, I think that raises the potential for our athletes to have a view that the playing field is too wide open in terms of what is acceptable contact on the field.”

Boyles explained that he doesn’t believe Canada West intends to say they condone head shots, but that the rules, as they stand in Canada now, do not have the same penalization requirements as other leagues.

“The leagues hands are tied a little bit in terms of what they can do given the circumstances,” said Boyles, who now views it as the responsibility of athletics directors to ensure that head-to-head hits are communicated as not acceptable to the players.

Nill will miss this Saturday’s away game against the University of Alberta Golden Bears.

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