By: Karl Kofmel
It only took 16 days after the game was played, but the result of the women’s rugby gold-medal game is in: Algonquin and Humber will split the medal.
After a lengthy appeal process, the executive committee of the Ontario Colleges Athletic Association (OCAA) overruled the ways and means committee’s decision to return the gold to the Thunder Dec. 3.
“Obviously I am not in agreement with the decision,” Algonquin College’s athletic director Ron Port said via email.
“All I know is that the Algonquin women were the better team, won the match fairly and should have been declared the champions. This result is a travesty. How the executive committee could overturn the ways and means committee is beyond me.”
Immediately following the 16-13 overtime victory by Algonquin Nov. 17, Humber started the appeal process based upon the fact that the overtime format was played with Ontario University Athletics (OUA) rules and not OCAA rules.
The OCAA women’s rugby convenor, Jim Bialek, who works for Humber as their assistant athletic director, awarded Humber the medal on Nov. 19.
Algonquin took the next step by appealing to the ways and means committee. They ruled in favor of Algonquin Nov. 27. Humber wasn’t finished, though, as they made the final step of appealing to the executive committee.
“In our appeal I declared that I didn’t want to disadvantage Algonquin for our gain and appealed for a dual win in the last stage of the process,” Humber College’s athletic director Doug Fox said via email.
“I am ecstatic that is how it turned out and our coach is very happy as well. Both teams felt they won and from all sources it was an outstanding game and both teams deserved championship recognition.”
In a statement addressed to both Port and Fox, the OCAA executive committee said “..that as a result of the numerous administrative oversights that occurred during the day, including not playing the overtime according to OCAA rugby regulations, that the score at the end of regulation play should stand and noted the final score will read – Algonquin 8, Humber 8. Both teams will be recorded as co-champions.”
The decision to award co-champions didn’t sit well with Thunder head coach, Jennifer Boyd, however.
“In sport, there are winners and there are losers. Period. Championships cannot be shared,” Boyd said in an email. “I could not be more proud of the Algonquin women for their outstanding efforts on that day, and each day in preparation for that win.”
This could be the start of an incredible rivalry as both teams were easily the best of the east and west. Now there is some fuel to add to that competitive fire.
“Algonquin played the match as agreed to by both team’s coaches and the officials,” said Port. “The coaches shook hands and wished each other the best of luck and because Humber loses they appeal. It is gold or nothing as far as they are concerned.”
The Thunder will look to get their chance at revenge next year, but the unfortunate case with this game is the asterisk that will be included with the final result.