York Football: 40 years of failure needs to end


Adam Berel Wetstein | Contributor

Featured image courtesy of Pixabay

This year, the Argo Cup went to the Lions in the 50th annual Red & Blue Bowl.

Meanwhile, the Argos drew less than 14,000 patrons a game, or about 55 per cent capacity, at BMO Field.

Part of this can be tied to maybe the two worst football programs in collegiate sports: University of Toronto and York University.

Unfortunately, I am also a former sports writer from Excalibur back in the day: 1980 to be exact. I have watched as the campus has gone from being six kilometres north of the last house on Keele Street to the middle of the transportation hub of North Toronto, from having to hitchhike to get home or to a subway stop.

But one thing has not changed in 40 years, and that is how the York football team stinks and shows no sign of improvement. In 1980, we callow youths of Excalibur said the football program should be cancelled.

We argued it was so embarrassing that it was hurting the attraction of other athletes to York.

It was just four years after Canada’s only summer Olympics and some of Canada’s best track stars were training here that we dominated in basketball and hockey—we were also the national champions in gymnastics.

On October 11, the Lions won their first game of the season over the University of Toronto Varsity Blues (a team that had beat our record for most losses in a row and were one away from equaling a North American record for university football futility held by Columbia), but the Lions lost once again the following week to the Queen’s Gaels, so it meant another one-win season for the Lions.

In the last 35 years, the Yeoman, later named Lions, have a combined record of .153, and except for the surprising period of relative success in the mid-90s, have less that 90 wins in 40 years.

It might make sense to keep the program if Toronto Public Schools played football, however, in the former city of North York where York is housed, there are only three schools left playing gridiron, so the Lions have almost no local talent pool to recruit from.

While everything is getting better here at the land of the rose, football has become the sport of larger caucasian males, while soccer and rugby is the sport of the multi-ethnic campus that is York.

The trouble with football is, unlike the U.S. where it is the great generator of collegiate revenue, here in Canada it is a money pit.

It costs almost as much to run the football program as it does to run all the other ball sports combined, and for what? To see if we can eek out a win against a team with a record equally terrible to us in the last three decades?

It is time to put these dead horses down. We were right 40 years ago, and we are more certain now.

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By Excalibur Publications



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