Thursday, November 22, 2007


Worth noting that Manitoba football coach Brian Dobie, as noted by our man James Mirtle at, has his voice-mail "flooded with ugly messages from disgruntled Mustang fans" after the Bisons hammered Western in the Mitchell Bowl.

It's only game, Western fans. No Queen'sman (always one word) would ever stoop to the ultimate passive-aggressive of leaving a voice-mail on the coach's off-hours. No, this one does his bleating out in a public forum.


Dennis Prouse said...

Although it is completely classless to leave nasty messages on a coach's voice mail, the Western fans have a bit of a point. The relatively soft entrance requirements to Manitoba have always been a bit of a joke within the Canadian football community. The deal is this -- at age 21, Manitoba considers you to be a "mature student", and at that point entrance requirements fall through the floor. Guess how old most of Dobie's recruits are when they first enter U of M? The new regulations should put a bit of a bite on that, although I'm betting the prairie schools will still have, on average, older teams.

Really, though, this isn't much different from what BYU has been doing in the States for years. Mormon kids, of course, are expected to do a two year missionary stint, so as a result BYU often ends up with a wide array of 25 year seniors. Sometimes it helps them, sometimes it doesn't.

sager said...

They expect Dobie to change the rules, though?

I did post on the CIS Blog yesterday that there should be no problem with individual players in their late 20s, but 26 is too much. Why can't the CIS cap it the same way junior hockey limits teams to three overagers, or the way developmental leagues in the pros have a cap on veteran players?

I dunno, calling the athletic director would have made more sense.

Dennis Prouse said...

They will probably wait to see if the new rule regarding junior players helps to curb it. As the article mentioned, this is the last class that Dobie will have before the regulations regarding junior ball counting towards eligibility kick in. They are probably reluctant to put in a hard and fast rule on age due to the extenuating circumstances of a few athletes, although as you mention an exemption for two or three overagers might take care of it.

Regarding the calls to Dobie -- he is very much the public face of the Manitoba football program, and as you see has been unapologetic about recruiting older players. I should also add that I have spoken to Dobie in the past, and find him to be a heck of a good guy. He loves the game, and he truly believes what he is saying regarding having the older players on his team.

Of course, we don't know exactly how many calls he got -- maybe it was only two or three, and the story has grown larger with the telling.

sager said...

Brian is by all accounts a good man, and as noted at the other blog, framing this as an education and social issue (the fact that many of his players from single-parent and working-class backgrounds) is a masterstroke on his part.

Call him on it, and you risk seeming like an elitist, which is the worst thing you can be in Canada. I would also add if this were an Ontario school doing this, there wouldn't be as much uproar; it's Manitoba, it's a small province, it's open to attack.

That doesn't mean having to swallow Dobie's line it whole; he's all about winning and getting the best players within the rules. The man does have a point, though, and I'm certainly not rooting against the U of M due to having 26 players who are the same age as my sister, who graduated in 2004 (and that was with a 16-month professional internship!).

James Mirtle said...

Manitoba's been hammered far and wide on this issue; I was glad I could at least put Dobie's side out there a bit better. There are some amazing success stories on that team, and so what if some of those kids couldn't get into school until they were mature students?

I did my undergrad at a university that had low entry requirements, but I don't think that sullies the work I did there or the degree I ended up with. The new regulations will limit the amount of time kids spent in junior football in the future, so I don't see what the issue is.