Out of Left Field has learned that the 2009 and 2010 Vanier Cup will be held in Ste. Foy, Que. on the campus of Laval University. The CIS will announce the decision later today.
Laval's bid came with several demands. Officials there were unwilling to accept the game for just 2009, would not commit to putting lights in for the '09 event and are requiring the CIS to move the event up one week on the calendar to Nov 21, 2009 and Nov 20, 2010*.
Additionally, the Quebec group insisted that the game be awarded to them prior to this Christmas.
The CIS received several bids following this past year's Vanier Cup. In addition to Laval, bids from Saint Mary's for both '09 and '10, Western for '10, Calgary for '10 and the Hamilton-based sports marketing group MRX with a variety of options, were submitted.
Initially it looked as if Laval would be awarded the game by default, as it was the only bidder until early this month. However, the CIS delayed the decision after the other bids came in.
According to an official close to one of the failed bids, the CIS did not handle the process well.
"They are making up the rules on this bid process as they go along," he said. "They told us all they needed from us was a letter of intent and a basic bid package which talked about plans in broad terms. That would allow them to make their decision and allow us to put together a cost study and proper package for January."
But, that didn't happen, he said. After telling the group that the bid "looked good" and that they expected it to be successful, the CIS changed direction and gave the games to Laval.
"Then the CIS calls yesterday as they're making their decision and they tell us that the bid package was incomplete -- that they didn't have enough information to base a decision on, and they'll be giving it to Laval.
"Our president was fit to be tied last night."
Although the official suggests that Laval will "put on a hell of a party," he said that the demand to push the schedule up a week will cost each program in Canada about $15-20,000 extra.
"It screws every school in Canada," he said.
Laval argued that bumping the game up a week was necessary to keep it away from the Grey Cup. It could be better marketed that way, university officials suggested.
Related: The official press release
EDIT: * Although Laval had demanded that the game be moved back one week -- and my story relected the best information I had at the time -- it appears that the university has backed off that request. According to the CIS the game will be played on Grey Cup weekend once again.