AUS, Quebec approve scaled-down football interlock deal

Jody Jewers
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SACKVILLE, N.B. - The Mount Allison Mounties football team will see a little less Quebec opposition for the next three years.
Atlantic University Sport and the Quebec University Football League announced a new three-year agreement yesterday to continue regular-season games between the two conferences.
Each AUS school will only play one game against a Quebec opponent, down from two since the advent of interlocking play in 2002. The matchups are once again being determined based on the order of finish in each conference the previous season.
Under the previous agreement, which expired after this season, the AUS clubs played each of the Quebec schools once during a three-year period.
When interlocking play began, Quebec was down to four schools following the loss of the Ottawa Gee Gees and Queen's Gaels to the Ontario conference. Quebec has added teams in Montreal and Sherbrooke in recent years and is developing greater rivalries within its conference, and also has a French-language TV contract with RDS.
"It was the best agreement we could come to to keep it going forward," Mounties head coach Kelly Jeffrey said.
"The AUS was there for Quebec when this first started, and even though Quebec has grown, they're still willing to help us out. We need to be better advocates for growing the game here."
The Universite de Moncton is putting the finishing touches on a new stadium in preparation for the 2010 world junior track and field championships.
That facility will also be home to the first regular-season Canadian Football League game east of Montreal when the Toronto Argonauts face a yet-to-be-determined opponent in September, Moncton's facility is expected to be able to accommodate 25,000 fans for that game.
Two club teams from the University of New Brunswick played in the inaugural season of the Atlantic Football League this year.
"This buys us the time to do what we need to do, and that is look at expansion," AUS executive director Phil Currie said. "It'd be naive to think the interlock will go on forever, and I don't think anyone wants to go back to the way things were before the interlock, so we have to get our ducks in a row in terms of presentation to prospective schools and addressing costs."
Next year's interlocking games will be held Sept. 18. The Mounties are on the road against the Sherbrooke Vert et Or. Mount Allison will host an interlocking game in 2011.
The AUS regular season will remain at eight games in 2010, meaning the Mounties will face one AUS opponent three times. The playoff format remains unchanged.

jjewers@amherstdaily.com

Organizations: University Sport, Quebec University Football League, AUS school Queen's Universite de Moncton Canadian Football League Toronto Argonauts University of New Brunswick Atlantic Football League

Geographic location: Quebec, Montreal, Ontario Moncton

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