OUA limits Homecoming football games to two weekends

Change in schedule an attempt to limit number of commuting students to Homecoming parties

Queen’s Homecoming will take place on Oct. 19.

Students looking to travel for Homecoming parties across Ontario will have just two weekends to doso in 2019-20, with the OUA moving to curb Homecoming crowd sizes.

Rather than spreading out Homecoming events over five tosix weeks, Ontario University Athletics (OUA) has scheduled football games over a two-week time period. Universities across the province and the OUA primarily made the decision to limit the number of students travelling from outside schools.

Wilfrid Laurier University and the University of Waterloo have their Homecomings scheduled for Sept. 28 while Queen’s, Western, and McMaster’s respective festivities will take place on Oct. 19.

“It is [universities] hope that this will make an impact on the amount of students that travel to other campuses for their homecomings,” CEO of the OUA Gord Grace told The Journal. “That’s what this is really about.”

Principal Daniel Woolf told Global News he expects the change to help solve the number of issues the Kingston community has faced from homecoming festivities—but doesn’t believe it will be the solution.

“It’s not going to fix the problem ,but I think it’s actually going to minimize the number of occasions on which there can be parties on multiple weekends with a lot of out-of-towners,” he told Global.

Grace said the core difficulties of making the change were maintaining the structure of past Homecoming games. Every year, the OUA’s football schedule is determined by the previous season’s results—the league’s top-six teams are required to play each other, while the bottom five must play one another.

In addition, teams have protected dates, alongside “marquee matchups,” which are games such as Queen’s vs. Western—a rivalry that spans decades. Grace said these parameters made scheduling difficult, however they eventually came to a consensus on suitable schedules for each team.

“We’ve been very cooperative to make this happen so we don’t expect any issues to come back to us on this,” he said. Grace added conversations around making this change began in May of 2018.

In 2018, Kingston Police reported approximately 10,000 students gathered in the University District. This past summer, Queen’s and Kingston introduced the University District Safety Initiative (UDSI), which stipulated that receiving a ticket in the district during Frosh Week, Homecoming, and St. Patrick’s Day comes with a mandatory court date.

While the UDSI aimed to control student behaviour, the OUA’s decision is an attempt to control crowd sizes, which have continued to grow each year. Grace said the decision hasn’t been met with any backlash thus far.

He expressed hopes that the OUA’s decision will assist municipalities in managing Homecoming crowds.

“We hope it’s successful and it makes an impact.”

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