The Atlantic University Sport conference has accepted a joint proposal from Dalhousie University and the University of New Brunswick to allow the two schools to compete in the sport of men’s volleyball for the 2017-18 season.

Last month, Memorial University announced the discontinuation of its men’s volleyball team.

According to current AUS regulations, three or more member institutions must declare participation in a U SPORTS championship sport in order for it to be included as an AUS championship sport for the competitive season.

The proposed two-team league has been accepted for this season only, and was approved based on precedent and timing.

“We’re happy to see the continuation of AUS men’s volleyball for another season,” said AUS executive director Phil Currie. “It’s always difficult for our student-athletes and for our conference to lose a team. We commend Dalhousie and UNB for bringing this proposal forward as a means of moving ahead this season, and for exploring viable ways to continue competing in men’s volleyball at the U SPORTS level beyond the 2017-18 season.”

In 2004-05, a proposal for a similar transition season was approved by AUS and CIS (now U SPORTS) in the sport of women’s field hockey. Following UNB’s discontinuation of their AUS women’s field hockey program, the two remaining field hockey participants—UPEI and Saint Mary’s—played a season schedule and then played each other at championship time for the lone CIS championship berth.

At the 2017 AUS Annual General Meetings, a motion was passed to allow AUS member institutions seeking to participate in sports lacking the three-team minimum to participate in that sport in another U SPORTS conference.

Both the Dalhousie Tigers and the UNB Varsity Reds will seek to participate in the RSEQ conference men’s volleyball league for the 2018-19 season and beyond.

AUS and RSEQ have been competing in interlock competition since the 2003-04 season.

“We are glad to be moving ahead with the 2017-18 AUS men’s volleyball season,” said UNB director of athletics John Richard. “We very much appreciate the willingness of the RSEQ conference to discuss options for the future. We are confident that during this transition season, we will be able to establish a way forward for our men’s volleyball team.”

This season, the Tigers and the Varsity Reds will face one another six times in regular season play. Both teams will participate in interlock action with RSEQ teams Montreal, Laval and Sherbrooke.

The AUS conference will record, publish and track all results, standings and statistics for the 2017-18 season. Conference major award winners and all-stars will be selected and submitted as nominees for U SPORTS men’s volleyball awards.

In the 2018 Subway AUS Men’s Volleyball Championship, Dalhousie and UNB will compete in a best-of-three playoff series for the conference title and the lone berth in the U SPORTS national championship.

The two teams have been neck and neck in competition the last few seasons, with the Varsity Reds claiming the two most recent AUS titles, and the Tigers winning the two prior to that.

“We’re looking forward to another highly competitive season of men’s volleyball at Dalhousie,” said director of varsity athletics Tim Maloney. “We’re happy to have found a solution for the upcoming season and we look forward to a bright future ahead for the Tigers program.”