There's probably a good story to be had about the conspicuously high number of fifth-year transfers seem to be popping up on CIS football rosters.
It's not clear what grounds there are to oppose a football player using a fifth year of eligibility after playing four years somewhere else, as long as he is in school for the right reasons. Most of you lot would probably start squawking about, "Where's the loyalty?" and these brave young men putting their bodies on the line once a week for the ol' school colours, but beyond that, what have you got? Schools which don't offer a lot of post-graduate degrees -- Laurier, Guelph -- might have reason to be ticked off.
Cornerback Nial Both, who last played football in 2006 at Saint Mary's (he started out at Laurier), is due to begin practising with the U of O this week. He's the second former Huskie to sign on with the Gee-Gees, along with wideout Ron Kelly, who's in his fourth year of eligibility.
As you probably know, the Gee-Gees have added receiver Ivan Birungi, centre Sean O'Donnell and linebacker-end Ian Hazlett, each of whom made all-Canadian or all-conference during his four seasons at another school. Elsewhere in the OUA, defensive back Jon Hood and tailback Marvin McCooty, who each played at St. FX, are now with Western and Waterloo, respectively. Ottawa native Joseph Mroue is also at Sherbrooke after four seasons at Montreal.
The feeling here is that to some extent, one should squash any feeling that this has the sickly scent of opportunism -- guys going to a school that offers them the chance to be on a winner. (McCooty, by going to Waterloo, is obviously an exception.)
Life is not that cut-and-dried. There's also no knowing what factored into each individual's decision (this in keeping with Barney Panofsky's belief that life is absurd and no one truly understands anyone else). People in general have become more transient in their working and personal lives. It's considered a milestone when you stay in the same job in the same city for two years. Sports is no different, even in a last bastion of amateur sport such as the CIS.
That being said, the glut of transfers is definitely newsworthy. Also, no one is expecting to see Hazlett and O'Donnell stand with their former Queen's teammates and sing an a capella version of Imagine instead of the national anthem before the Ottawa-Queen's game in Kingston on Oct. 11.
The point is, it's nothing to get riled over. It's just the times we live in.