Football: Saskatchewan's Towriss on other teams: 'how diligent they are is anybody's guess'

Saskatchewan coach Brian Towriss' comments in the hometown Saskatoon StarPhoenix could be taken as a direct rebuttal to Manitoba coach Brian Dobie implying the system failed Julian Hardy ("He did nothing wrong and the system let him down," Jim Bender, Winnipeg Sun):
Towriss: "This is something that should have been flagged on Aug. 21. (around the time training camps open -- Ed.). Anytime we have a question about whether someone might be eligible or what year they're in if they're a transfer student, we ask for a ruling prior to the season. In Canada, it's up to the schools to do their own tracking and how diligent they are is anybody's guess.

" ... 'If it was here, we would have tried to get a ruling prior to the season before anybody stepped on the field. If there's any doubt, you get a ruling before you play a guy. We don't sign those things until everybody's 100 per cent eligible.' "
Saying clarifying eligibility has to be made easier does not mean let's absolve coaches and schools of responsibility. Leaving coaches and schools to their own devices also doesn't work, as the last few weeks have indicated. It has to be better on both sides. Six of one, half-dozen of the other. And there needs to be trust.

The Winnipeg Free Press explains that after Hardy's doping ban in 2001, the penalty for a first offence was reduced to two years from the four he received. The hole in the story is saying Hardy "could have qualified for a reduction in his suspension had he been informed (of) that," since he could have found the information. The Free Press doesn't mention that a four-year ban also brings a forfeit of eligibility, which is a big piece of understanding.

Yesterday's post noted three teams forfeiting games in one season is not randomness. CIS CEO Marg McGregor, in the same article, begged to differ, or at least said not to be too sure.
"Mistakes do happen and often you'll get clusters and spikes. It's a scientific principle. It doesn't necessarily mean there's chaos; it just means things happened in a particular way this fall."
A lot of people are saying it might not happen in the same particular chaotic way again. Manitoba's not that innocent in this, but everyone's got a role.

Bisons stripped of victories, out of playoff picture (Winnipeg Free Press)
Bisons playoffs punted (Allan Besson, Winnipeg Free Press)
Checking eligibility not difficult: Towriss (Kevin Mitchell, Saskatoon StarPhoenix)
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  1. McGregor is quite right to denounce anyone who's done nothing but apply the journalistic staple of "three is a trend" to this. However, she opens herself up for easy-if-meaningless criticism with that "scientific principle" statement, because while this sequence of events isn't "one in a million" or anything, it's still one in few thousands.

    For this sequence ("three teams have been stripped of wins this year") to happen every five years on average, the odds of any one team in the country forfeiting a game for that reason have to be something absurdly high like 60%. Assume it's 10% and you'd expect to see this every 1000 years; assume it's 5% and you get it every 8000 years. And it has to be closer to 10% than 60%, so I don't know what McGregor is talking about.

  2. There's no crying in football!