In a few short months, the Waterloo doping scandal has gone from an investigation of one player to a team-wide investigation to league-wide concerns over drug testing. Today saw the first tangible impact on a league-wide scale, though; as Sean Fitz-Gerald of The Canadian Press reports, Waterloo has suspended its football program for the coming year. The coaching staff has been placed on paid administrative leave.
I'll get into analysis on this later, and I believe Rob has a post coming as well, but for now, let's focus on the facts. As Mark Masters reports, Canadian Centre for Ethics In Sport (the organization that oversees CIS drug testing) president Paul Melia announced that nine anti-doping violations were found after tests of Waterloo's 62 football players.
As Masters writes, CIS CEO Marg McGregor called it "the biggest doping situation in CIS history. "The results announced today illustrate that the CIS core value of drug-free sport has been compromised and more needs to be done to protect the integrity of university sport and the rights of clean athletes to a level playing field," she said. That would suggest that we're going to see some drug policy changes from a league-wide perspective.
For now, though, the tangible impact comes from the Warriors' disappearance from OUA football for 2010. That's going to alter the schedule, and the OUA football institutions will be holding a conference call today to discuss how that will work. Dropping from a 10-team league to a nine-team league isn't normally easy, but it might not be that difficult in this case. Under the current system, each OUA team plays eight conference games and misses one opponent; with nine teams, each team should be able to play every other team. There are still complications around scheduling (for example, most schools use the same field for football and soccer, so dates have to be carefully planned to avoid conflicts), but they should be able to work it out.
We'll keep you updated as things progress.
[Cross-posted to Sporting Madness]