Football: Waterloo's decision affects those not involved

A couple news nuggets from the Saturday morning papers show how the University of Waterloo might erred in acting as prosecutor, judge and jury, making decisions that unduly affect uninvolved third parties such as ...:
  • Fans and alumni of other schools: Mary Caton's article in the Windsor Star touches open the fact that, as John Bower was the first to mention, the U of Windsor homecoming weekend will not revolve around the football game. The Windsor Lancers were supposed to play Waterloo.

  • Players and coaches at other schools: From the same article, Lancers coach Mike Morencie says coaches are still leaning toward retaining quarter-finals. With an odd number of teams, how do you have everyone play eight games in eight weeks? It could mean starting early, or everyone having to squeeze three games into two weeks at some point.

    Playing seven games in eight weeks has its perils;; cutting back to seven would make it easier for bottom line-minded athletic directors to justify doing it permanently. In that event, not every team gets an even number of home and away games, and what does that do for competitive integrity?

    It is understandable that they wish to preserve the playoff format, since no one wants to be the fifth- or sixth-place team who watches the playoffs from home. Western won the Yates Cup as a 6 seed in 2007, beating a 5 seed!

    Honestly, dropping the quarter-finals just for this season makes sense.

  • Players not even in school: The Kingston Whig-Standard's Mike Koreen, in a feature on Warriors recruit Alex Cowle, noted the deadlines for the first round of admissions for Ontario universities passed May 28, three weeks ago. It's an inconvenience. It could have minor repercussions for the academic lives of athletes who had yet to attend a single lab or lecture at Waterloo.

    Cowle was pencilled in to be the Warriors kicker this season. Hope he finds a spot; he attended the same high school as Bishop's coach Leroy Blugh, so there is that.
Other points:
  • Mark Sutcliffe of the Ottawa Citizen has a good rebuttal to people who think adopting an even more self-consciously small-potatoes approach to university sports is an answer. A more professional approach would work (hello, creating the office of a national football commissioner).
    "CIS says it doesn’t have enough money to do more testing, but that means it’s failing to do its part in ensuring that players don’t take harmful drugs. That’s a bigger issue than anything that happens in the locker-room.

    "The governing body and the University of Waterloo have failed the honest players not once, but twice: first by not doing enough testing to deter athletes from using drugs, and then by punishing clean players for the transgressions of dirty ones.
    As a sidebar, it's probably time to drop cut-and-dried terms such as innocent and clean (as opposed to dirty). It's too much of that beacon-on-the-hill. In practical reality, there is also a lot of grey area between a steroid and an over-the-counter supplement.

    There is also a major presumption that it is up to a sports league to "ensure that players don't take harmful drugs." Some would say your parents should look after that during the first 18 years of someone's life.

    Far be it to accuse a certain older generation of taking a "Can't Someone Else Do It?" attitude to fixing a problem. I had to laugh like hell at a comment on David Grossman's "Why Not Randomly Drug Test High School Athletes" post: "As a parent, I think it is time for the schools to get serious about this problem before a kid dies."

  • The Guelph Mercury also gets a tip of the cap for running an op-ed by Thompson Rivers assistant professor Jon Heshka:
  • "Bob Copeland, UW athletic director, says that the testing and subsequent cancellation of the season sends a message to the country and football programs everywhere.

    "It's sending a message all right. Students are being told they will be punished for the crimes of others.

    " ... The decision by Waterloo to cancel the season is capricious and was made not just to right a wrong but to save face. It might even be cynically suggested that the cancellation is nothing more than a public relations stunt to bury the story and avoid the uncomfortable questions that would have come up at every news conference in the fall.

    "What is the legal and moral basis for cancelling the season and in effect suspending the 53 student-athletes whose only crime is playing on a team that had nine athletes who doped?"
    He maybe goes a little too far. The NCAA does have a phrase called "lack of institutional control" and sports are an ancillary benefit.

    What happened at Waterloo might fall in those ranges. The bottom line with lack of institutional control is the program is punished collectively.

    Administrators and coaches are terminated, steps are taken to put a team at a competitive disadvantage (Ottawa was banned from hosting a post-season game in 1998 and '99, for instance). Players and incoming recruits bear the brunt of it, but at least they have a choice whether to accept it or change their plans. The rest of the league doesn't suffer and its image doesn't take such a beating.

    Instead, everyone loses.

    Heshka gets off-point by saying the players "will suffer due to the ignorance or indifference of a sporting administration who was too preoccupied with building championship teams or perhaps blinded by the glint off of their two Yates Cup Ontario national championship trophies."

    Oy vey. Waterloo was preoccupied with building championship teams? It has not had a winning season during the 10-team OUA era. That comment reflects media types on hyper-alert for any case of creeping Americanization, imagining something to fit their own prejudices, including those about what CIS competition should be.

    It's been running through a lot of the coverage, this fear CIS is turning into the NCAA, like that would be such a bad thing to raise the following and profile of team sports. It also reflects Canadians who settle for self-defining themselves as "not like the States."

    Oh, and blinded by the glint off of their two Yates Cup Ontario national championship trophies that came when the present Waterloo team was in elementary school? Far be it to point out that also came in a period in which the OUA was not a serious contender for the actual "national championship trophies."

    We'll address the assumption that this happened due to win-at-all-costs mentality later. From here it looks like it was the opposite.
More on this over the weekend. Have a pretty nice little Saturday.
Next PostNewer Post Previous PostOlder Post Home


Post a Comment