Tuesday, June 15, 2010

  • No football this year; review announced
  • Nine 'potential' doping cases uncovered
  • A garden, and other Tuesday news
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs
  • bulletin@uwaterloo.ca

[Action vs. Windsor Lancers, 2009]
No football this year; review announced

The Warrior football program will be “suspended” for the 2010 season while “an internal review” is carried out, focused on the issue of steroid use by players, a crowded news conference was told yesterday.

Director of athletics Bob Copeland told a roomful of reporters, and eight television cameras, that the “very difficult and measured decision” to shut down football for a year was made by provost Feridun Hamdullahpur. “We need to take a step back before we can step forward with our football program, as well as consider many broader issues,” Copeland said.

The events of the last few weeks, which revealed that a number of Warrior team members have been using banned substances to enhance strength and bulk, add up to “the biggest doping situation in CIS history”, said Marg McGregor, president of Canadian Interuniversity Sport, who sat beside Copeland for the news conference.

One reporter asked the athletics director why the university hadn’t taken action sooner about drug use by football players. “We didn’t know we had a problem,” he responded bleakly.

While the review is carried out, Copeland said, head coach Dennis McPhee and assistant coach Marshall Bingeman will be put on paid leave: “It is important that they are not active in the program while the review is being conducted.”

The review will be headed by Larry Gravill, retired as police chief of Waterloo Region, and Mary Thompson, professor emerita of statistics and a former dean of the math faculty.

Copeland said he had heard “a lot of anger” and seen “tears” from football players who had been told about the suspension in a meeting just before yesterday’s news conference. A number of the players stood in a hallway of the Physical Activities Complex as reporters from local and national media arrived for the 11 a.m. briefing, and waited to talk to them afterwards.

“I certainly empathize” with the players who did nothing wrong, but are now seeing their opportunity to compete as Warriors taken away, Copeland said. “Sometimes the actions of one player affect the entire team,” he pointed out.

Ontario University Athletics said an emergency meeting yesterday would figure out how Waterloo’s suspension will affect the schedule for the fall season, which was to begin with a game against the McMaster Marauders in Hamilton on Labour Day.

McGregor told the news conference that CIS has a provision that would allow athletes from a university that terminates a sports program to transfer to another campus without losing any eligibility. The Waterloo situation doesn’t quite qualify for that provision, she added, but athletes could apply for a waiver, with the support of the university they’re leaving. Copeland was asked whether Waterloo would support such a request from football players who want to go elsewhere, and immediately said yes.

More about football

Official news release
CCES test results
Imprint online (news conference photo)Video
Waterloo Region Record front page
New York Times
Star columnist: 'Bold decision'Players react
‘The game does it to you’

“I am most disappointed,” he said, “for the vast majority of players on the football team and varsity athletes who compete with distinction and who add tremendous value to our campus community and beyond.”

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Nine 'potential' doping cases uncovered

The steroids issue surfaced as the result of a Waterloo Regional Police investigation of break-and-enter incidents this winter. Substances were found in the course of a search, and one Warrior player — defensive back Nathan Zettler — was charged with possession of steroids for the purpose of trafficking.

When that happened, Waterloo officials immediately turned to the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport, which handles drug testing for athletes at various levels of play across Canada. Copeland requested that CCES test all the members of the team to see if others were involved, said Paul Melia, president of the agency. At yesterday’s news conference he praised Copeland for his “immediate and unprecedented action” in making that request, which resulted in a testing blitz on March 31.

It was a huge undertaking, Melia went on: “one university, 65 players, urine and blood — we’ve never done that before!”

“The CCES is still awaiting all of the final results,” Melia said. But he reported “a total of nine potential anti-doping rule violation cases, which include one asserted refusal; a total of four admissions of use (two admissions occurred prior to the testing procedures and two admissions occurred at the time of sample collection); three adverse analytical findings; and one case is pending additional police investigation.”

Only two players’ names can be made public so far, the CCES said, since a number of players still have the right to file appeals or ask for a second test.

The news conference was told that across Canada a total of 202 players, including 89 from football, were given drug tests in all of 2009. Reporters grilled McGregor and Melia about why much more testing isn’t being done, and were told that the issue is the cost. CCES tends to give priority to making sure that Canada’s Olympic and Paralympic athletes are clean, Melia said, and expanding university testing would cost at least an extra $1 million a year in federal government funding, which isn’t likely to be available.

The University of Waterloo paid half the cost of having the football Warriors tested in March, because of the special circumstances, Copeland said.

He told reporters that some of the players’ anger at the program shutdown comes from the belief that “this is happening on other teams,” but isn’t being detected for lack of tests. “We have absolutely no benchmarks in CIS football” for comparing the Waterloo experience with what might be happening elsewhere, he said. “We need to better understand the extent of the issue.

“Deterrence needs to be coupled with education, and perhaps most importantly, we need to better understand the psychology of why our students feel compelled to make such poor decisions.” He introduced Don Hooton, president of the Texas-based Taylor Hooton Foundation, which exists to educate athletes about “appearance and performance-enhancing drugs”. Taylor Hooton was a 16-year-old athlete who killed himself in 2003 as the result of depression brought on by steroid use.

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A garden, and other Tuesday news

A newly designed “East Meets West Garden” at Renison University College will officially be opened at the Principal’s Garden Party today at 7:00 p.m. The garden was designed by Larry Lamb, formerly of the UW faculty of environment, and combines native North American species with their East Asian counterpart species. “This combination is a representation of Renison’s cultural identity, with its East Asian Studies programs, a living expression of harmony in diversity,” says a release from the UW-affiliated college. It adds: “Several of the architectural features of the garden stand in memory of people who have played key roles in the life of Renison. The granite rock in the centre is the gift of Doris and the M’Timkulu family in memory of teacher and principal Donald M’Timkulu. The family of William Townshend, a longtime chairman of the board, donated the cedar garden gate in his memory. The two cedar benches are in memory of Michael Bird and his wife Susan Hyde, given by Michael’s students and by Susan’s mother Mauri Hyde. Also of note are the wooden footbridge, designed, built and donated by Paul and Lynn Schumacher. Lynn is presently the chairperson of Renison’s board of governors. The sculpture was created by Nicholas Rees, son of Renison’s first principal, Wyn Rees.” Tonight’s official opening is by invitation only, but people are “encouraged to visit Renison University College at any time and enjoy the East Meets West Garden.”

[Colourful banners]Check out the new decor at 335 Gage Avenue (left), home of the Centre for Extended Learning. CEL, formerly the office of distance and continuing education, is holding an open house today, and director Cathy Newell Kelly and her colleagues are particularly eager to see faculty members who are, or might be, involved in online teaching. The event runs from 3:30 to 5:30. CEL's headquarters becomes the first building to have its signs in the university's new graphic style, and the colourful "attribute" banners were provided through the Special Initiatives Fund for staff-related improvements and activities.

Waterloo will have a presence today and tomorrow as the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts hosts this year’s Game Education Summit. "For the first time ever, Canadian panelists will present at the Summit," says Jodi Szimanski of the Stratford campus, which has organized a panel called "Northern Vision: Digital Innovations Canada". Participants in the fields of digital learning and digital gaming will present a range of leading-edge research, commercialization, innovation and creativity across Canada, says Szimanski; among them is Karen Collins of the UW department of drama and speech communication, who is Canada Research Chair in Interactive Audio. Diane Williamson, research project manager for the Stratford Campus, will travel with the panelists, and the Consul General of Canada, David Fransen, a former UW executive, is hosting a reception for them tomorrow.

And . . . the other day I said a few words about links between the university and the nearby Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics. "The connections between PI and UW go further than the Department of Physics and Astronomy," says a note from W. Jim Jordan, a graduate student in philosophy. "Doreen Fraser and Steve Weinstein, faculty members in the Department of Philosophy, are also affiliate members of the Perimeter Institute, and many philosophy graduate students have attended seminars run by PI."


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Link of the day

Magna Carta

When and where

Ring road closed between PAS building and Needles Hall, because of Environment 3 construction work, through July 12.

Chilled water and air conditioning out of service 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Environment I and II, Modern Languages, Arts Lecture Hall.

Maxwell’s Made-to-Measure Clothing one-day promotion Tuesday at Columbia Lake Health Club, 340 Hagey Boulevard.

Institute for Computer Research presents Sam Lightstone, “Making It Big in Software” 11:30, Math and Computer room 4021.

New faculty workshop: “Kick-Starting Your Grant Application” 11:45, Rod Coutts Hall room 207. Details.

‘Yoga on the Green’ led by Sandra Gibson, health services, sponsored by UW Recreation Committee 12:00, outside Graduate House.

Music book launch: Helen Martens, Conrad Grebel UC, Felix Mendelssohn: Out of the Depths of His Heart launch event 4:30, Toews Atrium at Grebel.

Career workshop: “Thinking About Med School? Perspectives of a Waterloo Grad” 6:00, Tatham Centre room 1208. Details.

Magnetic North theatre festival continues. Events on campus: “Elephant Wake” Tuesday-Friday 7:00, Saturday 2:00; directing class Saturday 2:00. Details.

Open jam night at the Graduate House every Tuesday, through July 27, 7 to 10 p.m. No cover charge, 19-plus.

100th Convocation, Physical Activities Complex: AHS and environment, Wednesday 10 a.m.; science Wednesday 2:30 p.m.; arts Thursday 10:00 and 2:30; mathematics Friday 2:30; engineering Saturday 10:00 and 2:30. Details. Special session Sunday, June 20, 9:45 a.m., Perimeter Institute, for MSc (physics) graduates.

Department of biology awards presentations Wednesday 10 a.m., ESC building room 350.

Renison University College presents Denise Marigold, social development studies, “Challenges in Providing Social Support to Low Self-Esteem Individuals” Wednesday 12:00, Renison chapel lounge.

UWRC Book Club discusses The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery, Wednesday 12:00, Dana Porter Library room 407.

School of Planning graduation reception Wednesday, light lunch 12:30 p.m., program to follow, South Campus Hall, tickets $10, e-mail slknisch@ uwaterloo.ca.

Innovators in Action speaker series sponsored by Social Innovation Generation: Ilse Treurnicht, MaRS Discovery District, Wednesday 7:00, The Museum, 10 King Street West, Kitchener. Details.

Classical Dance Conservatory recital Wednesday 6:30 p.m., Humanities Theatre.

Farm market Thursday 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Student Life Centre lower atrium (also June 24, July 8, 15, 22).

J. W. Graham Medal Seminar: Steven G. Woods, Google Inc., “Reinventing the Way the World Works” Thursday 2:00, Davis Centre room 1302, reception follows.

School of Computer Science Distinguished Lecture: Stuart Feldman, Google Inc., “Computing at the Extremes” Thursday 4:30, Davis Centre room 1302.

Co-op job rankings for “main group” students open Friday 1 p.m., close June 21 at 2 p.m., results 4 p.m.

Waterloo tweets

• "Geese, students running to classes and dressed up ones going to job interviews — good luck!"

• "Check out ISC's trip to Canada Day in Ottawa and The Montreal Jazz Festival! Information in our 'Latest Info' album!"

• "Wondering why #uwaterloo has no presence in iTunesU when so many other cdn schools are there."

• "My UW email receives more spam than all my other emails combined."

• "Midterms + co-op interviews on the same day = intense! Good luck to those in the same boat :)"

• "Would the Porter moat monster appropriately be a bookwyrm?"

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