Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 3/11/2009 (4250 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
The University of Manitoba Bisons football team was eliminated from the playoffs Tuesday, but the blow came at the hands of a league ruling, not a gridiron opponent.
The Canada West University Athletic Association announced that due to an eligibility violation, the results of three regular-season Bison games have been overturned, stripping the club of its playoff berth.
The two games Manitoba won over UBC and Alberta have been changed to losses; wins for the two opponents. The third game, Manitoba at Simon Fraser has been declared a no-contest because both teams used an ineligible player.
Tuesday's ruling dropped the Bisons' record to two wins, five losses and one no-contest, changing the playoff structure, replacing Manitoba with the Regina Rams who will now play the Saskatchewan Huskies in a semifinal at Saskatoon Saturday.
The infraction in question came to light Oct. 16, when Bisons offensive co-ordinator Vaughan Mitchell found an item on a football Internet chat site, which he showed to head coach Brian Dobie, who in turn presented it to athletic director Coleen Dufresne.
"I reviewed the CIS regulations and immediately self-disclosed to the CIS that we had inadvertently played an ineligible player (wide receiver Julian Hardy) and removed him from the active playing roster," Dufresne said from a prepared release.
(CIS, or Canadian Interuniversity Sport, is the governing body for Canada's university-level sports.)
While at the U of Ottawa in 2001, Hardy had participated in a doping-control session conducted by the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (CCES). The CCES advised CIS that his sample was positive for methenolone and metabolites, which constituted a doping infraction in accordance with the International Olympic Committee policy.
Dufresne said Hardy had been using supplements given to him by the football staff at Bowling Green, where he had been the previous year, and was unaware they would present a doping problem. "Within days (after his suspension) he left the Ottawa campus, and had no further discussions with anyone related to the violation. It was his belief that he had to sit out four years, after which he could return to the CIS with four years of eligibility remaining."
However, the Ottawa native could have qualified for a reduction in his suspension had he been informed that in March of 2003, the CCES formally accepted the new World Anti-Doping Code. That necessitated changes to its existing policy, which dictated that the penalty for a first-year infraction was a four-year suspension. Under new regulations, which came into effect on June 1, 2004, the penalty for a first infraction became two years, and in 2004, CIS passed a motion to accept, upon application, a reduction to two years, for the four CIS student athletes currently serving four-year suspensions, including Hardy.
"Unfortunately," said Dufresne, "no one contacted Julian. Had he known, he would have pursued it immediately. As a result, he used up his five years of eligibility."
When Hardy enrolled at the U of M in 2007, Dobie sent him to assistant athletic director Curt Warkentin to have his eligibility checked out. "Warkentin was made aware of his 2001 doping infraction at this time," said Dufresne, "but upon review of his academic and athletic history, and seeing it was almost six years since the infraction, Hardy was ruled as eligible to compete. Curt, Brian and myself should have been aware, and we were not. We let it slip. We knew he had a four-year suspension, and he served his suspension. We weren't looking for anything else."
"The football program never knowingly played an ineligible player. There was no attempt to cheat."
Dobie said he would meet with his players later Tuesday. "Our fifth-year guys are really rocked by this, and we need to deal with that. I want to go through everything with them. I want to make sure I am open to every and all questions."
Hardy was unavailable for comment, but Dobie spoke on his behalf. "His exact words when we called him into Coleen's office, and he sat back, teared up were, 'I feel like I am reliving this all over again.' And that's not fair. He did nothing wrong, and the system let him down."
"The CCES would not consider our request to retroactively apply the reduction of the term," said Dufresne. "On behalf of Julian the university filed a compassionate appeal to regain his two years of eligibility, but the CIS did not support the appeal.
"We are extremely disappointed in the CIS's decision to not support our compassionate appeal. A negative life-changing experience for Julian in 2001 could have become a positive one in 2003 with the CCES adoption of the new anti-doping rules, and then again in 2004 when the CIS voted to reduce the four-year bans."