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The Waterloo worriers

Tuesday, June 15, 2010 @ 08:06 AM

I’m not shocked that the University of Waterloo Warrior Football team has caused a yearlong suspension over this recent steroid kerfuffle. Neither should any followers of Canadian University football.

Over the past several years, the increase in the talent and the style of play in CIAU football has increased enormously. Any casual observer of Canadian inter-scholastic football can see powerhouses emerging. Football mad fans in the province of Quebec love their teams in Laval and the Eastern Townships. Once horrible Ontario based teams (unfortunately like my alma mater U of W) are now becoming home to really good football players. New football stadiums are springing up and programs are getting better fan base here. The western teams have always had the support of their universities and fan base and we’ve seen a huge boon in Atlantic Canadian university football programs with those behemoths that play at St. Mary’s for example.

So, it’s little wonder that a scandal would eventually break – the stakes are high. Prospects for CFL drafts notwithstanding, many Canadian football players can see benefit in post graduate opportunities as a consequence of football in universities and potential professional playing opportunities in other leagues in the US and Europe post graduation.
Here’s the rub though, the football program at U of W, for example, is a costly venture for the university. The university doesn’t have the fan support or donor support that, say, McMaster University or Western or Queens have – so the prospect of the complete loss of the program at Waterloo could be a realization that may occur as a result of some idiotic players who decided on their own that enhancement by nefarious means might have worked. Wrong!

I love my football at Waterloo, I love the program and the coaches are extraordinarily dedicated to the craft. Let’s hope this year on the sidelines gives pause to players to manage their skill through legitimate means and not off the street – or that’s where they’ll stay.

- Marc Kealey
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