In a previous edition of By The Book, I mentioned that the McGill hazing incident was blown out of proportion. Now that more information has been released and now that I’ve had time to reconsider, I feel that I was way off. I mentioned that the victim’s credibility issues made the complaint obsolete, but I was wrong. The worst thing about the hazing incident is the punishment, if you could even call it that, handed down by McGill University.
Taken at face value, it seems like a very harsh penalty: McGill cancelled the football team’s entire season, including the rest of their regular-season games. But let me take you through the part of the season McGill hasn’t played and won’t be playing. McGill had been officially eliminated from the playoffs the week before the cancellation, so they don’t lose the chance to play in a playoff game (although one could argue the whole situation distracted the players and therefore hurt their chances to make the playoffs, but I don’t think so.) McGill even played all four of their home games for the season, meaning that the University and their fans don’t miss out on a game at Molson Stadium, and the University doesn’t lose any ticket or concessions revenues. And another reason why this isn’t really a punishment is that the team now doesn’t have to play two games they probably would have lost anyways, including a sure thrashing at the hands of the Laval Rouge et Or that would have been broadcast around Quebec on RDS, and a potentially embarrassing game against their cross-town rivals at Concordia against our Stingers.
Now, it would be unfair for me to say the punishment was weak without mentioning another punishment they could have used instead, so here goes nothing. It has been said that McGill could have just suspended the people who were involved, but the problem is that everyone was involved. From the team captain who actually performed the act, to the other rookies who didn’t come forward and confirm or deny the allegations, to the coach who had to know what was going on, what with it being a “long standing tradition” and everything, but did nothing to stop it in any year, the whole team was to blame.
Suspending the team makes a lot of sense, but I think that in this case, McGill did the wrong thing. They have an obligation to Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) and the Quebec University Football League (QUFL) to play out the remaining games of the 2005 season. If they had started the team suspension at the beginning of next season, I think it would have been a better penalty. But by pulling out of the season early, they severely alter the playoff picture in Quebec.
The University of Montreal Carabins, after their win against Saint Mary’s this weekend, now have to face the Rouge et Or this week, who are coming off a game against McGill that was forfeited. Laval is nice and rested waiting for their game against Montreal. They weren’t bruised and hurt after this week; instead they got a week to rest and heal. With a win, Montreal would take first place in Quebec, but a win just got a lot harder. If Montreal loses to Laval, and I think they will, they will play Concordia in the first round of the playoffs and for the second week in a row, Montreal will face off against a team that rested the week before. Concordia was set to host McGill in the final week of the season but instead they have an extra week to prepare for the Carabins or the Rouge et Or. Concordia and Montreal are very evenly matched teams, as was shown in the Shrine Bowl. A week off can make all the difference in a battle between the two teams, and by cancelling their final two games; McGill has effectively penalized the University of Montreal.
I think that the CIS should come down hard on McGill for ending their season early. There are people who feel that the CIS should not allow any McGill varsity team to play a game until they compensate Laval and Concordia for lost home games and revenue, but I think that is a little harsh. I would like to see the CIS do something, however, other than releasing a statement acknowledging McGill’s cancellation of their season. They are obliged to something now that McGill has pretty much admitted that the incident occurred. The CIS should set the bar for what they’ll do to schools that have issues like what McGill is facing now.
I do feel that the head honchos at the CIS should come down very hard on McGill, and not only on the football team. There should be some repercussions for the school as a whole.
How about them Stingers? Led by backup quarterback Robert Mackay, Concordia walloped Mount Allison 52-0 on Saturday, and the defense played as well as they needed to. Mackay showed in his first CIS start why head coach Gerry McGrath was so optimistic about his future back in training camp.
Was that really the men’s soccer team scoring four goals in a win on Sunday afternoon? Granted the team is almost mathematically eliminated from postseason play following a 6-0 thrashing at the hands of the Carabins, but it was nice to see some goals at Concordia field.
This week at Concordia: The men’s hockey team packs their bags for some exhibition games in the States at Brown and Yale. The women’s basketball team makes their Concordia gym debut for 2005-2006 on Friday, while the final soccer doubleheader takes place at Concordia field on Sunday as the men take on ETS and the women take on Bishop’s. The women’s hockey team faces off against Ottawa in a rematch of last Saturday’s game, but this time in Ottawa. And the men’s rugby team, fresh off of a win against Sherbrooke, head to Bishop’s for their QSSF Semi-final match up.