OTTAWA (CUP) 8212; Canadian university football players will face more stringent anti-doping measures after Canadian Interuniversity Sport announced new steps to combat the “alarming” results of recent steroid testing.
On Aug. 10, the CIS announced a partnership with the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport 8212; Canada’s anti-doping agency 8212; and the Canadian Football League to crack down on the use of performance-enhancing drugs by university football players. The move comes following a wave of tests conducted this summer in the wake of the steroid scandal that rocked the University of Waterloo Warriors football program in March.
“In an effort to get a feel for the scope of the problem and gain insight into whether it was an isolated incident at Waterloo or more prevalent, the CCES conducted 60 tests in May and June,” said CIS chief executive officer Marg McGregor.
The summer tests, which targeted 22 of the country’s 27 university football programs, turned up three positive tests, including two for the presence of steroids and one for cannabis.
“This represents about a six per cent positive test rate, and this is a cause for concern for the CIS,” McGregor continued.
Doug MacQuarrie, chief operating officer for the CCES, echoed McGregor’s concerns.
“The most recent results from CIS football testing program are both significant and alarming,” he said.
For the upcoming year, the CCES is putting greater emphasis on testing CIS football players by reallocating tests previously conducted on athletes in other sports. There will also be a focus placed on testing players during the off-season, when steroid use is generally higher.
The CFL committed to funding extensive testing of the top 80 CIS prospects the league identifies. They are also planning to launch an anti-steroid education program targeting CIS and minor football players.
In the last year, the CCES tested 267 CIS athletes, including 154 football players 8212; approximately five per cent of football players. The beefed-up testing regimen is expected to triple the number of football players subject to testing this season.
“We’re very disappointed in the results . . . as they signal that doping in CIS football is not an isolated occurrence,” said McGregor. “Certainly this situation has illustrated that testing at about a five per cent rate is not significant enough to be a deterrent.”
She added that since 1990, 85 per cent of all positive drug tests in the CIS have come from football players.
However, MacQuarrie emphasized that without additional funding, the measures put in place for the upcoming season can’t be continued throughout future seasons.
“Reallocating tests is not a sustainable course of action, nor preferred over the long term,” he said. “Additional funding and other strategies are required in order to increase testing in football without negatively impacting the level of testing within other Canadian sports.”
Drug testing cost approximately $800 per athlete.
The CCES announced the creation of a task force to investigate the use of performance-enhancing drugs in football and attitudes towards their use. The task force is expected to make recommendations to various levels of government to help combat the use of steroids in football and target resources available to facilitate more comprehensive testing.
The University of Waterloo suspended its football program for the 2010&-11 season after tests revealed nine potential anti-doping violations. The university called for team-wide testing following the arrest of Warriors receiver Nathan Zettler, who was under investigation for a series of break and enters. Zettler was charged with possession for the purposes of trafficking after police discovered thousands of vials of anabolic steroids and human growth hormone in his apartment. Two other former Warriors have since been charged in connection to the break and enters.
The CIS also announced the sanctions handed out for potential violations discovered in June. Third-year Acadia University linebacker Taylor Shadgett tested positive for Stanozolol and second-year University of Windsor linebacker Christopher Deneau’s test came back positive for the steroid Methyl-1-testosterone. Both players received two-year bans from CIS sports.
This story originally appeared on the Canadian University Press Newswire