Friday, June 18, 2010


This week's perspective from Joe Chidley:

The anabolic steroid scandal now gripping the University of Waterloo and its football team threatened to sack the much-vaunted institution’s reputation. After one of UW’s players was arrested for allegedly dealing anabolic steroids, the administration had the whole team tested – and found that nine players had been using performance-enhancing drugs. In response, the university voluntarily suspended the football program for an entire year. That ticked off many of the players and their families, some of whom threatened legal action and staged a PR counter-offensive to try and get the university to reverse course. But that seems unlikely, as the university’s provost made clear at week’s end in several published interviews. Is it the right decision? Well, think about what distinguishes UW in the public mind? Top-notch research. High academic standards, particularly in computer sciences and engineering. Innovative alliances with corporations and business figures. (It’s where Mike Lazaridis, as a student, started RIM.) Let’s face it: it’s not football. Yes, cancelling the season is a drastic measure, and it will hurt the university’s athletics programs in the short term. But in the long run, it will save UW’s reputation, which could have been severely tarnished if it was seen to be acting in any other way but quickly, responsibly and aggressively. “There’s a larger message we need to send with this action,” said Bob Copeland, the university’s director of athletics.

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