Rams 1-5 after eligibility issues
author: konstantin kharitonov and john loeppky | sports editor and editor in chief
USports remove wins after violation
The University of Regina Rams have had three wins removed from their record after an athlete was deemed ineligible despite playing the first five of the games.
On Oct. 5, 2018, the Rams were hit with a hefty penalty after it was found that the team was using an ineligible player on their roster. As a result, U SPORTS, the governing body of Canada West and university football in Canada, forced the Rams to forfeit their three victories on the season, falling to a record of 0-5 on the season due to the ineligible player being on the roster for all five of the Rams’ games this season. Those victories came against the University of Alberta on September 7, and the University of British Columbia on Sept. 14 and Sept. 29. Since the player was deemed ineligible due to academic purposes, as stated from the Director of Sport at the University of Regina Lisa Robertson, the name of the player was not released, and no further details will be provided in the future because of privacy concerns.
A Canada West press release noted the procedures followed during the decision.
“As per Canada West regulations, Regina forfeits all results in which the ineligible player participated, with games originally won by Regina now being recorded as 1-0 results for Regina’s opponents. The player’s individual statistics will now be attributed to the team, while all other individual player statistics from the games will remain intact. “
It’s a devastating result for the team, as they were looking on improving their record heading into Edmonton this week to face the University of Alberta Golden Bears. The team is now firmly in the bottom of the standings due to their (previously) winless season, whipping away the momentum that the team had heading into the conclusion of their season.
“First of all, we’re gutted and devastated for our Rams family and our community,” Robertson stated in her press conference regarding the forfeitures.
“I can tell you it was human error. Our athlete selection process happens several months leading up to September and the error occurred during that time.”
In response, the university has launched an internal review of the incident as to why the error occurred in the first place, and it will investigate how players are selected and what the due process is for the university. The review will also lead to recommendations on how to improve the selection process such that errors like this will not occur again. U SPORTS has also stated that it may impose sanctions on the team once the review has been completed.
If there is any good news to come from the situation, it is that U SPORTS will be preserving the individual records of each player on the team, leaving their stats during the games they played intact. As such, the accolades that the players may have achieved this season will remain on record.
The sanctions come as a result of the U of R self reporting, as per the same press release.
“A self-disclosure of the eligibility issue was submitted by U of R Athletics on October 4 to U SPORTS, which sets national eligibility regulations, after Regina discovered the student-athlete did not meet U SPORTS eligibility requirements.”
However, as Robertson put forward in the conference, there is no good news coming from the eligibility issue.
“There are no words, there are no sorries, there are no ways to make it better.”
Coach Stephen Bryce declined to comment on the issue when asked after their game against the Golden Bears this week, which the Rams won handily.
The university has made counselling services available to the Rams players, such that they can receive assistance moving forward. In her conference, Robertson also stated what the program will do to further assist the students.
“Coach Bryce and I will be meeting with any students that need our support and they do have the information available to see a guidance councillor at any time for both emotional and academic support.”
“I was a student athlete. I know how hard they work, and how hard it is to balance student life with athletics. Frankly there is nothing I can say to make it better, but all I can do going forward is to take the steps to support them and take the step to review our processes.”
The Rams will next play in Calgary on Oct. 19 before closing out the season on Oct. 26 against the University of Saskatchewan Huskies.