The University of Waterloo won't be playing football this season but there will be scrimmages against rival Ontario schools, assuming the Warriors can field a complete team.
Head coach Dennis McPhee and associate provost, student services Bud Walker met Sunday with a majority of Waterloo players to explain how the university was proceeding after suspending its football team for a year due to steroid use and trafficking. The Warriors will be involved in as many as five scrimmages against teams on their bye week and are likely to line up against the opposition's non-starters.
The decision to go with scrimmages is wrought with questions. In their current state, the Warriors don't have an offensive line. Two linemen were deemed academically ineligible before receiver Nathan Zettler was charged with steroid trafficking and several others produced an adverse result for performance-enhancing drugs.
The Warriors are also without Joel Reinders, who is trying out for the NFL's Cleveland Browns, while two others (Michael Warner, Colin Wicks) are transferring to another Canadian university. All totalled, well over a dozen Warriors have committed to playing football elsewhere in 2010 while an equal number of first-year recruits have decided to pass on Waterloo.
Aside from the players, there are questions as to who will be coaching the Waterloo team during its suspension. McPhee and assistant Marshall Bingeman are on a paid leave as the university conducts a review of what happened inside and outside the locker room leading up to the arrests. Can McPhee be working with the players if he's on leave? Does the fact he spoke with the players, with a provost present, indicate he will back in 2010? What about some of his high-profile assistants - former CFL coaches Joe Paopao, Don Sutherin and Kani Kauahi?
McPhee and Bingeman have been unavailable for comment. Calls to Paopao have not been returned. School officials are also unable to comment as the review continues.
Waterloo Regional Police have arrested four former Waterloo football players and issued a variety of charges from break and enter to the possession of anabolic steroids for the purpose of trafficking. The latest to be charged is third-year linebacker Brandon Krukowski. All charges against Mr. Krukowski were withdrawn on June 27, 2011 in Kitchener Provincial Court.
Nine Warriors recorded adverse results when Waterloo opted to test its entire football team in late March. Only two players (linebackers Jordan Meredith and Joe Surgenor) have been publicly identified by the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sports.
Editor's note: This story was updated to reflect that all charges against Brandon Krukowski were withdrawn on June 27, 2011 in Kitchener Provincial Court.