By Jennifer Kwan
Men’s basketball star Bill Crowdis fear his professional career may be in jeopardy as administration continues to discuss whether he’s eligible to play.
In September, Crowdis, a six-foot-seven forward, turned down a contract worth about $40,000 U.S. with the Pertemps Birmingham Bullets of the British Basketball League so he could come back to Ryerson to finish his public administration degree and try to take the Rams to the national championship tournament. Now he says he’s not playing because administrators believe an essay he handed in was written by someone else.
“I came back to do something better,” Crowdis said. “But all I’m doing is sitting on the bench. That kind of contract would hopefully always be there for me. That’s if you’re playing, and I’m not playing.”
Even if he wants to renegotiate the contract, Bullets coach Lance Randall says Crowdis has lost his chance because the BBL’s season has already started.
“Bill is a very good player and will be very good in the future,” Randall said from his office in Birmingham, England. “But I wouldn’t hire him at this stage. It’s nothing personal.”
Rams head coach Terry Haggerty said if Crowdis continues to sit the season out, his chances of turning pro in the future will be hurt.
“If you’re not playing, it’s hard to get the exposure you need,” Haggerty said. “People are looking for that stuff that will obviously add value to a contract.”
Last season Crowdis helped Ryerson fo 17-3 in the regular season, before being upset in the OUA East Division semifinal game. He was the only Ram chosen for the OUA East Division’s first all-star team and was named Ryerson’s male athlete of the year.
The school’s registrar put Crowdis on the sidelines at the start of this season because he failed two classes last year. The school wants to make sure he has a C average before playing varsity sports.
The mark from the contested essay would have boosted Crowdis’ average above C and made him available to play in the Rams regular-season opener on Nov. 10.
But Crowdis says his essay is still being questioned. Two weeks ago he met with his professor to display reference materials, notes and books to prove he didn’t cheat. He still doesn’t know if he’ll be allowed to play in the Rams’ next game Saturday night at Queen’s.
“I’ve done everything that I can to prove it and now it’s out of my hands,” he said. “It just has to go through the process and there’s no guarantee.”
Carla Cassidy, chair of public administration, refused to comment on Crowdis’ situation.
Keith Alnwick, Ryerson’s registrar, wouldn’t comment on the case either. “There are issues under debate,” he said. “I’m looking forward to when these issues are over,” Alnwick said.
Crowdis doesn’t know why the process is taking so long and says he should be allowed to play since nothing has been proven yet.
“People just stereotype that I don’t have to work for my grades of they think I get marks for free, as a varsity athlete.”
Haggerty, however, said this isn’t the case. He understands that his star player has to do well in school, but hopes he’ll be able to return soon.
“We want to see Bill do well on the court and off,” Haggerty said. “This has been dragged out for some time.”