BY ANTHONY LOPOPOLO
Eight women’s volleyball players were handed a one-week suspension for drinking alcohol in their dressing room at Ryerson, a source told the Eyeopener.
Due to a lack of players, the Rams forfeited their games against Waterloo and Brock on the weekend and won’t resume play until Nov. 5.
The school has sanctioned the team to carry out 12 community service hours and stripped them of their teamroom privileges after violating an athletic code of conduct.
Three members of the men’s basketball team were also complicit in the incident and received equal suspensions.
“I think their actions are disappointing. But again, we all make mistakes. I believe [the athletes] are truly remorseful and once their sanction has been completed, we look to move on,” said athletic director Ivan Joseph.
Joseph believes the penalty levied by Ryerson demonstrates how seriously the school treats misdemeanours by any athlete. “Our job isn’t to punish them so harshly that it’s unfair. Our job is to make sure learning has a curve. Will they do this again? I don’t think so. I think if they did it again, they would have acted wiser.”
Head coach Dustin Reid fully agrees with the suspension, even though he thinks the behaviour of his players is an embarrassment to the program.
“This is an example where student-athletes realize they receive privileges when they play for Ryerson, from the athletic department right down to the coach,” he said. “I don’t see these girls just as volleyball players, but as representatives of the school.
“It’s hard for our team to have to look in the mirror and take responsibility for that. It makes us look like we’re not appreciative of the things we do have.”
The second-year coach said the incident ranges beyond his team’s image off the court and that more questions rest in his team’s ability to commit to the program’s demands. “It’s not so much about people’s behaviour away from the court, it’s about the values of the team and those values which Ryerson stresses in varsity athletics,” Reid said.
“If we’re not able to exist within those confines, then it doesn’t really matter what our game is like in the gym. If we want to be a great team, if we want to be a team that’s respected across Ontario and across Canada, then our values need to be respected, too.”