Mount Douglas Secondary hit with sanctions over Rams football recruitment

Fine handed down over recruitment claim will hit school, not the coach or players

Mount Douglas Secondary School has been fined $1,500 and put on probation for five years as the result of a recruiting complaint filed with B.C. School Sports (BCSS) by Belmont Secondary School last year.

This is a different, less harsh sanction than the one originally handed down by the Hearing Panel. Mount Douglas Secondary won an appeal to the President of BCSS earlier this year.

READ ALSO: Mount Douglas Rams charging ahead into 2019

While the document setting out the recruiting complaint and the resolution are available online, it is light on details. BCSS’ Executive Director, Jordan Abney, said this was intentional.

“We’re not trying to make an example out of anyone,” he said, “I think it’s important to recognize all parties involved were very professional, and we don’t anticipate this being a problem in the future.”

Recruiting students from outside their catchment area for the purpose of having them play sports at a particular school goes against policies set out by BCSS, who regulate high school sports. School representatives, including parents, teachers, and administrators are not allowed to engage in recruiting.

“School sport is still one of the great equalizers, it has a level of equity because in theory, you go to your school and you can participate. Being an education-first organization, we don’t want students transferring for sport and not education,” said Abney.

READ MORE: Students lose eligibility over school transfer

Since the complaint was filed, BCSS updated its policy for dealing with recruiting complaints to bring more clarity to the policy. During the 2018-2019 school year, the accepted sanctions for recruitment were a letter of reprimand, a probationary period or the suspension of the accused school’s coaching privileges subject to duration, terms, and conditions chosen by the Hearing Panel.

“The panel had very strict options available for sanctions, and even they weren’t happy with what they chose. The president [of BCSS] has fewer restrictions in decision-making, so he changed the ruling to be more appropriate based on the evidence,” said Abney. The fine will not affect the coach or players, it will be absorbed by the school itself.


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sophie.heizer@saanichnews.com

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