Trinity Western University Director of Athletics Murray Hall recently announced that after discovering an inadvertent administrative error and having their compassionate appeal denied by the CIS, the Spartans Men's Basketball team will be giving back three wins earned this past fall while competing in Canada West Conference play.
After a comprehensive internal review it was determined by TWU Athletics that the Spartans' Men's Basketball team used an ineligible student-athlete in three of their four wins last fall. The wins came over the University of Lethbridge (103-88), Thompson Rivers University (88-84), and University College of the Fraser Valley (81-76). Late last week, after having applied to the CIS for a compassionate appeal that would allow the player to play out the season, Hall was notified that the appeal had been denied.
"Once it was determined we felt it was important that we act quickly in the best interest of everyone involved, including the schools we defeated while using an ineligible player. It was the only thing we could do - to admit we had made an error and apologize. We played an ineligible student-athlete and we do not deserve those wins," cited Hall.
Trinity Western University apologized for this error and voluntarily asked Canada West to have three of their wins reversed to losses and the wins be adjusted to give the University of Lethbridge, Thompson Rivers University and the University College of the Fraser Valley a win instead of their current loss.
Says Marg McGregor Chief Executive Officer of Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS), "The decision by Trinity Western University to voluntarily default the games in advance of the CIS discipline process running its course is much appreciated. By being proactive, TWU has eliminated the confusion and uncertainty that would have developed while a time-consuming discipline process unfolded during the play-off stretch. This is helpful to other universities in the league to know the impact on win-loss standings sooner rather than later as the play-offs approach."
"Trinity Western University has been a solid and respected member of CIS since they began competing in the league in 1999. Their staff have contributed to the leadership of CIS by serving on the Board of Directors, as Presidents of Coaches Associations, and by being awarded the hosting rights to three CIS National Championships," continues McGregor.
Fourth year forward Lucas Goltz (Comox, B.C.) used a year of CIS eligibility at Royal Military College of Canada (RMC), with his last game playing for RMC Paladins being October 27, 2006. TWU's men's basketball coaching staff and athletics administrative staff believed that Goltz would be eligible to participate for the Spartans 365 days later according to CIS regulation 18.104.22.168.2 which states: A student-athlete, who transfers from one CIS member institution to another member institution, must not participate for a period of one year in the recognized sport of CIS in which such athlete participated at the previous CIS institution in order to be eligible for CIS participation.
Goltz played his first game for TWU November 2, 2007. He satisfied the "one year sit-out" rule. An inadvertent administrative error was made in Spartan Athletics not recognizing that Goltz did not complete enough semester hours to be eligible. He met part of the criteria but not the full criteria and in the absence of some documents and an oversight by the Department he was played ineligibly. Goltz will be eligible to participate next year for the Spartans after he successfully completes two semesters of courses at Trinity Western.
Once Spartan Athletics found out that there were questions surrounding Goltz's eligibility, Hall initiated a review and concurrently notified both Canadian Interuniversity Sport and Canada West that TWU had perhaps used an ineligible transfer student-athlete. "As soon as we discovered there might be an issue we stopped Lucas from participating in any further games and later determined that he was indeed an ineligible player," stated Hall.
"We have not yet heard from the Canada West Conference, but we are assuming that the reversal of three wins will knock us out of any playoff berth the men's basketball team has been contesting for," said Hall.
In addition to voluntarily conceding the games TWU will be making a full self-disclosure report to both the CIS and Canada West, after which TWU Athletics may face further sanctions.
"It has been a tough go on the men's basketball team this year. I have been deeply impressed with the stability and maturity these young student-athletes have shown in pulling together, remaining focused on their academics and basketball. The men's basketball program will prevail in the end - for many this has been a character-developing year," commented Hall.
As official members of Canadian Interuniversity Sport, the Spartans compete in six sports in the Canada West division of the CIS: Men's and Women's Soccer, Basketball and Volleyball. In the 2006-2007 season the Spartans sent four teams to the CIS national championships earning a silver medal in men's soccer and a bronze medal in men's volleyball as well as earning three Canada West championships - men's volleyball and men's and women's soccer. TWU's Josh Howatson also earned the school's first ever BLG award for CIS Male Athlete of the Year. In eight years as members of the CIS the Spartans have won two national titles (women's soccer in 2004 and men's volleyball in 2006), seven CIS championship medals and six Canada West championships. TWU will be hosting the 2008 CIS Women's Soccer Championships, the 2009 CIS Men's Soccer Championships and the 2011 CIS Men's Volleyball Championships.
For more information, visit TWU's Official Athletics site at gospartans.ca.
Trinity Western University, in Langley, B.C. is an independent Christian liberal arts and sciences university enrolling approximately 4000 students. TWU offers undergraduate degrees in 40 major areas of study ranging from biotechnology, education, nursing, theatre and music, to psychology, communications and biblical studies. TWU's 16 graduate degree programs include counseling psychology, business, theology and leadership, and offers interdisciplinary studies in English, philosophy and history. TWU holds Canada Research Chairs in Biblical Studies, Biology and Interpretation, Religion & Culture.
Last Updated: 2009-02-04