By Fred Wallace
Hi, this is Fred Wallace with " Off the Wire ".
I seldom, if ever, pay attention to U Sports.
There's no Canadian university within 90 minutes of where I sit, so unless it's a local Owen Sound, Grey or Bruce athlete who's done something truly remarkable, or a relative who's tipped me off to something spectacular, I generally give it a pass on my daily sports agenda.
But this month, it's been impossible to ignore U Sports, specifically cross country and track & field
Sitting in a hotel room in Erie, Pennsylvania on Saturday February 8th, I was startled & shocked as I read a Globe & Mail report that documented the experience of a young runner, Megan Brown, with her former University of Guelph head coach Dave Scott-Thomas.
Scott-Thomas was fired from his position in December of 2019, but that firing came almost a decade and a half after the initial connection and concerns pertaining to his relationship with Megan Brown surfaced.
If you haven't read the account, it's compelling and it's bothersome.
Then last week, Queen's University at Kingston gassed Steve Boyd, the current U Sports women’s cross-country coach of the year, for participating on social media and publicly discussing the incident & issues at the University of Guelph with their cross country and track & field programs.
I'm utterly detached from all of these people, I don't know them, and only know them through what has surfaced in media reports, so I'm highly unqualified to say much more, but the messages here are very clear.
First, this is Canadian University Cross Country Running and Track & Field that we're talking about, but I'm not so naive to think, and nor should you think, that abuse of power and sinister personal intentions are limited to just those activities, or to sports in general.
Sadly, it can begin, cultivate and grow out of control anywhere.
Second, Social Media is a minefield, and the moment your fingers hit the keyboard, you're playing with fire, or in the case of the Queen's coach, Steve Boyd, you're playing with getting fired.
And finally, most importantly, the message to me now is the same one I've heeded for decades, no matter what sport, group, activity or organization we're talking about; parents do your job as parents, no matter how difficult that job can be, be mindful & diligent in the affairs and activities of your children at every turn.
I'm Fred Wallace