The body governing university sports has ruled that University of Ottawa men's hockey players can transfer to other teams, despite the men's varsity hockey program suspension ordered due to an ongoing sexual assault investigation involving some players.
In an email to CBC Thursday morning, a University of Ottawa spokesman said the university was recently informed of the decision by Canadian Interuniversity Sport to waive the transfer rule.
"The University of Ottawa had no involvement whatsoever in this process," the spokesman wrote.
Representatives of CIS were not immediately available to comment.
Incident occurred in Thunder Bay in February
Thunder Bay police launched an investigation after receiving a third-party complaint of a sexual assault on the weekend of Feb. 1, when the University of Ottawa Gee Gees played the Lakehead University Thunderwolves.
Since then, after an internal review, former head coach Réal Paiement was relieved of his duties.
The university said Paiement learned of the allegations hours after they occurred, made decisions himself and did not inform the university. The university added that the allegations included excessive drinking and sexual misconduct.
No charges have been laid in the police investigation, which is ongoing.
The university has acknowledged that not all players on the team were involved in the incident.
Lawrence Greenspon, the lawyer for seven of the players, said they were considering launching a defamation lawsuit, and that the suspension shouldn't apply to players who weren't involved.