U of S Huskies await results of whole-team drug testing

The University of Saskatchewan's football team, the Huskies, have undergone drug testing and officials are awaiting the results.

Team tested in the spring

Brian Towriss is head coach of the University of Saskatchewan Huskies football team. (Peter Mills/CBC)

Members of the University of Saskatchewan's football team the Huskies have undergone drug testing and officials are awaiting the results.

Head coach Brian Towriss told CBC News that the tests took place in the spring of this year.

If we want clean sport we have to test and we have to stay on top of it.- U of S Huskies football coach Brian Towriss

News about tests broke on Friday but Towriss has not provided many details about the testing beyond noting that university officials were curious.

"We really wanted to find out, it was a collective decision between our administration and our staff, just to see if there was a problem," Towriss told CBC News Tuesday. "Although we haven’t got all the results, we felt that it was the right thing to do. We wanted to stay in front of it."

Towriss said he does not believe that the use of drugs is a major issue for university-level sports.

"It's not a wide-spread problem, but it — obviously — it's there," he said. "I don't think it's more prevalent in CIS sport than it is in a gym for weightlifting. I'm not sure it's any more prevalent in the CIS [Canadian Interuniversity Sport] than it is with the Olympic athletes. Who knows?"

Towriss suggested the spring tests were an effort to remind players that enforcing rules on banned substances was a reality.

"The bottom line is if we want clean sport we have to test and we have to stay on top of it," he said.

Towriss is proud of athletics program

Towriss noted the U of S has had a drug awareness program for its athletes for several years.

"We pride ourselves on the way we operate our program," he said. "We’re upfront. We want to be a clean program for sure and these kids are educated in all cases about this."

Towriss added how each player behaves, is up to them.

"They get all the information, but they all make choices of their own too," he said. "Some want to make shortcuts."

When the subject of marijuana arose, Towriss said he was more concerned about performance enhancing substances and student athletes.

"You know, marijuana is mainstream right now and it's in no way performance enhancing, but that wasn't a big concern," he said. "The big concern was, is there any kind of performance enhancing things?"

With files from CBC's Peter Mills

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