WATERLOO, Ontario — The University of Waterloo suspended its football team for a year Monday because of a steroids scandal called the "most significant doping issue" in the history of Canadian university sports.
The school tested the entire team after receiver Nathan Zettler was arrested in the spring and charged with possession and trafficking of anabolic steroids.
Coach Dennis McPhee and assistant Marshall Bingeman were placed on paid leave from football duties while the university conducts a full review.
"There's a larger message we need to send with this action," athletic director Bob Copeland said.
Nine potential doping infractions were found among the 62 urine samples collected, the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport said – four admissions of use, three positive tests, one refused test. A ninth case is pending additional police investigation. The CCES did not identify all the players in its release and says it is continuing to monitor the investigation.
"This is the most significant doping issue in CIS history, and we're taking it very seriously," Marg McGregor, chief executive of Canadian Interuniversity Sport, said in a statement.
"This situation illustrates that the CIS doping control program needs to be strengthened to ensure a level playing field and protect the rights of the vast majority of student-athletes who respect the rules and complete clean."
Waterloo finished with a 3-5 record last year, tied for sixth in the 10-team the Ontario University Athletics standings.
"There's been a lot of tears over the last several days," Copeland said. "This has been a very measured decision by the university. We've discussed all of the pros and cons of doing this, and we felt, given the gravity of this issue, that this was just too important not to take this particular action."
Paul Melia, president of the CCES, said testing the entire team was "bold and decisive action."
The CCES also did blood tests, but the results are not yet available. Blood tests can detect the presence of substances such as human growth hormone.
"The university said they dealt with it in a way that will set an example," wide receiver Dustin Zender said. "Unfortunately, that example ruins some of the lives of our players here. And because of the actions made by some – who weren't smart – it now affects players who did the right thing."