LONDON, Ont. -- Spencer Zimmerman-Cryer's admission to using a banned performance-enhancing substance has hit his former high school football coach hard.
"I'm a Waterloo grad, so it hits home," Laurier Rams' coach John Kublinskas said Wednesday. "It's definitely a shame. I'm shocked by the whole situation and I'm shocked by who is involved. I know the time, work and energy a lot of people put into that program."
Zimmerman-Cryer, a third-year centre with the Waterloo Warriors, admitted March 30 to using Oral-Turinabol, a substance on the World Anti-Doping Adminstration's banned list of performance-enhancing substances. That early admission led the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport to recommend a one-year suspension, but Zimmerman-Cryer requested a hearing to dispute the CCES's right to publicly disclose his involvement
"I can see where the temptation may be for those guys in their fourth or fifth years who think they have a chance at the CFL and see the league doesn't test. But then they get cut, come back (to the university program) and get caught," Kublinskas said.
"But this was all the way through the (Waterloo) program. The numbers were crazy. Some guys were starters, some weren't."
At a hearing Aug. 11, arbitrator Ross C. Dumoulin upheld the suspension and the right of the CCES to publicly name Zimmerman-Cryer, who Kublinskas recalled as a vocal leader on the Rams' offensive line.
"He got the line set up for the protection and that's where his technique came in. He understood the game. But he was going to university undersized. I don't know if that was the temptation for him, but the thing was it was always about technique for him. That was his advantage in high school."
Kublinskas said this situation will have ramifications down the road - and not just for the player.
"This is hiring stuff now," he said. "He'll always be attached to this. We (Waterloo football alumni) will always be attached to this now, too. I'm 10 years removed and I'm still attached to this."
When asked how easy it would be to spot a high school player on steroids, Kublinskas said it wouldn't be difficult.
"A lot of these kids who get involved are workout freaks, but at the high school level, you'd be able to tell pretty quickly because that kid is really going to stand out," he said.
Zimmerman-Cryer also played summer football with the London Falcons and was the club's top junior varsity offensive lineman in 2006. Falcons president and varsity head coach Mike Esposito, a teacher at Mother Teresa secondary school, said Wednesday that while there was no guarantee Zimmerman-Cryer was using steroids in his three seasons with the Falcons, his body type and demeanour gave no indication of it.
"It might have been something he got into after leaving us," he said, adding testing at the high school age is cost-prohibitive. "The best thing you can do is try to educate them that something like this can affect you for life and it's not something you should be doing as a spur-of-the-moment thing."
Esposito said he empathized with those Waterloo players who were clean.
"What aggravates me about all this is it's academia making the decision (to suspend the Waterloo football program for a year). You've got a few players doing a selfish act -- and Spencer is one of them -- but you just punished a bunch of innocent kids. Does everyone go to jail just because we have a few murderers?
"Go and test at every university and you'll find players testing positive at every one of them. But what this does is tell the kids to keep quiet. They could have used this to make a valuable education point by telling those kids who were clean, 'You guys are the ones we want.' To me, it was an absurd decision."
Efforts to reach Zimmerman-Cryer Wednesday were unsuccessful and his Facebook page has been taken down.