Five Canadian university football players tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs during a series of CFL combines in March.
The five players are: linebackers Jonathan Langa and Marvin Golding, defensive back Kayin Marchand-Wright, as well as receivers Melvin Abankwah and Matthew Norzil. Langa, Golding, Marchand-Wright and Abankwah all played at Saint Mary’s University last season while Norzil was a member of the Laval Rouge et Or.
Random testing was conducted at the combines by the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (CCES) on behalf of the CFL. Golding, Marchand-Wright and Norzil attended the Montreal regional combine on March 25 while Langa and Abankwah attended the main combine in Toronto from March 27 to 29.
Langa and Abankwah tested positive for methandienone, with Langa also testing positive for stanozolol. Norzil, Golding and Marchand-Wright tested positive for SARMS S-22.
Stanozolol and methandienone are anabolic steroids while SARMS S-22 is a selective androgen receptor modulator which mimics the effects of steroids. All three are on the CCES’s banned substances list.
The five players were notified by the CCES of a positive test involving their ‘A’ sample and elected to accept the results instead of requesting a ‘B’ sample test or a hearing to explain the test results. With the CFL Draft set for Tuesday, May 12, the players have sent emails to teams across the league expressing regret for the situation.
“I fully accept responsibility of the stanozolol metabolite and methandienone in my test,” Langa wrote in his email to all nine CFL teams. “I am sorry that I was not careful enough to know there were banned ingredients in the supplements I was taking. It was not my intention to use a banned substance.”
The letters were obtained by 3DownNation and confirmed by the players’ agents to be authentic.
Langa was the 2014 President’s Trophy winner, an award given to the most outstanding defensive player in the CIS. He was a first-team All-Canadian in 2014 in his third-year of eligibility and led the country in tackles with 80. He was expected to be a mid-round CFL pick.
“My deepest apologies go out to the CFL,” Langa wrote. “I am absolutely grateful for every opportunity I have been given and deeply regret the negative attention I have brought upon the league and myself.”
Abankwah rushed for 534 yards and two touchdowns last season and turned some heads with an excellent performance in the one-on-one session at the main combine in Toronto. Golding had 25 tackles and three sacks in 2014 while Marchand-Wright had 22 tackles and two interceptions. All three were considered mid-to-late round prospects.
Norzil played in just one game last season for the Rouge et Or after being limited by a knee injury. He was, however, still expected to be selected in the middle rounds based on a strong 2012 campaign – 548 yards and six touchdowns – and his 6-foot-2, 185-pound frame.
All five players have CIS eligibility remaining, but are expected to be banned from competition for four years by the CCES, effectively ending their university careers.
Despite their positive tests, all five players are still eligible to be drafted by a CFL team and could play as soon as this season. Defensive tackle Quinn Smith tested positive for stanozolol during the 2014 CFL Combine but he was nonetheless drafted seventh overall by the Calgary Stampeders and played in 11 games last season.
According the CFL’s drug policy, a CIS player who tests positive for a banned substance enters the league with a first violation, which subjects him to mandatory testing. A second positive test results in a three-game suspension.
“We have been given no confirmation on this matter from the CCES or the CIS,” said Paulo Senra, CFL director of communications. “The league will not be commenting any further out of respect for the process.”
The following are the emails sent by the players who tested positive to the CFL teams: