Steve Boyd is seen at Queen’s University in Kingston on Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2020.
Lars Hagberg/The Globe and Mail
Queens University has dismissed Steve Boyd, its long-time track and field and cross-country head coach, who said he was terminated Wednesday because he was outspoken about how the University of Guelph handled the scandal surrounding its coach, Dave Scott-Thomas.
Mr. Boyd is the reigning cross-country coach of the year and led the womens cross-country team to a national title last November.
Earlier this month, The Globe and Mail reported that Mr. Scott-Thomas allegedly had a sexual relationship with a young athlete, Megan Brown. The investigative report also revealed that the University of Guelph was made aware of the relationship in 2006, and did little to punish its star coach. Ms. Brown was subsequently ostracized from the university and community.
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In addition, the story also detailed Mr. Scott-Thomass alleged win-at-all-costs attitude in subsequent years, which caused hardship for many athletes.
Mr. Scott-Thomass lawyer has said that the allegations were unsubstantiated and inaccurate.
Mr. Boyd, who has coached at Queens since 2010, has been a vocal critic of the alleged behaviour of Mr. Scott-Thomas, and how the University of Guelph has handled its knowledge of the coachs actions.
After The Globe investigation was published, Mr. Boyd entered into an exchange with a group of Guelph alumni on Facebook.
In the posts, he suggested that a potential punishment for Mr. Scott-Thomass alleged behaviour and the University of Guelphs lack of action could be to vacate the school of its cross-country and track national titles. A group of athletes allegedly complained to Queens University about Mr. Boyds comments, according to the coach.
Mr. Boyd said his dismissal was effective immediately.
It took 13 years for Guelph to fire their coach for what he did, and it took two months for Queens to get rid of me for having an opinion about it, Mr. Boyd said.
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In response to The Globes request for comment, Queens University released a statement acknowledging Mr. Boyds dismissal.
Mr. Boyd has repeatedly engaged in public commentaries that do not reflect the values expected by representatives of Queens University,” the statement read. “The university is committed to ensuring a safe and respectful environment for its student athletes, and other members of the broader sporting community, of which Queens University is a member. The school said it would not comment further on the matter.
In defence of his criticisms, Mr. Boyd said: This isnt just a university issue [Mr. Scott-Thomas] had the power to make and break peoples careers. Lots of people have made careers behind him. Queens refused to acknowledge that this is the biggest story in our sport, maybe since Ben Johnson. And its silence that kept this story from coming out years ago, so its ironic that Im now being fired for talking about it.
In response to the firing of Mr. Boyd, the University of Guelph told The Globe that it does not comment on human-resource decisions made by other universities.
The current Queens track team is stunned by the news of their coachs dismissal. Marley Beckett, a co-captain of the track and cross-country teams, said she learned of the news when the school called a 12 p.m. meeting with student athletes.
There was no context to the meeting, she said. “They just told us that comments were made by [Mr. Boyd] that didnt reflect the university. She said she even had a followup call with a member of the athletics department, who declined to provide any further detail. “We were told that if we wanted answers, we could go to the dean of students affairs or the provost, she said.
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Ms. Beckett said it seemed as though the decision was rushed, as there is an indoor track meet this weekend that the team is supposed to attend, but no plan in place with the dismissal of their coach.
Ms. Beckett said Mr. Boyd promoted a safe, healthy environment for athletes. I dont think that the university should punish him for advocating for safe sport and womens safety, she said.
Some on the team have said that if he isnt coaching, theyll consider leaving Queens and going elsewhere, she said. Steve is a key to keeping us all honest.