Track coach Dave Scott-Thomas banned for life by Athletics Canada

Longtime coach Dave Scott-Thomas was given a lifetime ban by Athletics Canada on Wednesday, the culmination of an investigation of allegations that rocked Canada's track and field community.

Scott-Thomas was accused of inappropriate relationships with athletes. And while none of those allegations have been proven in court, former middle-distance runner Megan Brown came forward in a Globe and Mail article last month alleging Scott-Thomas groomed her for a sexual relationship when she was 17.

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"Mr. David Scott-Thomas is subject to a lifetime ban from Athletics Canada during which time he shall not coach or train a member of Athletics Canada or a member of any affiliated club or association. This order takes effect immediately," Athletics Canada said a statement issued Wednesday.

Scott-Thomas was one of the most successful coaches in U Sports history in any sport, leading the Guelph Gryphons to 37 national titles in cross-country and track and field. He also coached on 16 Canadian teams, including the 2016 Rio Olympics and 2015 and '17 world champions, and his group of athletes included several Olympians.

Scott-Thomas is banned from coaching or training any Athletics Canada athlete or member of an affiliated club or association. He's also banned from attending any event such as a track meet as a spectator unless his children are registered to compete, and will have no access to the track, training and warm-up areas.

After five years, Scott-Thomas can attend competitions and other events that are open to the general public, but must not engage in coaching or have access to the track, training or warm-up areas.

Scott-Thomas was fired on Dec. 16 for unprofessional conduct, and then in a Jan. 9 statement, the university said it received a complaint in 2006 from a family member of a student athlete. While an investigation didn't substantiate all of the allegations, it determined some misconduct had occurred and Scott-Thomas had been suspended for four weeks. The university received a complaint from another student athlete about Scott-Thomas this past fall, and again retained an independent external investigator.

During that investigation, the university received new information that "made it clear that Scott-Thomas had lied repeatedly in 2006 about several significant matters." Scott-Thomas was fired as a result of that new information, and the university said that had it been aware of this information in 2006, it "would have terminated its relationship with Scott-Thomas at that time."

He was also suspended by Athletics Canada in January, pending this investigation.

Attempts by The Canadian Press to reach Scott-Thomas have been unsuccessful.

The sport has been shaken by several scandals in the past year. Last May, former Ottawa Lions coach Andy McInnis and board member Ken Porter received lifetime bans from Athletics Canada for allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct. The allegations have not been proven in court.

McInnis, who coached Canada's 4x100-metre relay team to gold at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, won an appeal to the Sport Dispute Resolution Centre of Canada (SDRCC), which ruled some bias among the commissioner's office. McInnis remains provisionally suspended while under investigation from a new commissioner.

Earlier this month, Sudbury, Ont., coach David Case was convicted of one count of sexual assault, one count of assault causing bodily harm, and one count of assault concerning a female athlete in the mid-1980s to early 1990s.

A week earlier, Case and one of his former athletes Celine Loyer were convicted of sexual assault by a different judge following another trial for an incident in 2011.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 25, 2020.

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