by Madeline Kotzer
On Saturday March 29, the Lingerie Football League held the first round of tryouts for the Rage Regina team. Due to flight delays, the league officials were unable to attend the tryouts, so University of Regina Rams’ assistant linebacker coach Larry Mueller, and his son Marc Mueller, current quarter back for the Rams, stepped in to help run the tryout.
The involvement of the Rams' members raises questions about a conflict of interest between a university affiliated club and a private business. The LFL has caused controversy in Regina over charges that lingerie football is demeaning to women and women’s sport.
When asked how he would respond to these concerns, Mueller’s response is simple.
“I would ask them [critics of the LFL] if they had ever watched a women’s cougar volleyball game or an Olympic volleyball game? People need to get over the dress, these girls just want to play and we were there to help out,” stated Mueller.
According Mueller the move to step in and run the tryouts was a natural one, as he and his son Marc are very involved in Regina football. Mueller explained that he had been called in to help by league officials, and had already been in contact with the LFL previous to the tryouts.
When asked to respond to rumors circulating in the Regina sports community that he himself was slated as a prospective head coach for the Rage, Larry Mueller wouldn’t say, but did say he was “committed to coaching the Rams”.
While there was a visible connection between the Rams and the LFL in the presence of Rams’ members running the Rage tryouts, officially there is no U of R connection according to Craig Chamberlin, Dean of Kinesiology.
The Rams’ Football Club is a community organization that has a long-standing partnership agreement with the U of R and works closely under the umbrella of the Faculty of Kinesiology. The club operates as a community organization and the U of R provides the opportunity for the club to participate in the Canadian Interuniversity Sport organization. All Rams' players are U of R students.
When asked if he or the university support the LFL, Chamberlin said:
“Absolutely not, I have a very strong personal opinion about this [the LFL]. I have a daughter who is an athlete, she plays Cougar basketball and my preference is that this [the Rage] didn’t happen.
“As a faculty I can’t push out and tell people how to run their businesses… I can’t go to [a private gym] and say ‘you have too many steroid users here and this is bad for our image’ - those are things that happen in the community. We are not engaged in any way. The fact that Larry was identified as a U of R Ram or that one of the LFL girls at the tryout was identified as a U of R Cougar volleyball player, I dislike that.”
According to Chamberlin, the Rams Football Club’s interests in the community reflect that of the university.
“We definitely expect that the operation [of the U of R Rams Football Club] would reflect the values of the university and the faculty. Particularly the values of our athletic sport operations,” explained Chamberlin.
“Does it work perfectly? No. There are always moments where we have to sit down and have discussions. But generally they do a good job of representing the U of R.”