"Obviously I'm very disappointed. We try very hard. It's a constant effort on our part to educate our kids about PEDs [performance-enhancing drugs] and the fair-play aspect, and also the health aspect," said Rouge et Or coach Glen Constantin, who was in Montreal on Friday for the CIS East-West Bowl.
Rouge et Or receiver Matthew Norzil, 25, testing positive for SARM-22, an anabolic agent with effects similar to steroids.
The four other players attend St. Mary's University in Halifax.
Kevin Marchand-Wright, Melvin Abankwah, Jonathan Langa and Matthew Norzil all agreed to four-year bans from CIS competition after testing positive for PEDs.
A fifth football player, Marvin-James Golding, tested positive for anabolic agent SARM-22, but his case remains open and he has not yet been sanctioned.
Marchand-Wright, Norzil and Golding are from Montreal.
CIS-CFL relationship needs to be revised
The Canadian Football League often plucks prospective players from Canadian Interuniversity Sport events like the East-West Bowl, held at McGill's Percival Molson Memorial Stadium this weekend.
Last year, Quinn Smith, a lineman for the Concordia Stingers, was caught using steroids. He received a two-year sanction after stanozolol turned up in a urine test collected during out-of-competition doping control.
Shortly after, Smith was drafted as a first-round pick by the CFL and now plays for the Calgary Stampeders.
CBC Sports reporter Douglas Gelevan said part of the problem is that the CFL does not recognize or enforce doping sanctions levelled against players by the CIS. After a university football player who tested positive graduates from school, his record effectively gets wiped clean and he can continue on in the CFL with no consequences.
Constantin said the CIS and CFL need to work more closely together to ensure they take the same stand on performance-enhancing drugs.
"I think it needs to be revisited. We had, I think, one case last year, and the person was drafted in the first round, so what message does it send to the next crop of athletes?" Constantin said.
"We need to work together. We can't throw the blame on the CFL, but we need to work together, The CIS, the CFL and obviously the CFL [players' association]. If we go from one to five, to what, 10? It could become a problem."