Other Campuses: Canseco to discuss steroids, baseball at University of Florida

(U-WIRE) GAINESVILLE, Fla. – A whistleblower on baseball’s steroid-abuse investigation and one of the most infamous sports figures in recent history, Jose Canseco, will kick off his college tour Wednesday at the University of Florida.

Canseco, a retired Major League Baseball player, wrote the book Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant ‘Roids, Smash Hits, and How Baseball Got Big, in which he admits to using steroids while playing and names several players who he said used the banned substance to boost their performance.

As a result of the book’s release, Canseco testified before Congress in March and has appeared on several television news programs.

The university’s speaker’s bureau Accent is sponsoring the event at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center at 8 p.m. It is free and open to the public.

“Canseco seemed to be the No. 1 figure in the news and media,” Accent Chairman David Buchalter said.

Buchalter said the moral and ethical issues Canseco will address in the world of sports will open up a “Pandora’s box” for organizations such as the University Athletic Association.

“It’s a prevalent thing,” Buchalter said of steroid use in sports. “It’s not something he’s willing to hide behind.”

The speech will be especially relevant to the university, which is fueled by sports, Buchalter added.

Canseco – who played for seven major league teams – also will address his 16-year journey through the game, ending in 2002.

One day after his announcement, Canseco told ESPN of his plans to write a tell-all book about steroid use in Major League Baseball.

Canseco is the latest in a list of controversial speakers brought to the university by Accent during the 2004-2005 school year, including filmmaker Michael Moore and porn star Ron Jeremy.

Students tend to show up in greater numbers for speakers with opposing viewpoints to their own, Buchalter said, noting that supporters and detractors of Moore came to see him.

“Canseco’s definitely a controversial speaker right now,” he said. “Controversial speakers breed big questions.”

– Stephen Magruder