Volume 91, Issue 98

Thursday, April 2, 1998

cash grab


Sports scholarships top CIAU agenda

By John Intini
Gazette Staff

The Canadian Interuniversity Athletic Association released a proposal late last week which, if passed in this summer's annual meeting, could make playing Canadian university sports much more profitable starting in the 1999/2000 season.

The CIAU's Awards Review Committee has distributed a proposal regarding the implementation of athletic awards and scholarships for entering and continuing student athletes. The proposal, similar to one in the United States, will provide monetary rewards to students, based on athletic ability.

"We've talked about this seriously for about the last 10 years," said Kerry Moynihan, Chief Executive Officer of the CIAU. "With money as tight as it is, it is very tough to find a balance among all schools. It is definitely a sticky issue but we're hoping this proposal will change all that."

Athletes will be given entrance scholarships, up to a maximum of $3,000 a year as long as they obtain a 65 per cent average in their academic studies. Upper-year students will receive the same money but will be forced to achieve "good standing," as set by each respective school until their fifth year of eligibility.

Some problems with the proposal have been cited as the difficulty of comparing to "full-ride" scholarships from schools in the United States, recruiting violations and the danger of dividing the level of talent between schools based on the size of their sports budgets.

Schools in Western and Atlantic Canada currently provide monetary awards to students for athletics, which Patricia Pickard, director of athletics at Laurentian University, felt makes it difficult for schools in Ontario to compete.

"There are number of schools from out west that come and take away Ontario kids by offering them both athletic and leadership awards," Pickard said. "Over the last year and a half it has been discovered that a number of these leadership awards have been distributed to undeserving first-year students based on athletic prowess.

"It is now up to Ontario to decide if they want to take the next step in equalling up divisions."

Although Pickard admits the proposal appears to have some good qualities, she feels it will have a very small impact overall.

"For years Canadian universities have been afraid of the brain drain to the United States," she said. "By giving scholarships you will be able to change a few kids minds but it won't make that big of a difference in the overall picture."

Darwin Semotiuk, director of athletics at Western feels that since the proposed scholarship has a limit it will be difficult to compare to U.S. schools. "Three thousand dollars will only cover a quarter of the costs, leaving the athlete responsible for making the other three quarters," he said.

Currently the proposal is being circulated for debate on campuses around the country. The final vote will be held at the CIAU Annual General Meeting on June 17 - 20 in Collingwood, Ontario.


– The balance between academic standards and athletic excellence with retroactive payment of the award after successful completion of the student athletes' academic year.

– The reality of students' financial need with an increase in the dollar amount allowed from $1,500 to $3,000

– Equal opportunity to raise and offer athletic awards for both men's and women's programs

– A maximum amount and number of awards permitted with a cap on the total amount per sport based on the CIAU allowable team complement

– Residency and out-of-province recruiting with a restriction of the number of awards to first-year, out-of-province student athletes

– Recruiting enticement with the establishment of institutional Award Review Committees, the establishment of declaration dates for award recipients and the retroactive payment

– The minimum guidelines for administering athletic awards

– Definition of "entering student"

– Dates for declaration of award recipients

– Date of receipt of the award e.g. after the academic year vs. after two semesters in an academic year

To Contact The Sports Department: gazsport@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 1998