CIAU International saved from cutbacks
By Ian Ross
Left for dead due to drastic budget cuts by the Canadian Interuniversity Athletic Union's head office, the CIAU International mandate is now being nursed back to health. Taking the role of medics, the University of Alberta is in the process of bringing the program back to life.
Ian Reade, athletic director for the university, said both parties are currently ironing out a two-year co-operative agreement, expected to be signed early next month. In what seems like a premature move, an office and staff has already been established in anticipation that an agreement can be met.
"A contract is not two paragraphs. There are lots of things that need to be bounced around," he said. "We're going on good faith at the moment."
The notion of a merger between the University of Alberta and the CIAU mandate was endorsed by a CIAU committee during the union's annual meeting last June.
"They took it as a fantastic initiative and it was highly received by everyone," CIAU director of operations, Jennifer Brenning, said.
Hired to revive the department, Pierre Baudin was named director of all CIAU International programs and has taken little time to get the operation back on its feet.
Currently the mandate has committed several athletes to Federation Internationale du Sport Universitaire events. Some of these events include sending a windsurfer to Japan, as well as preparing for next year's World University Games.
However Baudin's vision stretches much further than short-term goals.
"The main thing is to make ourselves more visible," he said. "If we can get the media on board, we can make events part of the regular event calendar. Our hopes are that that could bring in corporate sponsorship and help make us self-sufficient."
With offices located on Alberta's campus, the university has taken it upon itself to fund salaries, office equipment and pay for rent, in light of the fact neither the government nor the CIAU have the funding available to adequately run the program.
"My primary reason for involvement was that the mandate was in jeopardy of slipping away. This affects how [the CIAU] was being reviewed by the international athletic community," Reade said. "Our leadership had a lot to do with being the only city in Canada to ever host a University Games [1983 in Edmonton]."
Taking on a futurist perspective, Baudin has developed his department in an effort to be as efficient as possible. Describing his office as a "virtual office," he used email and the Internet for much of his correspondence in replace of telephone and fax making the mandate cost-effective and more prepared for the future than any other department within the CIAU.