Volume 94, Issue 5


Laurentian lowers the axe
Funding insufficient for varsity support

CHRW gets award for sports savvy
CIAU bestows Syambati award to 94.7

What a dome idea

Golden Bear just had the right touch

Laurentian lowers the axe
Funding insufficient for varsity support

Mike Longstaff/Gazette

By Ryan Dixon
Gazette Staff

Four entire athletic teams did not make the cut when Laurentian University recently decided to pick its final list of varsity sports programs.

Due to a lack of funding, the Sudbury school chopped both the men's and women's cross country and track and field programs, as well as, men's volleyball and men's hockey.

Peter Campbell, the 1999-2000 sports co-ordinator for Laurentian, said deleting the programs boiled down to one thing: Money.

"Our budget is dependent upon student fees and as costs continue to go up, it became too difficult," he said.

Despite the bad news, the men's hockey team was not prepared to simply fold their tents; they decided to take matters into their own hands. "The hockey team tried self-funding, but that didn't work out," Campbell said.

Campbell admitted athletics and academics can be a tough balancing act and despite the knowledge the school would be letting down a lot of prospective athletes, he explained where the school's priorities lie.

"Different institutions take different approaches, but my feeling is always that student athletes are students first – athletes second," he said.

That sentiment was also echoed by Western's chair of intercollegiate athletics, Darwin Semotiuk.

Semotiuk said the state of Western's athletic future was much more secure, but he did caution that nothing can ever be ruled out.

"First of all, nobody can predict the future, but at this point our future looks sufficiently healthy, in fact we are looking to upgrade a couple of teams to varsity status," he stated.

The majority of funding for Western athletics comes from student fees, Semotiuk explained. Approximately 64 per cent of funding comes from students' pockets. Semotiuk said the money was well invested.

"I think that the Western community, London and the surrounding are getting a very good return on investment from Western athletics," he said.

Bob Vigars, coach of Western's men's and women's cross country teams for the past 32 years, shares Semotiuk's confidence that such cuts are not on the horizon for Western.

Vigars said he felt secure his sport would not suffer the same fate as Laurentian's cross country team.

"I don't anticipate those kinds of cuts happening here because of our extremely strong record and the fact that we are a relatively cheap sport," he said.

One option for sports teams that do not have varsity status is to become club teams and compete with other university club teams across the province. Unfortunately, Campbell said this was not a realistic option for Laurentian. Aside from the cold winters, Sudbury has other drawbacks that might hinder potential club teams.

"Geographically it would be difficult for our teams to compete as club teams," he said, explaining getting to and from games would require money.

Still, Campbell said all hope is not lost for the axed Laurentian teams. "If a private benefactor were to appear then things could change," Campbell said.

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