Volume 94, Issue 4

Friday, June 9, 2000


Athelte influx on the way - 2003 will mark a new challenge

Arena plans solidify - Western Fair, City ice deal

Hockey gods must be mad

Rocket Richard remembered

Athelte influx on the way - 2003 will mark a new challenge

Mike Murphy/Gazette
THE SHOT GOES UP – AND SO WILL THE NUMBER OF POTENTIAL ATHELETES IN 2003. Micah Bordeau takes aim at the Canadian Interuniversity Athletics Union mens' basketball finals this past March.

By Jessica Leeder
Gazette Staff

The influx of students predicted to take campuses across Ontario by storm in September of 2003, due to the provincial axing of the Ontario Academic Credit grade system, will undoubtedly leave an impact on one of the most vital parts of university culture at Western – varsity athletics.

With a potential doubling in the amount of first-year students, Western coaches from the field to the hardwood are already anticipating a change in the way their prospective mustang teams will be shaped in the future.

Natascha Wesch, head coach of Western's women's rugby team, made it no secret that her sport is one of the lower profile sports at Western. She noted the low popularity of rugby should be a major factor, aided by the overflow of athletes, when the double cohort hits.

"It's difficult to recruit for the team based on the rugby program. What we can do is hope for a larger training camp based on the players who come to Western for academic reasons," Wesch said. "We'll be able to put younger players into the program in general and they'll spend more time playing quality rugby."

Wesch said because of the rugged nature of the sport, proper coaching, training and development of the athletes is crucial. "If we don't prepare the younger athletes to play and play the sport safely, there will be no one to fill older athletes' shoes."

Craig Boydell, head coach of Western's men's basketball team, insisted the influx of players would not make a difference in the quality of potential players.

"Just because there is a larger number of players to make a selection from, doesn't mean that the players are going to be better quality athletes," he said. "You get some good recruiting years and some bad ones, so it doesn't necessarily mean that the selection of players is going to be better, just because there are more of them."

Boydell said he has done some out-of-province recruiting for his team in the past. He added that the decline in age of eligible high school athletes and the possibility of a younger pool of players trying out would make Ontario prospects more attractive for his team.

He explained a young developing player would be more of an asset to a university team than an older, more experienced player, who might spend less time in the system.

Rock Basacco, Western's men's soccer coach, agreed with Boydell, stating that quality of players might not be the largest concern coaches would face. Teams do not only require quality players to be successful, they need a capable coaching staff. If current coaching staffs are suddenly asked to evaluate a greater number of athletes, problems could ensue, Basacco noted.

"I think we would have to look out for logistical problems," he said. "We would have to take extra care in the coaching staff to be sure that every athlete coming to [training] camp gets a fair chance at making the team."

He said he viewed the double cohort as a larger potential training camp for his team, adding the impact of it will be anything but negative.

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