Volume 94, Issue 36

Thursday, November 2, 2000


Editorial Board 2000-2001

So many wins, so little funds

Editorial Cartoon

So many wins, so little funds

The panhandling rowers seen recently in the University Community Centre Atrium aren't looking for beer money – they are trying to pay their own way to the National Rowing Championships at the University of Victoria.

The cash concerns they have are symptomatic of a bigger problem surrounding the funding of Western varsity sports – inequitable funding.

In the world of Western varsity athletics, there are big fish as well as small fish. The big fish, like the Mustangs football team, through their high-profile games and storied achievements, have managed to gain sponsorship dollars and priority attention.

But there are many teams who are relegated to obscurity, much like disowned children, all because their events don't attract as much fan support as do football games. Although they have attained their varsity status, teams like rowing, squash and synchronized swimming have all been denied funding because their sports are not sanctioned under Canadian Intercollegiate Athletic Union rules.

Consequently, these teams must turn inward for funding, or host fundraisers to get to their championship venues. And when these second-rate teams eventually win their respective championships, they are welcomed back home as prodigal sons and daughters.

These teams do not rake in the kind of dollars the football team does, but nonetheless return from their sporting events with first-place pride and national prestige. Isn't this worth at least a little funding?

If money is the question, Western's athletics department should be looking at ways to generate funds for these underprivileged teams, such as renting out facilities to local area sports events. Athletics should not allow itself to hold back from funding the smaller teams only because policy says so.

Injecting these teams with some much needed cash will not only allow them to concentrate more on training for their events and less on how they'll get there, it will also act as a startup loan not unlike one a business uses to step up to the next level. Eventually, the sport will gain enough notoriety, people's heads will start to turn and sponsorship dollars might even begin to come their way.

After all, there are many Mustang fans who are looking for an outlet for their school spirit. Taking steps to ensure that these teams not only survive, but thrive, will boost enjoyment on many levels at this university.

Teams that win should simply be rewarded for their success and should only be forced to climb their way to the top competitively, not financially.

With a continued lack of support, Western is moving perilously close to seeing the extinction of those teams who may have lower profiles, but whose victories have added just as much greatness to the annals of Western sport.

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