Volume 94, Issue 36

Thursday, November 2, 2000


Rowers foot their own bill for nationals in Victoria

Volleyball skill sealed with a Kiss

Rowers foot their own bill for nationals in Victoria

By Jessica Leeder and Joel Brown
Gazette Staff

They may have the skills, but it seems several of Westerns winning teams don't have the cash to foot the bills when it comes to high-profile sporting competitions.

Western men's and women's rowing teams, who turned out stellar performances on both the men's and women's side of the fence at this past weekend's Ontario University Athletics championships, are required to pay for the bulk of their trip to nationals this year out of their own pockets.

The cost amounts to approximately $500 per athlete, which is on top of the initial athletic fees each team member is required to pay to join a team at the start of the season, according to women's head coach, Al Morrow.

Men's team head coach, Volker Nolte, said he was frustrated with the situation. "I am concerned because of the cost to each athlete on top of their athletic fees. The rowing team has to buy their own boats and share equipment. I am disappointed in the way the university handles sports. The rowers represent something the students of Western can be proud of, but it's almost like nobody really cares.

"The university is absolutely in the wrong when they chose not to support a sport. It's a mood in Canada that sports should receive a lot of support, but there isn't anyone putting their money where their mouth is."

Kimberly Moser, sports information and promotions director for Western, confirmed it is the university's policy to support any varsity team going to compete at a national event.

However, it appears the rowing team, which has varsity status at Western, has not been invited aboard the funding train.

Darwin Semotiuk, chair of Athletics at Western, explained there is good reason behind the funding of some teams, but not all. "It is the policy of our program to only support Canadian Interuniversity Athletic Union-sanctioned events – the event, though national, that the rowing teams is going to in Victoria, is not a CIAU event," Semotiuk said.

"There is a lot of discussion taking place right now to make a formal application to the CIAU to get rowing sanctioned," he said, adding until non-CIAU sanctioned teams get their status changed, they cannot receive funding.

The rowing team will be receiving what Semotiuk called "modest" funding for the trip, meaning money that was allocated for the team's budget which has not already been spent, will be available for the trip.

Rowing is not the only varsity sport on campus suffering from lack of funding. Men's soccer coach, Rock Bassacco, said that when his team went to Victoria last year for nationals, although the event was CIAU-sanctioned and partly subsidized by the union, the team did have to do about $7,000 of their own fundraising.

"I don't think any athlete should have to cover their own cost, but I don't make the decisions in terms of what is covered and what can't be. In an ideal world, everybody would be."

Semotiuk explained before the rowing team committed to going to Victoria, they knew of the costs they would incur. He said the need for money, on their part should not be a surprise at this point.

"With respect to rowing it was clear right up front if they wanted to attend they had to go on a self-funded basis. We're really scrambling within our program to fund the entire athletic program right now. The resources required for us to do it are not currently in our budget, as much as we would like them to be. Both the athletics and the coaches would like to see the pot of gold opened up– but if there's no gold what can you do?"

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Copyright The Gazette 2000