Volume 94, Issue 9

Thursday, September 14, 2000


Ruggers gearing up for big season

OUA refuses CIAU scholarship ruling

Olympics, Tiger and Pinball

OUA refuses CIAU scholarship ruling

By Joel Brown

Gazette Staff

Ontario universities may soon start losing some of their best athletes to other provinces due to scholarship changes at the national level.

The Ontario University Athletics association has refused to recognize amendments to University Athletic Award guidelines made by the Canadian Interuniversity Athletic Union, to help student athletes.

This past June, the CIAU voted to allow student athletes easier and more substantial access to scholarship money. Students entering university are now eligible to receive a scholarship for athletic merits valued up to the cost of their school's tuition and compulsory cost.

In the past, an athlete was able to receive only half that amount if they had completed two semesters their institution.

"We believe that an academic award should be given on it's academic merit," said OUA president Therese Quigley. "The difference that we have with the CIAU is that with their ruling, they allow a scholarship to be given right away based on the student's athletic talents while we believe it should be given on their academic merits in their first year."

The OUA's decision has left some Ontario programs handcuffed. Since their programs are the only ones in the country that are not allowed to operate by the changes, schools in other provinces will gain by their loss.

"I've always argued [staying in Ontario] is the best option for athletes and now we'll even have to fight harder to keep it that way," said Larry Haylor, head coach of Western's football team. "We're going to lose a lot of the good Ontario players if other schools across the country are scholarship-ing while we're not allowed to."

Western's women's soccer coach, Mark Eys, hopes the OUA changes its position to allow for the new athletic awards. "I'm sure that if the rule is instituted, it would help the overall quality of our sports teams," he said.

Darwin Semotiuk, Western's chair of athletics, said funding is available for the scholarships. "The scholarships would be paid by approved sources from either the university or private sector," he said. "It's the same thing as financial assistance being available for other talented students."

Along with allowing increased athletic scholarships, the CIAU will institute a five-year equitable allotment plan. The plan would make sure all athletic awards given in Canada are shared evenly between men and women at the end of the term. Also, any financial assistance given to a CIAU student-athlete must be reported at the end of every season.

The CIAU believes its ruling will help to improve the quality of sports across the nation, said CIAU chief executive officer Marg McGregor. "Now we can offer even greater opportunities for athletes in the CIAU," she said. "Without a doubt, the opportunities for student-athletes in Canada have never been greater."

"Our universities can now offer increased financial support to complement top-notch coaching and excellent competitive opportunities," she said. "Expect to see even more CIAU athletes and coaches representing Canada at the Olympics and World Championships."

CIAU President Wendy Bedingfield insists the ruling will greatly help student athletes. "We've taken the best of both worlds, continuing to support the CIAU student-athlete who excels in academics and athletics," she said.

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