Volume 94, Issue 62

Friday, January 12, 2000


Lady Mustangs steal another victory

Mustangs thump Warriors

Spikers stay home

Spikers stay home

By Jessica Leeder
Gazette Staff

It is no secret the brain drain is not the only vacuum the United States is using to suck Canadian talent – and Canadians – out of the country.

Thousands of schools across the United States have been luring Canadian athletes over the border for decades with bountiful athletic scholarships. This year, the Team Canada Volleyball Centre has decided to do something about it.

"I think athletes forget how much it costs to live in the States when they can be doing the same thing for half the cost here in Canada," said national women's team head coach Lorne Sawula.

"If you're not going to a top 10 school, it may not be worth leaving the country. There are a few benefits to going to the States, but sometimes the wool is really being pulled over the eyes of the athletes, and they don't know what they're getting into," Sawula said. They're not given the opportunity to decide if it's the best think for them as an athlete long-term, and this is the problem."

Greg Paseshnik, the national volleyball team co-ordinator, confirmed Stephanie Wheler of Saskatoon will be the first recipient of the TCVC's annual scholarship, which they are hoping will help stop up the southern flow of athletes.

Paseshnik confirmed the scholarship will last for two full years and can potentially be awarded to two athletes per year. Recipients of the scholarship will have their full tuition paid, along with guaranteed monthly financial support to assist them with their volleyball and general living expenses.

Sawula said there are over a thousand US schools that actively recruit in Canada, but said he felt that only the top schools would give an experience that cannot be gained inside Canadian borders.

"The perception in high school is that it is better all the way around to go to the States," said Western women's volleyball team head coach Dean Lowrie. "But that doesn't mean the opportunities are of great value."

Sawula noted that Team Canada scholarships do not negate the eligibility of a recipient to an additional entry-level or separate scholarship a given university chooses to offer.

"There is more to staying in Canada than just the scholarship," Sawula said.

"By staying in Canada, we think an athlete can get more experience training for international competition than in the States. The typical training and competition schedules in the States are not conducive to working in favour of the international competition schedule, whereas the Canadian schedule supports both international competition and going to school.

"The result of going against the grain of international competition is that lots of players who wish to compete internationally cannot get into the system due to lack of exposure."

Lowrie added the Canadian volleyball system offers reasonable benefits to athletes. "I think through the ranks we have better coaching and development programs, but a lack of commitment to the athlete is what has cost us historically. I would say that in Canada, we have a fair system, just not as lucrative a system."

To Contact The Sports Department:

Copyright The Gazette 2000