Editorial Board 2000-2001
Maybe so, maybe not
Maybe so, maybe not
Welcome to the world of maybes.
Maybe you've heard that this past weekend was the Canadian Intercollegiate Athletics Union basketball championships, held in Halifax. Maybe you've even heard that the Western men's basketball team was a strong favourite going into the tournament. And maybe, just maybe, you know the Mustangs lost in heartbreaking fashion against Manitoba's Brandon University.
That's a lot of maybes if you're counting, and that's the biggest problem facing intercollegiate athletics. Maybe the average joe student knows what's going on in the Western athletic world. And maybe not.
Western's athletic scene, as well as Canadian university athletics in general, is one that has found itself with serious problems in recent years. The fact of the matter is, by its very nature, sports in the Canadian university scene is a difficult proposition.
Compared to the National Collegiate Athletic Association, the sporting world of the CIAU can appear to be weak and often boring. This is partly because Canadian universities tend to put an emphasis on academics over athletics, unlike many schools in the United States where athletics play an integral role in campus life.
The world of college sports is big business in America and the NCAA makes money while the CIAU costs money. Because of the emphasis of sports South of the border, many of the schools in the NCAA can afford to dole out huge scholarships to attract the best athletes throughout North America.
Canadian universities, even ones seemingly as wealthy as Western, cannot afford to keep up with the big schools in the United States. Because of this, Canadian sports may appear lacklustre.
Perhaps in the end it comes down to Canadian schools needing to prioritize what they want. It may all come down to whether schools should be paying attention to universities as academic institutions versus attention to the schools' various athletic programs.
But this brings us back to the point of Western athletics. How many students whose dollars support intercollegiate athletics really knew that this past weekend, the Mustang men were playing for a national championship?
For an event this big there seemed to be little advertising around the campus to inform students of the situation. Western has a responsibility to promote student sports, since money from student fees goes to athletics.
Perhaps this is the biggest issue with CIAU sports: Students in general have no idea about what is going on at their own schools. Maybe students at this school realized that a national championship was taking place this past weekend, maybe they didn't.
Surely therein lies the problem.