Volume 96, Issue 1

Thursday, May 23, 2002
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Western's new athletic model brings some tiers

Western loses zoning battle:

Athletics fall was inevitable

The lovely smell of fresh sawdust is in the air

LHSC cash to boost patients' comfort

News Briefs

New Western policy, drunks not consulted

Confirmation of the obvious: students pay too much

Docs say we're not all going to die

Athletics fall was inevitable

For whom the bell tolls
Jordan Bell
Sports Editor

Once upon a time athletes and coaches across the University of Western Ontario landscape participated in heated competition with full funding and support.

The times... they are a changin'.

With the announcement on Thursday, May 16 of a new athletic model that will guide Western for the years to come, it's obvious athletics at Western will never be the same.

Let's be honest – it was inevitable. Canada (much less London) doesn't support athletics at any level of competition. Unless you carry a stick and glide around on a frozen sheet of ice, nobody really gives a damn.

Unfortunately, money doesn't grow on trees. Therefore, the university's Sports Assessment Committee (SACOM) was forced to combine Western's Intercollegiate Athletics and Campus Recreation programs into one governing body – Sports & Recreation Services. Furthermore, SACOM modeled varsity athletics into a hierarchical, tiered system.

However, financial restraints and inevitability issues aside, the tiered model just doesn't make sense.

In the search for gender equity, the committee placed eight women's teams in a higher tier than their male counterpart. Men's volleyball head coach Dave Preston said the model "is gender implicated, not gender equitable." I tend to agree.

The common sense solution would have been to model the tiers around individual sports (Example: men's and women's volleyball in category one, and men's and women's wrestling in category two).

I think Mr. Preston needs an explanation.

For the teams that were bumped down to varsity club status, the search for motivation will be a tricky one. Take for example Bill Mason's badminton squad, who are riding a 56 match winning streak. Mason now has to coax these athletes into competing in their respective sport without any type of rival competition.

The greatest travesty in all of this is the student athletes and coaches who devote endless amounts of time and energy in the name of competition. They're the victims.

Unlike Robin Hood, Western now gives to the rich and takes from the poor. Three men's teams and six women's teams will capture the ire of their peers and the imagination of their fans. The rest will dwindle away in the doghouse.

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Copyright The Gazette 2002