Admin picks two pockets
Canadian universities have always prided themselves on the pure academic nature of their institutions, while looking down their noses at the bloated and corrupt athletic programs of their American cousins. However, their attitudes have started to put Canadian university athletics in jeopardy.
Lack of popularity has put university athletics in a situation where they cannot be self-sufficient. At Western, varsity teams rely heavily on student fees for funding. Due to a sparse amount of working capital, Western's Intercollegiate Athletics office was forced to build a funding model for varsity sports teams that prioritizes allocation of funding based on a tiered system.
Many of Western's less "sexy" sports were forced to function without any financial assistance from any branch of the university this year, but continued to represent the school.
Western administration has taken the position that it does not have extra money to help varsity athletics. Administration claims it can't justify spending money on athletics when it already has so much trouble funding academics.
Financially, the university benefits from varsity athletics. On Homecoming weekend, the university receives all of the food services revenue generated during the football game, as well as the astronomical amount of revenue from parking fees. Intercollegiate Athletics does not receive anything other than gate revenue for the game.
The university also benefits publicly from varsity athletics. Nightly local newscasts, newspapers and national sporting TV networks help bolster the visibility and success of varsity athletics, which automatically boosts public attention for any institution.
Administration uses varsity athletics to their advantage, but how do they pay the athletes back?
Administration bleeds IA and their varsity athletes for maintenance fees for the use of university facilities. Intercollegiate Athletics is forced to pay fees to the university with their biggest asset student fees. This means administration is taking student money that is supposed to be designated for varsity athletics.
Administration will ask, "Who is going to pay the bills then?" Western uses money generated from tuition for the upkeep of facilities throughout the campus, yet athletics is being ostracized because it is not considered an academic endeavour.
Administration will be the first to boast when a Mustangs team wins a national title, and that Western student athletes are exemplary ambassadors of our institution. However, when it comes to providing the funding these teams and athletes need to keep the school purple and proud, the university balks. Athletics needs more from administration than handshakes and public grins in order to survive.