Let Athletes Use WSRC

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

March 20, 2009 Ed Cartoon

Despite the recent opening of Western’s brand new, state-of-the-art recreation facility, varsity athletes are still scrambling across London for practice space.

It is a disgrace that our varsity athletes, such as members of the squash and swim teams, cannot use the new squash courts or 50-metre pool at the Western Student Recreation Centre.

Granted, all students want and deserve sufficient access to these areas. No one wants to see the WSRS overrun by varsity athletes seven days a week.

But it seems illogical that varsity athletes have no access at all. How is it fair that the women’s squash team was forced to shell out cash to host the Ontario University Athletics championship at Fanshawe College when there are five brand new squash courts right here on campus?

Since both Western administration and the University Students’ Council are acting in students’ best interests, varsity athletes should expect support.

Arguably, administration should have contributed to the cost of building the WRSC. This would have given Western a reason to advocate on behalf of varsity athletes to the USC.

The USC has a responsibility as well, since they claim to be representing all students " varsity athletes included.

When the new recreation centre was in the works, the facility was touted as a way to attract students to Western. However, for incoming varsity athletes, this is nothing more than false advertising.

There are various reasons why Western should be making strides towards supporting our athletes.

For one, these hard-working students deserve a break financially. Renting facilities and buying gym memberships in order to have sufficient practice time takes a toll on athletes’ wallets.

In addition, many of our varsity teams are already doing well despite the challenges they face. One can only imagine what they could accomplish with more support from their school.

Lastly, improved practice facilities would encourage the highest calibre of high school athletes to attend Western and improve its reputation.

Additionally, hosting events on campus in our impressive new facilities would give Western positive exposure.

Overall, it is clear that Western administration and the USC need to find a way to support varsity athletes by providing them with sufficient practice facilities.

All parties will have to make concessions.

Particular facilities would be closed off to the general student body at times for practices and tournaments, while varsity athletes may be subjected to practicing at times of low usage " which may result in practices at obscure hours of the day.

However, anything would be better than varsity athletes’ current predicament. Hopefully students and athletes alike will bring this issue to Western administration and the USC’s attention, as that is the only way changes will be made.

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