Newspaper article The Canadian Press

University of British Columbia to Announce Future of Varsity Teams Soon

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

University of British Columbia to Announce Future of Varsity Teams Soon

Article excerpt

UBC to announce future of varsity teams soon

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VANCOUVER - Varsity athletes and coaches at the University of British Columbia can expect to learn the fate of their respective sports teams early in the new year.

UBC's sport review advisory team is in the midst of examining the school's athletics department, with the university bumping up an announcement on which programs will be demoted to second-tier club status from the spring to Jan. 15 at the latest.

"This review is vital to the future health of UBC athletics," UBC president Stephen Toope said Tuesday at a press conference on campus. "The university simply cannot sustain excellence for 29 varsity teams into the future on our current or projected budget."

UBC teams are being graded on a number of criteria set out by the university, including success in competition, coaching strength, history, alumni support and even attendance.

Each team is being asked to produce a statement as why it does or does not meet the standards.

"The primary goal of the sports review is to sharpen the focus on high-performance excellence," Toope said of the plan that has been compared to the Canadian Olympic Committee's Own the Podium Program, which directs funding to athletes with the greatest chance of success.

Teams that are slated to lose varsity status will have a chance to appeal and will also be given an opportunity to figure out alternate funding arrangements, Toope said.

Full-time UBC students are each charged an annual fee of about $200, which goes towards sports and recreation. The athletics budget currently sits at about $6 million.

"No funds are being taken from the athletics department budget," said Toope, who also announced that two sports alumni members would be added to the review advisory team. "We are talking about using these funds in a more effective way so our student athletes benefit fully from their experience here. …

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