Gallagher: UBC set to start chopping varsity sports Tuesday

 

 
 
 
 
UBC president Stephen Toope, right, who supports the plan, is shown with vice-president Louise Cowin, who has overseen it.
 

UBC president Stephen Toope, right, who supports the plan, is shown with vice-president Louise Cowin, who has overseen it.

Photograph by: NICK PROCAYLO, PNG

The axe is going to be swung Tuesday by the ideologues determined to downgrade or eliminate selected UBC varsity sports.

That’s based on an emails sent by Athletics Department managing director Ashley Howard to the coaches and student athletes late last week and Monday morning, respectively.

It’s still not known which sports will be victimized in the now-renamed Sports Targeting Review overseen by vice-president Dr. Louise Cowin and applauded by outgoing president Stephen Toope.

Coaches will be informed of the stage 1 choices after the regular coaches corner meeting at the Rugby Pavilion beginning at 9:30 a.m.

Howard will be arriving at the meeting at 10:30 a.m. to make the “stage 1 announcement” and “be available for discussion.”

The press will be informed at 10:30 by email with Cowin and Howard meeting the media at noon.

There will be a kind of appeal process, but that structure simply shows how inept the handling of this whole endeavour has been. Who is going to want to play on or coach a sports team the athletic department doesn’t want and needs its arm twisted to keep?

Some of the coaches whose sports are being victimized may not necessarily be in attendance at the Rugby Pavilion however. Howard is giving them leave to mourn elsewhere.

“Attendance at either portion of the morning is optional,” says her email to coaches.

“I respect that some of you may want to receive the stage 1 news electronically in a different venue. There will be a brief amount of time to exit for those who wish to view the presentation but leave before the announcements.”

Ever since the plan was found out by the public, there has been a huge rush to speed up this totally unnecessary process, but Howard, Cowin and Toope appear to be on a mission, and it seems nobody has the capability or desire to stop them.

Dave Sidoo was recently elected to the UBC Board of Governors, joining Doug Mitchell.

That made two governors whom one might expect to have an interest in athletics, but once their respective sports were taken care of it appears they were happy enough with what’s going to go on, based on the board’s endorsement of the proceedings.

Football has been looked after, given the plan to tear up the present Thunderbird Stadium, build a new one on a smaller portion of land and develop the rest of that large tract of land for another mountain of cash the university seems intent on raising.

Women’s hockey is in the clear, as is swimming. Baseball may have saved itself with some new initiatives, and some sports have never been seriously threatened.

But which sports will be turfed or downgraded is unknown, although women’s softball is thought be in trouble along with some or all of the ski teams.

What’s been so amazing in this process is the totally passive nature of the threatened athletes and/or coaches.

While they might feel intimidated and worried that they may hurt their cause by making a fuss, there has been scarcely a whimper from them, other than a few women’s rugby players turning up at a laughable press conference where Toope tried to justify this move based on lack money — which originally was not even supposed to be a consideration.

When the news first broke on the elimination of some varsity sports, thousands of alumni expressed their disgust at the loss of value of athletics, and many offered financial assistance.

Yet the powers that be haven’t even bothered to look into the possibilities of being creative with the budget so as to raise enough money to bring all the programs in the department up to the standards of excellence they allegedly seek.

The whole initiative is a mystery they won’t explain. It appears to be part of a larger move to internationalize the campus, as the university seeks more high-paying international students, although it’s unclear whether B.C. taxpayers had that in mind when they gave them hundreds of acres of the best land in the province.

At a recent seminar, North Shore high school senior counsellors who were looking for information on how to get their kids into the university were told by the UBC representative that the school wants to bring its level of non-B.C.-resident students up to 31 per cent.

Even with the higher fees paid by such attendees, their education would be heavily subsidized by the taxpayer. It wouldn’t be so vexing if all foreign students needed to make the same academic standards to which B.C. kids are held.

tgallagher@theprovince.com

twitter.com/tg_gman

 
 
 
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UBC president Stephen Toope, right, who supports the plan, is shown with vice-president Louise Cowin, who has overseen it.
 

UBC president Stephen Toope, right, who supports the plan, is shown with vice-president Louise Cowin, who has overseen it.

Photograph by: NICK PROCAYLO, PNG

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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