Athletics review delayed once again

Model to make Queen’s more competitive provincially; no program cuts forseen

The previous lack of championship banners encouraged an overhaul of Queen’s Athletics.
The previous lack of championship banners encouraged an overhaul of Queen’s Athletics.
Athletics hopes constant evaluation will lead to more banners.
Athletics hopes constant evaluation will lead to more banners.

Following a two-year grace period after the University’s Athletics Review, Athletics and Recreation is restructuring its teams.

Although the 2007 review suggested downsizing the number of varsity teams to between 10 and 16, Interuniversity Sport Program Manager Janean Sergeant said there aren’t any plans to eliminate teams yet. “We’re all under cuts,” she said. “We’re doing the best that we can to maintain all the opportunities we offer now. We are not eliminating any teams whatsoever.”

The result will be an evaluation process that applies the 2007 criteria to the teams. Each team will undergo an annual evaluation and the team rankings will be reprised after five years.

Sergeant said criteria will continue to be revised, including the addition of a criterion that recognizes community involvement. “Nothing earth-shatteringly different, just minor refinement,” she said. “We still need to revisit.” She said Athletics is concentrating on aligning itself with the new OUA model that is currently under development. She said with Ontario universities cutting many of their club sports, the OUA is implementing changes to rescue programs in jeopardy.

“We want to try to alleviate sports that are disappearing because that has an effect on us,” Sergeant said.

Sergeant said to provide clubs with equal opportunities to succeed, Athletics is implementing a restructuring of the club model in time for the fall.

“When we go forward we will have varsity teams and varsity clubs,” she said. “All clubs of all different natures will become varsity status.”

The varsity status of all clubs replaces the previous distinction between OUA clubs and competitive clubs. Sergeant said the OUA is creating a competitive club grouping that all Queen’s varsity clubs will compete in.

She said the delay is partly due to Queen’s efforts to be in keeping with the new OUA structure.

“The OUA has been a little bit slower that we’d hoped.”

She said the ordered list of 34 teams won’t be reassessed until the five-year evaluation cycle is complete.

“The rankings tied to the sport cards are set,” she said. “What happens in the future depends on how those sports cater to the new system.”

Sergeant said teams have been notified of all changes, so the new process won’t be a shocker.

“All the coaches know exactly where they sit so there’s no surprises.”

The review, initially authored by faculty members Bob Crawford and Janice Deakin, concentrated on reassessing the support provided to top interuniversity teams. A period for public feedback on the document facilitated by Hitchcock and her subsequent review of the review followed.

The review on Athletics and Recreation, called Charting a Course for Excellence placed emphasis on success and competition, suggesting that teams that display a commitment to those goals are deserving of top support.

It outlined 20 criteria and applied them to interuniversity teams and competitive clubs, producing an ordered list of 34 teams with men’s volleyball in the top spot and mountain biking at the bottom.

The criteria that determined the rankings included team performance over the previous three years, cost of the program per athlete and revenue generation potential.

Men’s volleyball coach Brenda Willis said the new evaluation process encourages success.

“It’s really nice to see as a coach that your efforts and your success matters,” she said. “It’s not about participation, it’s about competing. … Winning should matter in competitive sport.”

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