The University of Regina has a wide range of competitive sports available: men’s and women’s basketball, volleyball, track and field, cross country, football, the list goes on.
However, there is a large list of sports that are not offered such as baseball, rowing, lacrosse and field hockey just to name a few.
But why are certain sports included, while others are not?
The sad reality of it is that we just do not have the money.
As much as we would like to agree with the famous slogan “There are some things money can’t buy, but for everything else there’s Mastercard,” there just isn’t a big enough credit card to help out the U of R athletics department.
Sports are expensive. When you factor in costs of full time coaches, travelling expenses, equipment, and practicing venues, the cost of running a sport at a university level is steep.
“It’s not a matter of not wanting,” said Dick White, Director of Athletics for the U of R. “It’s that we’re limited in the amount we can offer just because of resources.”
The teams already affiliated with the U of R do a significant amount fundraising just to sustain themselves.
“We have a football team that is 85 per cent or more funded by the community,” explains White.
And even if the athletics department wanted to consider tacking on another sport within our school, it could significantly hurt the other sports programs already available. “If we water down even more what we have, that’s not going to help us,” as White points out, “this is a program of excellence.”
This does not mean that the desire for obtaining more sports isn’t there. White states that the athletics department wouldn’t rule out any new sports in the future, but it wouldn’t be an easy task.
”Both universities in the province are under a fair amount of [financial] pressure right now,” White said. “So it would be very difficult.”
“It’s not a matter of not wanting [more sports teams], it’s that we’re limited in the amount we can offer just because of resources.” – Dick White
And the desire from sports teams wanting to become part of the U of R is there as well. However, becoming a competitive club team looks like the path these teams must take if they want to hold the Cougars name.
Sports like rugby, softball, and curling fall under the category of competitive club, which is not under White’s jurisdiction of the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) portfolio.
The CIS offers a wide range of sports, but it as well does not include sports such as baseball, lacrosse, golf, or softball.
However, White explained that the CIS is doing a review of the sports they offer. “There are a number of other issues that are more pressing at the national level right now,” he said.
Might the CIS change its portfolio, we could possibly see it change things at the university level. But, the U of R, and other universities in the same financial situation, will probably not be affected largely by the changes in respect to new sports.
As far as losing sports in the near future, White confirms that the athletics department is not looking at reducing participation by students right now.
“I would rather look at options that we can increase, and that is where the competitive club option is a good opportunity,” he said.
It is unfortunate that the opportunity for having a larger list of sports available the U of R comes down to available money, but such is life.
For now, the idea of adding more teams to the Cougars roster is on hold.
Photo courtesy neogaf.com