After years of waiting, broken dreams, and hopes in limbo, history will be made today in Vancouver that will define the city’s sporting dreams for years to come.
Oh, and the Canucks will play some other team in a hockey game.
Yes, while most in Lotusland will be praying for a win to keep the dreams of a Stanley Cup alive, UBC will be making an announcement that is pretty big of its own. A press conference will be held at 10:30 pacific time, where the university will say whether they are moving to the NCAA for athletics—or stay in Canadian Interuniversity Sport.
Joining the NCAA (where they would play in Division II in the Great Northwestern Conference) would mean the university could give full-ride athletic scholarships, but would also put a pretty big hole in Canadian University Sport, the sporting league for all Canadian universities with the exception of Simon Fraser University, who joined the NCAA last year. UBC has pushed for the opportunity to give larger scholarships for many years, but the CIS has been unwilling to budge.
It is curious that UBC would make this announcement today. Most indications—including an open letter by the CIS President—seemed to show UBC leaning towards making the move to the NCAA after three years of consultations. People within the athletics community had spoken up vocally in favour of a move, opposition towards the NCAA was less on campus than in previous years, and the CIS hasn’t moved an inch in allowing scholarships for anything other than tuition and general fees.
But if you’re UBC, and you wanted to move to the NCAA, and you wanted your decision to get attention, wouldn’t you schedule the announcement on a day when the Vancouver Canucks weren’t playing in Game 7 of a playoff series?
So, we’ll see what happens later today, when UBC President Stephen Toope steps up to the microphone. The future of athletics at UBC is in the balance.