The University of British Columbia announced Tuesday that 16 varsity sports teams are safe from being cut as part of a controversial review to reduce the number of teams from 29, a figure the university says is unsustainable. News of the review last fall caused an outcry from alumni.
The 13 varsity teams that weren’t confirmed and are therefore at risk of being cut after another review, to be completed by the end of February, are men’s volleyball, ice hockey and field hockey; women’s rugby and soccer; and for both sexes, baseball, alpine skiing, Nordic skiing and golf.
The teams that were confirmed as safe are women’s field hockey, ice hockey and volleyball; men’s football, rugby and soccer and, for both sexes, basketball, cross-country running, rowing, swimming and track and field.
Teams were evaluated using criteria like competitive success, alumni support and attendance.
“The review showed us their strengths but also provides us with a roadmap to needed improvements,” wrote Ashley Howard, managing director of Athletics and Recreation, in an e-mail to alumni. “We need to keep our eye on the prize: higher achievement for our varsity teams, a top-notch experience for our student athletes and a sustainable future for the UBC Thunderbirds.”