Moving up to the big leagues
With Mount Royal recently achieving its AUCC (university) status, Cougar Athletics is now in the process of applying for Canadian Interuniversity Sport standing.
Karla Karch, athletics manager for Mount Royal said the athletic department is hoping to mirror the transition of the college’s growth to university.
Karch likened Mount Royal’s applying for CIS status to a city bidding for the Olympics. The school will apply to the Canada West regional association, that application will go to a committee, the committee then visits the school, the application goes to a council and a vote is made.
It’s “a lengthy process,” she said.
Canada West is currently processing three applications and the next opportunity to apply will be in 2012. Canada West president Clint Hamilton said it is too soon to tell whether the Cougars’ application will be accepted.
“For any member applying the challenge is showing how Canada West will be enhanced through the addition of the application, or how the conference will become better as the result of an the addition of a new member.” Hamilton said.
Mount Royal is currently in the process for preparing it’s bid; something that Karch said could take 6-8 months. There’s a list of 35 criteria to be met and she said Mount Royal’s top three from that would be; on campus education and coaching, travel and scholarships. The travel would include having to expand a budget from travelling almost exclusively in Alberta to travelling in the province as well as British Columbia and Saskatchewan.
It’s an opportunity for Mount Royal to compete at the highest level of sports in Canada,” Karch said.
“For any member applying the challenge is showing how Canada West will be enhanced through the addition of the application, or how the conference will become better as the result of an the addition of a new member.” Canada West President Clint Hamilton said.
Mount Royal making this switch would be a first for Alberta said executive director of the ACAC, Bob Day.
Day said that to date there have been three institutions in B.C. that have made the switch from the British Columbia Colleges’ Athletic Association to the CIS, Trinity Western, Thompson River University and Fraser Valley. And that three other institutions — UBC Okanagan, Vancouver Island University and the University of Northern British Columbia — are currently in the process.
With so many newly named universities joining the CIS, Day said the athletic talent pool is being “watered down.” Marg McGregor, CEO of CIS, responded to this comment by pointing out that some new CIS members, such as Trinity University, have already earned championship medals.
Day said that SAIT men’s hockey made a bid for CIS standing but were turned down because they didn’t have AUCC approval. He referred to the “Ivory Tower Rule” of universities; meaning SAIT was turned down because it wasn’t a University.
McGregor said the ability to be competitive in the CIS is based on the quality of the coaching and the investment an institution makes in their athletics program.
“We are very proud of CIS and the national organization and the brand and the exposure.” McGregor said. “It’s an organization that has been around for decades and athletes are quite proud of winning CIS titles and being part of a national league at the highest level of post-secondary education in Canada.”
Patrick Lenaour is playing his first year of Volleyball in the CIS as a U of C Dino after playing with the Cougars for three years. He says the most obvious difference is the consistent level of competition.
“ACAC is still good, but usually there are one or two top teams, whereas with CIS every team is a contender every weekend,” he said. “Every team has great players so the competition is that much better.”
Craig Jantzen is playing his first year with the Cougars Men’s Basketball team. He said that being a member of the CIS would open up more recruiting opportunities.
“From an athletes perspective almost anyone you ask would prefer to play at the highest level possible.”