Cougars face half-million dollar difference switching from ACAC to Canada West
The Cougars’ to Canada West scored them a $500,000 travel bill.
Last issue covered how much more travel Cougars athletics will incur with a move to Canada West.
Instead of short trips across Alberta, they will be traveling through four provinces, flying and staying in hotels a few trips a year.
Karla Karch, Cougars athletics director, said that’s where the majority of the extra money is needed. She said the cost difference between playing in the ACAC and Canada West totals $500,000.
“You are paying for meal money, hotels and their flights,” Karch said.
She used a trip out to the University of British Columbia in Vancouver as an example of something each team will take at least once a year. If a team flew out on a Thursday night and stayed until Saturday to play two games, she explained, then they would have three nights of hotels and meal money.
That’s a big change from old-style road trips in the ACAC where teams would typically bus it back after the first night.
Karch said part of the money is to ensure the student athletes the best chance to succeed.
Instead of crunching everything into as little an amount of time as possible to save money, she said leaving on Thursday for weekend trips it gives the students a better chance of healthy eating, sleeping and study time.
“It’s about creating a healthy environment where they can succeed,” she said.
Although significantly more expensive, Karsh said, students likely will not even notice the change.
Karch said right now the athletic department budget comes from three areas: money from the school, recreation and athletics fees and fundraisers.
The portion from the students is approximately 40 per cent of budget coming from recreation and athletics fees.
This semester, students pay about $80, which also covers the price of a membership to the recreation centre, said Karch.
For the 20 per cent of the budget coming from fundraising, Karch has a few ideas.
First off, she’s hoping for more money from the university.
“This is a school initiative, it’s not just an athletic department initiative,” she said. “While we are leading the charge, our school will help fund it.”
Secondly, the department will try getting more money through fundraising like their annual golf tournament.
However, a major component became easier when Mount Royal graduated from a college to a university.
“Years ago, there wasn’t the contact with alumni because a student would come to Mount Royal for two years and would move on to a new school to graduate,” Karch said. “The affinity for a student is where they graduate. They may have loved their time at Mount Royal, but their affection is to the school they graduated with.
“They are more likely to give to the school they graduated with, than Mount Royal.”
With that, she believes it’s important to start building relationships with students and student-athletes that would hopefully become a life-long friendship.
“I want you to give back and if you can financially give us money, that’s great. But I want you to come back and watch our men’s hockey game,” she said. “You are going to bring your kids to the game.
“You’re going to feel an attachment and your kids are going to feel an attachment and go to Mount Royal because you went to Mount Royal.”
Her idea attempts creating an American-style love of university athletics that is rare in Canada.
But she’s knows it’s going to be a long haul for that to become reality.
“Eventually, if we do it right and build strong relationships, you will want to give back.”
That’s all folks. Now you know everything you’ll ever need to know about the Canada West to become true die-hard fans.