UBC leading charge to rethink varsity sport in Canada

UBC has taken the reins in an initiative amongst Canada West universities to reconsider how the conference divides its 16 teams. A letter signed by UBC president Stephen Toope and four other university presidents stated a need for change in Canada West’s competitive structure, which included a demand for tiering.

According to Richard Price, the senior advisor to Toope, many schools are concerned that the skill-level of the average Canada West athlete has decreased as the number of roster spots within the conference has increased, and that too many Canadian student-athletes are leaving to play higher quality sport in the NCAA as opposed to staying in Canada.

Canada West’s response to these concerns was to form a committee of university presidents and athletic directors from schools throughout the league. The committee was tasked with finding new ways to divide or tier the conference’s 16 teams and to make it “more attractive to top Canadian student-athletes to stay in Canada rather than go to the NCAA,” said Price.