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UBC considers cutting Varsity Sports

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10-17-2013, 11:36 PM
  #1
WilcoxHound
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UBC considers cutting Varsity Sports

A report in the Vancouver Province newspaper says that UBC is considering reducing the number of CIS teams from the present 29 down to 10 beginning in 2014. The article states that hockey and football are on the cutting block.
I wonder how many other schools are discussing behind doors a similar approach to cost cutting.

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10-18-2013, 05:55 AM
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RED ARMY EAST
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And they just built a new arena for the olympics, who's going to use it if hockey is cut?

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10-18-2013, 08:33 AM
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Originally Posted by WilcoxHound View Post
A report in the Vancouver Province newspaper says that UBC is considering reducing the number of CIS teams from the present 29 down to 10 beginning in 2014. The article states that hockey and football are on the cutting block.
I wonder how many other schools are discussing behind doors a similar approach to cost cutting.
The column is here and worth reading. While I think folks might be jumping to some early conclusions, there is no doubt that on many Canadian campuses that administrators and faculty don't necessarily "get" the value of varsity sports. Because of cuts to education funding across the country, budgets are tight. Academics are sometimes (often?) completely focused on their disciplines and departments, and if cuts have to be made, they will fight to have them made outside their areas.

Don't forget, and I think this is too often overlooked, many academics and senior university administrators were often the brainy bookworms in high school who were ignored or bullied by the jocks ...

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10-18-2013, 10:53 AM
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MiamiHockey
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Originally Posted by FreddtFoyle View Post
Academics are sometimes (often?) completely focused on their disciplines and departments, and if cuts have to be made, they will fight to have them made outside their areas.

Don't forget, and I think this is too often overlooked, many academics and senior university administrators were often the brainy bookworms in high school who were ignored or bullied by the jocks ...
Yes, and many were / are athletes as well. If you are trying to advance the argument that academics don't see the value of varsity sports, then you'll have to explain why any decent university has varsity sports, because (with rare exception) they are money-losing ventures.

Decisions such as these are made at the university-level (i.e., by the President), and the notion that department heads / chairs have anything to do with it is inaccurate. Deans will all argue for more funding, as they should, but the decision is not theirs.

Moreover, while University Presidents do see the value of varsity athletics, the equation is very different for each school. UBC is one of 3 Canadian universities that have a very strong international reputation (McGill and Toronto being the others), so they have little to gain from having a successful varsity sports program. Also consider that UBC is also in a unique position because their teams have to fly to the vast majority of their road games. While university Presidents are willing to fund varsity athletes because they do see some value in them, there is an upper bound in that equation.

It's not hard to see why many other schools, such as Lakehead, Carleton, or UNB, willingly invest in varsity sports - their reputation is not as strong (outside of their region), and so they have much to gain from having a successful hockey / basketball program that attracts media attention.

But to suggest that UBC may cut varsity athletics because many academics are "brainy bookworms" is quite laughable.

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10-18-2013, 02:58 PM
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dale 1919
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Originally Posted by MiamiHockey View Post
Yes, and many were / are athletes as well. If you are trying to advance the argument that academics don't see the value of varsity sports, then you'll have to explain why any decent university has varsity sports, because (with rare exception) they are money-losing ventures.

Decisions such as these are made at the university-level (i.e., by the President), and the notion that department heads / chairs have anything to do with it is inaccurate. Deans will all argue for more funding, as they should, but the decision is not theirs.

Moreover, while University Presidents do see the value of varsity athletics, the equation is very different for each school. UBC is one of 3 Canadian universities that have a very strong international reputation (McGill and Toronto being the others), so they have little to gain from having a successful varsity sports program. Also consider that UBC is also in a unique position because their teams have to fly to the vast majority of their road games. While university Presidents are willing to fund varsity athletes because they do see some value in them, there is an upper bound in that equation.

It's not hard to see why many other schools, such as Lakehead, Carleton, or UNB, willingly invest in varsity sports - their reputation is not as strong (outside of their region), and so they have much to gain from having a successful hockey / basketball program that attracts media attention.

But to suggest that UBC may cut varsity athletics because many academics are "brainy bookworms" is quite laughable.
It is true that many CIS sports are money losing ventures. Most schools believe that the visibility they receive from their big sports is vital to their exposure and therefore their student recruitment.

Here is a question i would ask regarding the money losing venture notion. Most schools operate on a base budget that just barely covers team travel and maybe some uniforms and very little for equipment.
What do u think elite teams in the above mentioned sports have to raise to remain competitive????
I would be willing to bet that in the case of football and for sure hockey, they have to fund raise to cover close to 60 percent of their operating budget. Sticks appropriate travel per diems, full sets of equipment, training supplies extra staff coaches etc....
People might be surprised how little the good programs cost their schools or how much say per athlete the court sports or the grass sports cost their schools!! Targeting the two big ones might be too easy and in the long run not save the mighty Universities any money!!
Sports people and Sports TV channels watch and report on the 2 big sports! Cant say they do with the same interest in the rest of the sports. Most cover the court sport and grass sport championships only because they have to if the want football or hockey! If the big picture is all taken into account I am bettin that football and hockey are ok! The 4 ski teams the baseball and softball squads the rugby teams at UBC should be ducking IMO.

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10-18-2013, 05:37 PM
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Hollywood3
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FWIW I believe that rugby is covered by non-school money.

IMO this could be a trial balloon to see what sports have deep-pocketed alumni ready to pony up.

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10-18-2013, 08:06 PM
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Gallagher was dead on in terms of recruiting. Who will want to play for them with these rumours? SFU Football is going to have a field day with this, as will SFU and UVic basketball. UBC won't have a hope in hell in signing any graduating WHL players either.

Didn't mention it in the article, but I think all their NAIA teams (with the exception of baseball) are as good as gone.


Last edited by Rocko604: 10-18-2013 at 08:16 PM.
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11-27-2013, 08:17 AM
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An excellent opinion piece appeared in the Globe and Mail today on this topic ... well worth the read:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/...board/follows/

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11-27-2013, 02:09 PM
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Good article. Thanks for the link.

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11-27-2013, 02:55 PM
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Originally Posted by RED ARMY EAST View Post
And they just built a new arena for the olympics, who's going to use it if hockey is cut?
I really doubt hockey will be cut.

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Originally Posted by MiamiHockey View Post
An excellent opinion piece appeared in the Globe and Mail today on this topic ... well worth the read:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/...board/follows/
Great article. As a recent UBC alum this article really hits upon the things that all the local media talking heads like to ignore. Varsity sports at the school is basically dead in terms of interest. There is no money to be had there and it's ridiculous that anyone would be outraged at what is going on. The school has about 6 million to spend on 29 programs at the moment, it's spread way too thin and there isn't any more money showing up anytime soon. What is the harm in cutting a chunk of useless programs in the hopes of funding more important ones like Basketball etc. Maybe the reallocation of funding to bigger name sports will be a benefit overall. Those cut sports would still have the option of playing at a club level if the support is there.

Cross Country Running, Nordic Skiing, Field Hockey etc.... Do we really need these Varsity programs?

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11-27-2013, 04:13 PM
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I say UBC should just cut all their NAIA teams, keep the CIS teams going. The amount of money they would save on travel alone would be big.

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11-28-2013, 10:59 AM
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FreddtFoyle
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I really doubt hockey will be cut.



Great article. As a recent UBC alum this article really hits upon the things that all the local media talking heads like to ignore. Varsity sports at the school is basically dead in terms of interest. There is no money to be had there and it's ridiculous that anyone would be outraged at what is going on. The school has about 6 million to spend on 29 programs at the moment, it's spread way too thin and there isn't any more money showing up anytime soon. What is the harm in cutting a chunk of useless programs in the hopes of funding more important ones like Basketball etc. Maybe the reallocation of funding to bigger name sports will be a benefit overall. Those cut sports would still have the option of playing at a club level if the support is there.

Cross Country Running, Nordic Skiing, Field Hockey etc.... Do we really need these Varsity programs?
Well I don't want to restart the "UNB killed women's hockey" thread, but UNB did make the hard decision a few years ago to go with a more formalized two-tier approach. Some sports got demoted (or had their prior informal demotion recognized) such as women's hockey, men's swimming, field hockey, wrestling, etc. Those sports still exist at the club level, and in the case of wrestling, still compete at CIS nationals. Students still have the opportunity to play and compete in club sports. albeit at a lower competitive level. And yes, it becomes pay-to-play, probably the same as when they played before coming to university.

Those sports that stayed at the varsity level got better funding (and men's hockey revenue helps support the other varsity sports, so don't bother going there ...) and full-time coaches. There is an expectation to compete, and if not, coaches can lose their jobs.

In brief, I see no problem in what UBC is trying to do, and the surviving varsity sports will be better for it. I will say that this death-by-a-thousand-leaks is not helping the school or their alumni relations.

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03-05-2014, 05:41 AM
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Now that the Thunderbirds season is over when will final word come down about the team? I know there was a plan to try and save the team through private funding but I can't see it working.

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03-05-2014, 10:16 AM
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Now that the Thunderbirds season is over when will final word come down about the team? I know there was a plan to try and save the team through private funding but I can't see it working.
The hockey team kept their varsity status, but will have to find outside funding. Luckily, alumni donated more than $600k in February alone, and the team is in talks of forming a partnership with the Canucks and possibly the WHL Giants. Their annual operating budget is $450k.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/sport...ticle17166923/

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03-05-2014, 10:24 AM
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The second portion of the review came out last Friday...with men's hockey still on the "bubble" and other teams now receiving "enhanced" funding!!
http://www.gothunderbirds.ca/news/20...x?path=general

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03-09-2014, 03:00 AM
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The hockey team kept their varsity status, but will have to find outside funding. Luckily, alumni donated more than $600k in February alone, and the team is in talks of forming a partnership with the Canucks and possibly the WHL Giants. Their annual operating budget is $450k.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/sport...ticle17166923/
Wow. What a great job by the alumni. It looks like the program is safe for next season anyways. Recruiting definitely going to be a problem though.

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03-17-2017, 08:51 AM
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What is the current status of the UBC Mens hockey program? Are they self sufficient or are they supported by the University?

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05-14-2017, 03:10 PM
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What is the current status of the UBC Mens hockey program? Are they self sufficient or are they supported by the University?
They raised some funds and get some annual contributions from NHL types and alumni, but not for 100% of their costs.

The team just hired a coach so they are operating.

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