Canada West defers decision on UNBC membership until June

Once again, Canada West has placed UNBC's application for membership on its wait list

The university won't find out whether or not it's bid is successful until next month. At its annual general meeting on Wednesday in Saskatoon, the Canada West Universities Athletic Association (CWUAA) decided to defer making a decision on UNBC's application until June. Canada West members agreed on the move after a request for more information was made.

UNBC director of athletics and recreation Jason Kerswill said Canada West had asked them to make a bid to move basketball and soccer ahead to the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) level by 2012. He noted that new membership criteria prevents applying schools the opportunity to come in with one sport.

When UNBC applied with the two sports in December, Canada West decided to let the university apply for basketball to join in 2012 and soccer in 2014. Kerswill said the two extra years were given to provide the soccer program more time to develop.

The deferral allows UNBC time to adjust its bid.

"There's a lot at play and to be honest, with all that going on, I wasn't overly surprised by the membership's decision to delay our membership application for a little time," Kerswill said.

On top of making a decision on UNBC, Canada West has been examining changing from a single body to a two-tier system. Members of the CWUAA have faced pressure from UBC to support the move since the Vancouver-based university decided not to go ahead with an application to join Division 2 of the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association). 

Although still examining the two-tier move, Canada West went ahead in granting Mount Royal University of Calgary probationary membership beginning in September 2011. It received the required 75 per cent majority vote from CWUAA members and as a result, becomes the conference's 15th member institution.

Mount Royal's acceptance into Canada West didn't surprise Kerswill. 

"They elected to move four of their programs forward, four men's and women's teams, so eight teams total," Kerswill said," and as a result, were in kind of a different realm than us."

Kerswill will be in Victoria next week for the B.C. Colleges Athletic Association AGM. He's hoping to spare time in the provincial capital to meet with Canada West president Clint Hamilton, who works as director of athletics and recreation at the University of Victoria

Kerswill said UNBC and Mount Royal weren't invited to attend the AGM in Saskatoon. He expects the decision on UNBC to be handed down the first week of June in Victoria.

"I'll know probably by the end of this week or early next week on the exact timing on that meeting," he said on Wednesday.

As for the possibility of entering as a second tier team, Kerswill didn't express disapproval over that option.

"Whatever that looks like, just getting our athletics departments and teams into Canada West is the first step."


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