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Don't sweat it! New sports model will benefit UTSC

Campus athletics teams like the intramural Ultimate Frisbee players shown here should benefit from a reorganized athletics program the university is undertaking

A top-to-bottom review of sports at the University of Toronto will be a good thing for UTSC’s athletics programs, says Scott McRoberts, director of athletics and recreation at UTSC.

“The review of the sports model will open sports up to more student participation and maximize the use of the facilities. It will give students the best possible experience,” McRoberts says.

Combined with the scheduled opening of the new aquatics and athletics centre on campus in 2014, the proposed changes are likely to strengthen both varsity and non-varsity sports on the UTSC campus.

McRoberts was one of 13 members of a Sports Model Review Committee that suggested changes to how sports programs operate at U of T. The committee recommended looking at how resources are distributed among athletics programs, and the possibility of enhancing some programs to improve the competitiveness of the Varsity Blues Program.

The report was submitted in April, and public meetings were conducted last month. The final plan should be announced next year and go into effect in September.

U of T has one of the largest intramural sports program in North America, with 10,000 participants across the three campuses. The intercollegiate program, which includes varsity sports, is the largest in Canada with 44 teams across 26 sports.

But the committee reviewing the sports model points out that since 2000, the Blues have won only four national championships, and only 80 of a possible 516 provincial championships.

The committee recommended that varsity sports should be distributed across all three campuses, a recommendation that could result in more varsity teams being based at UTSC. Currently, the Varsity Blues baseball and tennis teams make their homes at UTSC. The University of Toronto Mississuaga, however, houses no varsity teams.

Changes being considered to intramural teams include a reorganization that would require less travel between campuses.

UTSC has a total of 30 different sports teams run by 36 volunteer coaches, many of whom are alumni. The campus is also the academic home to more than 50 varsity athletes whose sports are housed on the St. George campus.

McRoberts says that the reorganization will increase efficiency and make all levels of sports more available to UTSC students.

The new aquatics centre, which is being built for the 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games, will also give UTSC sports a significant boost, since it will include training and rehabilitation facilities that are required for varsity athletes. This will make it easier for UTSC to host more varsity teams, and for varsity athletes who attend classes on this campus to train and undertake rehab sessions without having to travel downtown.


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