NEWTON – Student athletes at Kwantlen Polytechnic University will have only one more season to play for KPU due to budget constraints.
The school announced on July 8 it would be ending its varsity athletics program. Following discussions with regional sport authority PACWEST, the school determined they could keep running its soccer, golf, basketball and badminton programs through the 2015/16 season.
KPU’s athletes say they are frustrated, as there had been no consultation or advance notice.
"The entire team was absolutely devastated when we heard the news" said Jessica Anderegg, co-captain of the Eagles women’s soccer team.
The student athletes say they will be reaching out to KPU in the coming days to seek solutions to continue Kwantlen’s athletics program.
Jane Fee, vice provost of students at KPU, clarified that the annual cost of $750,000 to run the program is not being cut from the school’s budget, but rather repurposed in an effort to benefit a broader sporting community at the school.
"We are realigning that funding into programming that will better support the health and wellness of all of our student body," Fee told the Now.
"After looking at what it would cost us to stay in the varsity athletics game and in fact move up… we realized that that was going to be a very major investment of both operating and capital funding to get us there. And it would mean that our investment in this area would focus on a very small number of students at one of our campuses."
Fee said the university is considering other options such as participating in Metro teams or intramurals and providing other kinds of sports and physical recreation.
Over the next few months, the university will host town hall meetings on all four of its campuses to engage students in a broader dialogue about the future direction of health, wellness and recreation programming. The conversations will help the school direct where to spend the $750,000. For more information about the town hall dates, visit Kpu.ca/eagles.