The University of British Columbia has unveiled the criteria it is likely to use to determine which varsity teams it keeps.
The university is in the midst of an athletic-program review that's been met with some controversy since some alumni and media outlets have suggested varsity programs such as football and hockey will be cut to make way for less traditional sports.
The university has maintained no decisions have been made, but has said 29 varsity teams is too many. It has indicated it would prefer to focus on better support for fewer teams.
On Friday, UBC released the criteria it will likely use to assess the teams and the weight each category will be given. It cautioned it is giving stakeholders one last chance to provide feedback on the criteria before they are finalized next month.
The criteria and the weighting are as follows:
- Competitive success, competition and progression: 35 per cent
- Supports for competitive success (such as quality of facilities and coaching): 15 per cent
- Community support and tradition: 20 per cent
- Partnerships: 10 per cent
- Fit with university mission: 20 per cent
Teams that score well will be told they're safe early next year. Final decisions are to be made in the spring, with the changes set to go into effect in September 2015.
Ashley Howard, managing director of UBC Athletics, said in an interview the weightings aren't an "exact science." Some sports, for instance, might have a strong tradition but not much community support, though the two elements are lumped into one category.
But she reiterated there are no pre-determined outcomes and each team will have an opportunity to make its case.
"We've said from the start that we want to be very thoughtful and careful with the exercise, but it isn't an exact science. We're going to need a lot of discussion," she said.
When asked about the controversy, she said change can be difficult.
"This process has put people in a position where they're uncomfortable. And so, for whatever reason, their passion is coming through in ways that hopefully they hadn't intended," she said.
Ms. Howard said the number of teams that would be ideal, or even a range, has not been determined.
When asked if any teams would have a particularly strong case, based on the criteria, she said she didn't want to jump to any conclusions.