The University of British Columbia has decided not to join the U.S.-based NCAA Division II, but is asking Canadian Interuniversity Sport for a change in structure.
"We commit, in re-affirming our membership in CIS, to drive change," Stephen Toope, president of the Vancouver university, said in a release Tuesday.
"Playing sports amongst institutions that are truly our peers is as important academically as it is athletically, and I believe that a re-invigorated CIS is in UBC's best interests, and the best interests of our diverse community."
Among the changes UBC wants is a two-tiered competition system and enhanced scholarship opportunities for Canadian student athletes.
"Scholarship reform requires more flexibility in how scholarships can be awarded within teams, while maintaining an overall cap," Toope said. "UBC's goal has never been to launch an unproductive battle of the scholarships amongst sister universities."
UBC will join four other large universities in the Canada West conference to institute a two-tiered competition system beginning in 2012-13.
Clint Hamilton, president of CIS, said he is happy with UBC's decision.
"This is recognition that they are pleased with the progress we are making as an organization and that they are looking forward to working with us in the years to come," Hamilton said in a release.
Marg McGregor, the CIS's chief executive officer, said she is aware of the UBC's issues of concern.
CIS senior leaderships "is committed to making progress to move the yardsticks forward," she said.
In July 2009, Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, B.C., was approved as the first non-U.S. member of the NCAA Division II Great Northwest Athletic Conference.
UBC's decision not to follow Simon Fraser followed several years of debate and study at UBC.
"All of this consultation has revealed a tremendous diversity of opinion at all levels," said Toope.
"I am happy to say that it has become clear that whatever decision I take will not set one group in the university against another."
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