Budget cuts necessary for Laurier athletics

Recently, Wilfrid Laurier University undertook a massive initiative to restructure and reorganize the way its clubs and teams would be funded.

In 2008, eight teams fell under the pay-to-play category of funding. Teams including baseball, lacrosse, rugby, golf, fast-pitch and competitive dance, among others, were told they had to fundraise to compete.

This has been the case for a lot of teams since 2009, when Laurier first went from fully funding eight sports to now fully funding only basketball, soccer, hockey, football, swimming and curling. It is simply not feasible for the university to continue to hand out money to the other clubs. The deciding factor came from the Ontario University Athletics’ 2009-10 report on the way the league would be structured and which teams would be sanctioned under their internal umbrella. Unfortunately, not all teams made the cut.

The reality is a harsh one and Laurier isn’t alone in re-evaluating the way its athletics budget is allocated. Being essentially cash-strapped since the recession hit in late 2008, Laurier was forced to take a long look in the mirror and make some tough decisions.

Two of the most unpopular ones were the elimination of the men’s and women’s volleyball squads (based on other factors beyond funding) and a decrease in the funding that the women’s lacrosse team received. Based on their history of excellence, the lacrosse team felt they deserved to be wholly funded by the university.

While many would have appreciated a more transparent process and notice should have been given earlier than the announcement in early August, Laurier is just one school trying to keep their head above water with a limited budget and resources. While the decision to shore up the market-driven sports like football and hockey is controversial, for a program whose bottom line is to strive for excellence with their intercollegiate teams, it’s not hard to see their reasoning and desire to win with limited funds.

—The Cord Editorial Board