Co-captain Jessica Anderegg (left) of the KPU Eagles women's soccer team said the university's decision to shut down varsity athletics program came 'out of the blue.'

Varsity athletics axed at Kwantlen

Changes came 'totally out of the blue' for student athletes and coaches

Just eight weeks prior to the next PACWEST (Pacific Western Athletic Conference) season, some student athletes at Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) are stunned to learn it could be their last.

For others, their collegiate athletic careers may already be over.

Last Wednesday, coaches and athletes in the KPU Eagles Athletic Department received an email which announced  “important changes in the direction for KPU’s varsity athletics program.”

Minutes later, a notice on the KPU Athletics website detailed the changes, which mean “winding down varsity athletics’ activities” and withdrawing from PACWEST over the next year.

“I cried for a half-hour straight,” said Chantalle Bracken, who will play goal for her second s  eason, the final one for KPU Eagles soccer starting in September. “The program has given us opportunities we never thought possible. It’s horrific they’re going to shut it down.”

“It’s such a shock, it came totally out of the blue,” added Jessica Anderegg, co-captain of the women’s soccer team, who will play her fourth year at KPU this fall, then likely sit out her fifth season of eligibility rather than transfer to another university.

While soccer and golf will play their fall season in PACWEST, another season of basketball is only a “possibility” according to the KPU website. No mention was made on the future of the badminton team.

Dr. Jane Fee, Vice-Provost, Students at KPU, explained that while the decision had been considered for seven months, a final decision by the KPU executive committee wasn’t made until just before it was posted on the KPU athletics website.

Noting the varsity athletics budget is roughly $750,000 and “is focused almost entirely at the Surrey campus and 92 student-athletes,” Fee said the money will be reallocated to address “the broader need of students, ensuring their health and wellness.

“Certainly a valid concern is we don’t have the funding to serve 19,500 students.”

The announcement blindsided mostinvolved in varsity athletics at KPU. On May 29, the men’s basketball team announced five new recruits had filled out its roster for the upcoming season.

And less than three weeks ago, KPU Eagles Director of Athletics and Recreation David Kent announced Mandy Botham of Prince George had been appointed head coach of the women’s basketball team and the first of two summer tryout sessions was set for Thursday (July 16).

“We had a hiring that got caught in all this, and I feel terrible about this,” said Fee. “But if you look at an athletics calendar, there isn’t a good time (for such an announcement.)”

While aware their varsity sports programs will be eliminated, student athletes are left to wonder why. Many are questioning the decision to “refocus efforts to enhance recreational and intramural activities in support of the health and wellness of our entire study body.”

“Intramurals is nice and all, but it’s not varsity sports,” said Bracken. “The coaches don’t know why, but some say it was because of funding. And that left us scratching our heads.”

When hired less than two years ago, Kent set a goal of getting KPU into the CIS (Canadian Interuniversity Sports). At the time, he said that goal was part of the reason he was hired.

“It would have cost $6.7 million once we were athletically ready,” said Fee. “And we’re not there competitively within PACWEST. Our teams are not at the top.”

Where the $750,000 that currently funds varsity athletics will go has still to be determined, and students will have a say.

“We’ll have town hall discussions at all campuses with all students asking what they want,” said Fee, noting intramurals and club team sports are possibilities. “We’re not getting out of sports, we’re getting out of varsity sports.”

Just Posted

Langley hosting high-flying fun at annual gymnastics tournament

Action runs Friday through Sunday at the Langley Events Centre fieldhouse.

BREAKING: Plecas won’t run in next election if legislature oversight reforms pass

B.C. Speaker and Abbotsford South MLA says he feels ‘great sympathy’ for Jody Wilson-Raybould

Guatemala mission offers hope, health

Peninsula team to visit remote villages, build a home, in Piedra Blanca

Cloverdale nurse, Langley truck driver awarded for saving a police officer’s life

Angela Feltrin and Earl Hanes thanked by B.C. RCMP’s top cop

Annual Aldergrove Fair announces 2019 theme: ‘Aldy on the Moon’

The fair is gathering space memorabilia as well as some of the people involved in the space program.

VIDEO: How much snow do you have?

Langley residents are being asked to share images of their snow to enter for a $20 coffee card.

Eight cases of measles confirmed in Vancouver outbreak

Coastal Health official say the cases stem from the French-language Ecole Jules Verne Secondary

Prominent B.C. realtor says he doesn’t know how child porn got on his computer

Closing arguments heard in Ian Meissner’s Chilliwack trial for accessing, possessing child porn

Workshop with ‘accent reduction’ training cancelled at UBC

The workshop was cancelled the same day as an email was sent out to international students

Former B.C. premier Gordon Campbell accused of sexual touching

Accuser went to police, interviewed by Britian’s Daily Telegraph

Avalanche control planned tomorrow on Highway 1

The highway will be closed in the morning east of Revelstoke

Judge rules Abbotsford home must be sold after son tries to evict mom

Mom to get back down payment and initial expenses

Mayors approve SkyTrain extension to UBC

Next step is a business plan and public consultation

Trump officially declares national emergency to build border wall

President plans to siphon billions from federal military construction and counterdrug efforts

Most Read